What are air tools?
Air tools or Pneumatic tools are powered by compressed air. Common types of these air-powered you may already know about that are used in the industry include buffers, nailing and stapling guns, grinders, drills, jackhammers, chipping hammers, riveting guns, sanders, and wrenches. In a situation that does not have sufficient space and calls for portability, a pneumatic (air) tool can also be driven by carbon dioxide in a compressed seamless cylinder. This article will enable the readers to understand air tools or pneumatic tools. This article explores the different air tools used in an automotive workshop and how they are used. We have done the analysis as elementary as possible for the newbie to understand how to select the compressor and hence the most useful tools used in a new workshop
How is air converted into power?
Most of the air tools in use have a pneumatic motor, the most common type is the air vane motor. The air is designed to splash on the vanes and make the vane spin, and the vanes are connected to a drive shaft like a hand grinder. When the air spins, the vanes the shaft then trunks and creates the movement of the grinder, driller, and polisher. The air flowing is connected to and controlled by a valve and a lever or switch of the air tool.
Valuable tips for choosing an air compressor
Before deciding on the air tools to work with, the air compressor that will power the chosen devices is the primary determining factor. We want to discuss some of the essential features needed for air compressors to power air tools for automotive applications. If you do not have sufficient information making this choice becomes herculean. We will expose you to the right questions to ask and answer before making this capital-intensive decision.
Air compressors can power a massive range of equipment, from huge drill rigs to small paint spray for the handyman. They are generic and almost the same. The air compressor use will depend on the specific application; however, the question to answer when choosing an air compressor for any application will lead to the best outcome.
Today, our focus will be on automotive mechanic repair and auto body shops and facilities.
Most automotive repair centers would need between 5 to 30 HP air compressors with 80 to 240-gallon air receivers to energize the workshops' respective air tools and equipment.
Piston air compressors or reciprocating compressors are usually the most commonly available type of air compressors that power most automotive workshops; however, recent technological advances have given way for a more reliable, cheaper, and more beneficial rotary screw compressor technology.
This article will start with the questions to ask before deciding on the type of compressor to buy. We shall also find the desirable specific size to match your use case, and finally, the most desirable tools for an automotive workshop or a DIY workshop at home. The questions to ask before purchasing an air compressor are:
- What amount of compressed air do I need for my job?
- What is the desirable pressure I need for my equipment to operate effectively
- What kind of electrical power is available in my workshop?
What amount of compressed air do I need for my job?
What amount of air is needed to power the air tools in the workshop in question? Some workshops' needs are enormous, while others are not that much. First, the decision-maker must understand how to size an air compressor. For example, the volume of compressed air delivered without interruption is measured in standard cubic feet. It is abbreviated chiefly as SCFM as a standardized measure for the volumetric flow of compressed air. Every tool that functions or is powered by compressed air has an SCFM requirement, and all compressors have a maximum SCFM output.
An indication of the volume of air requirement of a workshop, the rate of flow calculation is done by identifying all the air tools and equipment, both current and future, in your workshop and adding up all of their SCFM requirements.
It is essential to note that all the air tools and equipment should specify the air consumption under lord in SCFM and be listed on a sheet or an excel spreadsheet. This information is usually in the equipment name tag on the body or the manufacturers' brochure or user manual. Most equipment manufacturers like Shinano list their equipment specifications online and can easily be used to get the volumetric air requirements in SCFM
Note of caution when getting the equipment air-need requirements; the specified SCFM used by equipment does not mean that a piece of equipment requires this all the time. All the equipment in the workshop cannot be working simultaneously; hence users should understand the most indicative use factor for their requirements. You can not have all your air tools in your workshop working simultaneously. An impact wrench, nailers, drill, etc., cannot be operational simultaneously; hence workshop owners should factor this while deciding on the size of compressor to purchase. The workshop owner should develop an informed and creative use factor; the workshop owner can also include such a decision in the workshop SOP (Standard operating procedure)for ease and a safe working environment. Some tools are needed all the time and for an extended period, some of the time, and some are rarely used. Still, a functional SOP should incorporate what equipment can be used simultaneously to avoid overload. There are no exact methods; the workshop management should figure out how to effectively create this procedure and include it in their organization's process manual.
What is the desirable pressure I need for my equipment to operate effectively?
We have decided the type and size of compressor needed, and now we need to know the working pressure that the workshop equipment requires. The working pressure is the pressure in which the pneumatic equipment is set, and it is measured in PSI or pounds per square inch. The operating pressure is usually on the nameplate of the air tools in the workshop, and the best way is to check the highest pressure rating of any equipment/tool in the workshop and set this pressure as the working pressure of the workshop, the other air tools can work here even if it has a lower operating pressure, the reason is that many of those tools are fitted with pressure regulator and reducing valves that accept required pressure on the tool. The highest operating pressure is used to set the operating pressure for the entire workshop.
There are tendencies that pressure drops will occur in the air system. The pressure drop occurs when tools are connected from the air compressor, and before it gets to the point of use like the pneumatic air wrench or drills, the energy drops. Pressure drop also happens when the air passes through the air treatment and distribution system, including the air dryers, filters, and pipes. The reduction in pressure from the system can be as significant as 30 to 20 psi for small diameter pipes and five psi for larger diameters of pipe.
Compressing air takes a lot of energy. The higher the pressure, the higher the energy requirement and heat produced, and the more the system creates more wear and tear. It is essential to avoid expensive mistakes such as running the compressed air lines at higher than the needed pressures; it is best to keep the working pressure as low as possible.
Advantages of Air tools
There are many advantages of tools that get their power from air powered by an air compressor, mainly for automotive workshops. Some of the benefits are
Air tools don't die while working.
Unlike electrical tools, air tools will not burn or die while working. Plenty of electrical tools today require batteries in order to run. Even with a spare battery, batteries running down might halt your operations and cause you significant downtime. If you do not have any battery left, it will interrupt your ambition to conclude the task at hand. Your best bet is using an air tool instead of a battery one – they don't ever run out! So if you need it done fast without backup plans.
Air tools have less weight than an equivalent electrical tool.
Air tools do not have so much engineering; hence they are fitted together with few light metals; they are lightweight and thus lighter than electric tools. Such lightness can reduce general fatigue in a job, which is vital to anyone that works long hours no matter the kind of job
- Air tools have more power than electric tools making it less expensive to own and operate.
- Air tools primarily have a Lower risk of accidents from overheating, electric spark, and electric shock.
- High reliability
- AIr tools are generally more reliable than electric tools; they are made of fewer parts hence are not complicated. They have fewer mover parts.
- Air tools have high Versatility.
- Many air tools offer capabilities that electric tools cannot provide. Many pneumatic tools can use air to fill tires which cannot be done using electric power tools.
The best tools for an automotive workshop
We have compiled a list of pneumatic tools commonly used in automotive workshops. Most electric tools also have their pneumatic counterpart, making it easy to set up a workshop and ensure that all the tools are air powered.
We often go to the gas station to top-up our tires when it deflates; having a workshop with a compressor is advantageous because you should buy and connect a tire inflator and do it yourself.
Air Impact drills and drivers are the tools used with drill and driver bits and make the job done easier and efficiently.
Air hammer air great tools needed in an automotive workshop and can accomplish tasks easier when connected to air compressors.
Air Die grinders in an automotive workshop make using various small rotating tips to grind, sand, machine, or polish easier and done to the required client's specifications.
An air angle grinder is used to grind, cut, and primarily machine various surfaces such as metal and concrete.
Blowguns are used to evacuate dirt and specks of dust from accumulating on surfaces such as an engine bay, and such contaminants can be a problem for automotive workshops.
For workshops that handle auto-body works, a tedious job includes sanding surfaces, work on a single panel that can take houses to complete, a pneumatic sander, random -orbit, dual actions, and belt sanders can fix such situations and make the job so easy and done in few quick minutes.
Air paint sprayers are used primarily by automotive workshops for paint spraying vehicle surfaces. A good paint sprayer can cover surfaces within a few minutes if a good user is handling it.
After you sand, you will have to paint, and when you sand again, you must paint. You may also need to polish, and that a lot of manual labor for you, air polisher makes the job top easy and quick to conclude.
Powered by air and air, riveter can rive sheet metals quickly in no time and with minimal effort.
A nibbler combines the power of a saw and a punch. It is a cutting tool that creates a reciprocating force creating a line of overlapping small holes on metals. Rather than cutting through metal, a nibbler slowly eats it away, biting the pieces off one at a time.
This tool is needed in any automotive workshop to remove rust on surfaces of a car, such as a frame. The needle scaler is used to vibrate off rusts on surfaces.
Air Cutting Tools and Saws
Saws and cutting air machines cut through a sheet of a car or any metal surface is made easier using air cutting tools.
Often bolts and nuts don't agree to lose, which is where impact wrenches and ratchets become helpful. Having this tool in automotive workshops saves a lot. Every car has stubborn nuts and bolts. An impact wrench and ratchet will make work easier and quicker.
You can manually dispense grease on required parts or use an air dispenser to keep things easy, clean, and clear—don't lose sight of this great tool.
Nailers and staplers are the most common and most helpful pneumatic tools you can keep in your arsenal for home projects. Though not explicitly intended for cars or automotive workshops, these tools are so necessary we cannot ignore them. Get one and be free.