How to Troubleshoot Common Problems in your Pneumatic System

How to Troubleshoot Common Problems in your Pneumatic System

If you use machinery that relies on compressed air to work, you should keep a careful lookout for common pneumatic faults. As compressed air systems rely on exact tuning and a tight enclosure to work correctly, secondary issues often end up damaging or breaking the entire system.

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If your pneumatic arms and cylinders are underperforming, not lifting or pushing, or losing their precision and controllability, run through our quick troubleshooting checklist. Here are five of the most common faults that cause pneumatic underperformance and failure.

1. Low Pressure

One obvious sign of pneumatic underperformance is under pressurisation. Failure to reach the machine’s rated PSI can result in a sudden control loss and poor-strength motions. Check monitoring valves and gauges, compressor readouts, and general machine performance logs for discrepancies from your recommended ratings. Hissing and wheezing noises can indicate loss of pressure due to leaks and fissures.

2. Compressor Stalling, Failure, And Faults

Are your compressors working correctly? If there’s no other obvious source of lost pressure, it’s likely to be the pump(s) driving the pneumatics. It may be time to consider a replacement. Motor burnout, mechanical faults, power surges and dips, intake and pipeline clogs, and degraded seals can all cause your air compressors to underperform and fail. Compressors also tend to become less efficient at trapping air with time, too.

3. Particulate Contamination

Oil or water droplet contamination of pneumatic pipelines can reduce efficiency and wreck machinery. Microscopic particulate builds up inside, reducing the amount of space air can expand in to create intense pressure. Dust can cause similar issues. Cleaning, regular maintenance, and quality insulation can help prevent micro-ingress.

4. High Temperatures

While some heat generation is a normal part of pneumatic pressure, the excessive build-up of warmth can indicate a system in trouble. Motors and components may be straining to create the pressure needed, or air may be travelling too quickly or too intensely through one part of the loop. It’s worth checking your ventilation and release valves for blockages and leaks.

5. Audible And Visible Leaks

In bigger pneumatic networks, it is easy to lose track of the performance of separate sections. If there’s no obvious cause of poor performance, it’s worth checking the lines by sight and hearing – pneumatic hissing sounds and punctured areas mean that general maintenance might be needed to get your system back up to speed.

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How To Minimise Downtime With Pneumatic Plant And Machinery.
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