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Top Pneumatic Systems Maintenance Solutions – Essential Guide

In this article, we explore pneumatic systems and the best solutions for their maintenance.

Table of Contents

pneumatic systems maintenance solutions

What are Pneumatic Systems?

Pneumatic systems use pressurised air or gas to perform mechanical work.

Pneumatic systems are highly effective at moving, filling, sealing or cooling applications with high safety, cost-effectiveness and energy efficiency. They are non-flammable, of high power relative to their size, and shock-absorbing.

Examples of industrial pneumatic systems include bicycle pumps, jackhammers, drills, air brakes, rollercoasters, tire pressure gauges, exercise machines and adhesive dispensers.

The annual global pneumatic systems market is estimated to reach a value of £100 billion in 2024. This growth can be accounted for by increasing demand for sustainable, energy-efficient pneumatic systems that comply with recent government legislation.

Pneumatic systems differ from hydraulic systems by using gas, whereas hydraulics would use fluids.

Where are Pneumatic Systems Used?

Pneumatic systems are commonly used across many industries, ranging from:

  • Construction: drills, jackhammers, nail guns
  • Aerospace: regulators, pressurisation or measurement systems
  • Automotive: ramps during the assembly stage, air brakes, HVAC units
  • Railway: air brakes, HVAC units, cylinders
  • Medical: dentist drills, food pumps, delivery tubes
  • Food & drinks: pneumatic seals

Main Components of Pneumatic Systems

Pneumatic systems are comprised of the following key components:

  • Compressors – create pressurised gas.
  • Valves – control the flow of gas.
  • Reservoir – stores the pressurised gas.
  • Actuators – convert potential energy into kinetic energy.
  • Filters – remove contaminants from the compressed air.
  • Motors & cylinders – use the gas to perform mechanical work.
  • Pipe circuit – transfers the gas from the compressor to the actuators.

These components require effective maintenance operations in order to remain durable, reliable, safe and efficient.

Main Pneumatic Systems Problems & Failures

The main ways that pneumatic systems can experience problems and failures include:

Stalling Compressors

Compressors within pneumatic systems can underperform, become less efficient and ultimately fail. This typically happens as a result of mechanical degradation, power dips and surges, motor burnout, pipeline clogs, and damaged seals.

Low Pressures

Pneumatic systems can experience unusually low pressures, leading to underperformance and failures. This typically happens due to leaks from cracks and fissures within the pneumatic system, causing pressure losses.

Slow Actuators

Actuators or cylinders moving too slowly within a pneumatic system can be a sign of early failure. This can happen as a result of pressure losses, air leaks, faulty valves, wear and damage, or clogged air filters.

Clogged or Damaged Control Valves 

Particulate contamination, such as oil, dust and water, in addition to corrosion, can clog up control valves. This causes them to stick together and not rotate as intended, leading to airflow issues.

Clogged or Damaged Filters

Similar to control valves, particulate contamination, corrosion and wear damage can make the filters less efficient and prone to failure. This can lead to reduced pressure levels, therefore affecting the whole pneumatic system.

Drifting Cylinders

Pneumatic cylinders may drift as a result of air leaks, corrosion and damaged or worn-out valves and pipes. This changes the actuator positions, making the pneumatic system inefficient and prone to failure.

Air Leaks Around Seals

Air leaks can cause pressure losses and underperformance within pneumatic systems. They typically happen as a result of improper or damaged seals, cracks and fissures, particulate contamination and corrosion around the air seals.

Overheating

Pneumatic systems can overheat due to an excess of heat with reduced ventilation, damaging motors and other components. This typically happens as a result of clogged, leaky or damaged ventilation and release valves within the pneumatic system.

Incorrect Product Selection

Choosing the right products to manufacture and maintain a pneumatic system with is essential. The use of lubricants with mismatching load capacity, temperature and corrosion specifications in the pneumatic system can lead to inefficiencies, safety hazards, and premature failure.

Top Pneumatic Systems Maintenance Solutions

Adhesives, sealants & lubricants ensure the reliability, durability, safety and efficiency of pneumatic systems. From initial system manufacturing, to repair and maintenance, having the right bonding and lubrication solutions to hand can have a noticeable impact on overall pneumatic system performance and efficiency.

Pneumatic systems that utilise adhesives and lubrication benefit from the following:

  • Reduced weight – increasing usability and energy efficiency of the pneumatic system; more compact.
  • Optimised temperature regulation – reliable performance across wide temperature ranges.
  • Protection from friction and wear – increasing durability over long-term use.
  • No lubricant leakage or contamination – preventing hazards, premature failure and unexpected maintenance.
  • Protection from oxidation, corrosion and hazardous chemicals – increasing durability.
  • Protection from water, humidity and environmental factors – increasing durability.
  • Reduced vibrations and rattles – improved user experience, and less chance of damage and unexpected maintenance.
  • Increased load-carrying capability – can handle heavier forces without damage.
  • Ability to bond with various dissimilar materials – metals, composites, plated surfaces, etc.
  • Keeping key components clean – lubricants prevent contaminant build-up; avoiding damage to components.
  • Resistance to dynamic pressure changes and operating pressures – increasing durability.
  • High impact resistance and structural strength – increasing durability.

These advantages lead to reduced downtimes, reduced maintenance and repair costs, and improved safety and equipment lifespan.

Adhesives, Sealants and Lubricants for Pneumatic Systems

Here we explore our top adhesives, sealants and lubricants for pneumatic systems maintenance solutions:

Araldite 2014-2 is a two-component epoxy that has high-temperature resistance and good adhesion to various substrates. The superior gap-filling capabilities allow 2014-2 to reliably bond electric motor casings within pneumatic systems. Furthermore, its reliable characteristics make it a popular repair option in various applications.

Araldite CW 5742/HY 5726 is an epoxy casting and impregnating resin system that can be used for encapsulating rotors and stators within the motors of pneumatic systems. It provides great thermal and chemical endurance, as well as superior flow and gap-filling properties.

Molykote 111 is a silicone-based lubricant that can be used to lubricate valves within pneumatic systems. It is highly compatible with plastics and elastomers and provides a high sealing capacity even in pressure and vacuum systems or outdoors. It works optimally in a wide temperature range (from -40⁰C to 200⁰C) and provides excellent resistance to water and chemical products.

Molykote 55 is a silicone grease ideal for lubricating O-rings within pneumatic systems. O-rings are commonly found in pneumatic systems found in the aerospace industries, where effective sealing and lubrication are a must. It provides dynamic lubrication between rubber and metal parts, a wide service temperature range and high resistance to oxidation.

Molykote G-N Plus is a solid lubricant paste that can be used for avoiding the microwelding of pipes. By reducing wear, friction and corrosion of pipes, this lubricant can help pneumatic pipe circuits operate more reliably.

Molykote L-1246 is a synthetic PAO-based oil that can be used in air compressors within pneumatic systems. It provides good corrosion protection, long-term lubrication and improved compressor efficiency.

Molykote L-461 is a synthetic reciprocating compressor oil designed for use on air compressors in high operating temperatures. It provides good corrosion, rust and oxidation protection, a wide operating temperature range and a diester base for its oil.

We are your technical partner.

If you have any questions or want to find out more about the possibilities for your industrial application, please complete the contact form and one of our experts will be in touch.

If you have a problem with industrial adhesives, sealants, or electronic protection products and require advice, you can contact our technical support service. Our team can help you to optimize your processes and applications.

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