What are the best practices for air motor maintenance?
Standard air motor
The most important maintenance step is to ensure the air motor is well lubricated, using products specifically adapted to the needs of pneumatic motors.
Lubrication in the air helps to protect the blades, while the grease inside the gear box protects the gears. You will need to check, and potentially replace, the blades after approximately 1,000 to 2,000 hours of use, and add more grease to the gear box after about 1,000 hours.
Check the filtration system
Regularly check the filters and replace them if necessary. They are not expensive, so it’s always better to change the filters as required rather than risk damage to the inside of the motor from dust or hard particles.
Lubrication-free air motor
For the lubrication-free air motors, good maintenance is down to regular monitoring of the air filtration system and using exceptionally dry air. With no oil inside the motor, the metallic parts need to be kept dry to guarantee high performance, so the key is to make sure only very dry air enters the motor.
The blades inside lubrication-free pneumatic motors should be checked after around 80 hours of use.
The customer knows best
Maintenance also varies depending on what the motor is used for and, in particular, the environment in which it is used. So each customer should assess the best maintenance procedures according to how and where they use their air motors :
If the air motor is used only sporadically, put in place a system that ensures it is run regularly for at least two to three minutes with maximum lubrication. Think of a car left unused for days and weeks on end – it’s unlikely to start first time (or second, or third) when the owner finally needs to use it again!
In humid conditions…
If you are operating machines in a tropical area where humidity levels are high, the motor will require additional lubrication (especially before it is stored away) in order to prevent possible corrosion inside from the damp conditions.
In cold conditions…
When using an air motor in very low temperatures, as well as ensuring the oil lubricator doesn’t freeze, you need to watch that the additional cold generated by the motor (as the air inside expands) doesn’t further reduce the external temperature causing any humidity in the air to freeze and effectively block the exhaust.
An important check when using stainless steel air motors under water is to regularly verify that the seal around the exhaust is totally waterproof. Even a very small leak of water inside the motor will translate into zero performance!