Pneumatic power tools are commonly used across a wide range of industries and applications. For many, they are a critical part of the manufacturing process. Examples are pneumatic screwdrivers and nutrunners, drills, grinders, and sanders used in assembly and material removal operations.
Along with the use of the tools, there is a cost associated with the maintenance and upkeep to ensure tools are performing at their best. The most common method used today with these tools is a break/fix approach where tools are run until something fails, then taken off-line and sent for repair with a back-up tool taking the place of the broken one.
This approach can have additional costs associated with:
• Lost production - back-up tool wait time
• Higher repair cost - as the break causes additional components that need replacing
• Additional parts, purchase order costs, and parts inventory
• Longer tool downtime - waiting for ordered parts
• Lower productivity before the break - due to reduced tool performance
• Quality and rework costs - if tool was not performing correctly
Even when a preventative maintenance program is employed, it is typically implemented on a calendar basis, which can result in either over service at a higher cost or under service still resulting in break fix.
Recognizing the industry need to implement preventative maintenance based on usage, Cleco has developed a pneumatic tool-monitoring device called the Cleco TULMan. TULMan stands for Tool Usage and Life Management and allows for the first time Implementation of a true usage based preventative maintenance program.
Implementation is simple. The Cleco TULMan mounts at the air inlet of any small pneumatic tool either directly or with a whip hose.
It registers every time the tool is run and records the time that the tool has run, giving you a complete record of the tool usage.
Additionally there are two sets of lights that are programmed independently.
One is for a calibration/performance check to ensure the tool is giving the correct performance, which is especially important on pneumatic torque tools.
The other is for maintenance/service, important on all pneumatic tools.
The lights will flash orange indicating when the need to service is near, and red when service is due.
Programming these is fully user-customizable with free software and can be done in both run time and cycles. The tool model/serial number and location within the factory can also be programmed.
The tool usage history is stored on the device in a .csv file format that can be downloaded.
Implementation of a usage-based preventative maintenance program is now made easy with the Cleco TULMan following a simple 3-step process:
1. Mount the counter on the tool
2. Program the counter with tool information and set the maintenance warning and limits
3. Use the tools and perform maintenance when the orange light goes on – stop using if the red light goes on.