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Thread: Air tool oil question
04-12-2005, 11:24 PM #1
The factory that I work in had used Marvel Air-Tool oil for years but in the last year has switched to stocking Mobil Almo 525 Air Tool oil. We use this simply for pneumatics lubrication (when remembered) on the machines. The Marvel oil seemed a bit less viscous, red , and seemed to work fine. The Mobil states that it SAE 20 and that's about all I know. I'm curious how the two compare for seals, spools, etc. Our ail quality is usually very good and dry but there are times when water will enter the system or something will let loose in that Chinese pipe.
The cylinders that we use in my area of concern are typically disposable Bimbas, Numatics and a few high dollar linear cylinders. Valves are mostly MAC and Festo. I have been noticing that some of the response times for actuation are not always what it should be and a lot of the flow controls tend to need too much attention for consistent speed control.
What do you guys think about this change? Is the Mobil "good stuff"? The Marvel seemed to be a lot lighter oil (and red)and I'm wondering if that lighter oil would work better for the flows and spools.
I also suspect some of the "shift guys" lubing "dry cylinders" with Tri-flow when they get a call to a down line. I have not verified this -it's just a hunch. What if any damage would Tri-flow do to a pneumatics system -seals, etc?
What air oil do you guys recomend and use?
Thanks for the opinions.
04-13-2005, 12:13 AM #2
Really, I don't think it matters that much. Air cylinder duty is not that tough. Mobil knows what they're doing, too. I'd use the Mobil stuff and not lose any sleep over it.
As far as air tools, I know several guys who never oil their tools - they last a long time that way. I know another guy who oils his like crazy - his impact will probably last forever but every time he picks it up there's oil on his hands and anything he touches afterwards.
04-13-2005, 12:37 AM #3
I have always used Dextron II (now Dextron III). That is what the rotary screw air compressors use, and they run forever. It also looks alot like Marvel Mystery Oil.
04-13-2005, 12:43 AM #4
SAE 20 seems a bit heavy for air tools. Still, I can't knock Mobil. I have used their oils in all of my cars and truck, and all except my wife's car have gone over 100,000 miles.
I lube all of my air tools, and I have oil on my hands, and my shirt.
What does raise my concern is Chinese pipe. I am not convinced their quality control is what it should be. It seems to me that most stuff exported from China is made to a (low) price point. If an air line breaks, somebody could get hurt. It really is not practical to fill a whole air system with water to hydro test it. Perhaps you can take one or two lengths of pipe from stock, and test them, to 150% of your maximum working pressure. Bleed ALL the air out, and hold the pressure for several hours. If the stuff is OK, then maybe I am wrong. If there is a problem, better to find out with a piece of pipe from stock, where all you are out is one piece of pipe.
04-13-2005, 01:56 AM #5
SAE 20 is VERY thick for air tools. It probably wouldn't make any difference in air hammers or wrenches but sanders and grinders will see a noticeable decrease in speed. At least until the oil is blown out. Air tool oil is supposed to have a solvent that breaks down deposits and gum. It then gets blown out of the exhaust. A thin coat of oil remains for lube.
On extended use, I oil my air tools 3-4 times during the day. Then, a final oil and run before puting the tool away. Even my HF air tools have lasted for 6+ years.
04-13-2005, 06:25 AM #6
I have always used a product called non fluid oil. I don't know if there is anything better as I have never had any problems and have never experimented. I may be missing out.
04-13-2005, 08:37 AM #7
well the last time the discussion of oiling up the rachet air wrench I was working on my truck and I got out the oil and oiled up the mechanism for the first time and during the job the tool stopped working. took it apart and cleaned out all the oil and it continued to work on this cheap tool with lots of years of service. This may be a freak. Ed ke6bnl
04-13-2005, 09:26 AM #8
Have many different brands of oil,most are probably rebadged(Bostich,Hilti,Paslode).They're labled for use in nailguns and such.Use whatever's closest for die grinders,sanders,ratchets,ect.It has been our experience using these handheld airtools that oiling them pretty frequently(at the gun)early in their life,then gradually tapering off frequency as tool gets worn in,suffices.Obviously if its being used strenuously(framing nailers/sanders runnin wfo),we'll take a little extra time and oil'm a touch extra.We've also experienced stoppages from overoiling.Usually a newb who thinks that if 1/2 dz or so drops is good,pouring a 1/2 cup in must be better.Moisture is our biggest problem though.Even with dryers(admittedly "crude"),when usin smallish compressors outside of shop you have to try and keep tool above tank during high humidity times of year.Hoses get contaminated,we're real protective of the lines.best of luck,BW
04-13-2005, 10:13 AM #9As far as air tools, I know several guys who never oil their tools - they last a long time that way. I know another guy who oils his like crazy - his impact will probably last forever but every time he picks it up there's oil on his hands and anything he touches afterwards.
With proper lube metering pigs,the tools got to be a sloppy but managable with cleaning. New management cut of the lube supply and the crews resorted to using a mix of tranny fluid with diesel fuel, in the winter they threw in some dry gas. Absolutely disgusting mess that covered everything .. Tools, site area, work vehicles,and the men. Sad.
04-13-2005, 12:57 PM #10
The paperwork that comes with the Ross valves for my presses specifically states not to use Marvel Oil in the system as it will damage the o-rings and seals.
The biggest killer of the Ross valves is water in the air.
I use a light spindle oil in my air lubricators on the machines.
I spend hours removing scratches from draw blanks using a die grinder and Matz or Cratex points. A couple drops of Relton air tool oil every so often makes a difference. You can hear the top RPM's increase after you add the oil.
It only takes a couple of drops and yes you do get a little oil out the exhaust which can be messy. A shop rag makes quick work of the mess. No big deal.
04-15-2005, 09:20 AM #11
the color red has got nothing to do with whether its air tool oil. Marvel makes an air tool oil, and it's labeled as such, and it isnt mystery oil. It isn't red either. ATF doesn't have the gum solvents necessary in an air tool oil.
04-15-2005, 01:20 PM #12
In the wood shop we run the sanders "Dry Till They Die" because a few specks of oil out of a sander on the the surface of an about to be finished bed thats going for $5000 could really ruin your day if you don't catch it before you try to stain it.
However, for those suffering from air tool oil blowout, here is a neat trick. Either buy or rob from SWMBO, these hair things they call "scrunchies". They look like a tubular piece of cloth with some elastic in them. Here is a web site.
Now take those babies and wrap them around the tool so that they cover the exhaust port. They make a nice filter, catch the oil and crap, quiet the tool just a bit and don't seem to hurt performance at all. When it gets nasty, chunk it!
04-17-2005, 04:23 PM #13
The company I used to work for made Benchtop Beer Botteling Machines. We always recommended the Mobil 525. Most other airtool oiler ate the o-rings & seals in the solenoids& air cylinders we used.
04-17-2005, 05:07 PM #14
We use Mobil DTE Light as our plant's air tool oil. I know nothing about the rationale for that but as long as the oilers are kept full the problems seem to be minimized.
However the guys who rebuild and service the air tools keep small bottles of ATF on their scooter. They claim it helps to loosen the junk that builds up inside the rotors, and use it as a quick fix to get a problem child moving when they have too much to do and have to come back later.
We use an oiler from Master Pneumatic that has a little "counter" inside of it. The counter can be adjusted to 1, 5, or 10, and that many trigger cycles the oil dispense plunger cycles once.
It seems to mitigate the mess of a constant-flow lubricator at obviously more expense and still keep the tools working well. The beauty is that it can be filled by a central (1 overhead tank) lubrication system while the airline is constantly under pressure whereas the simple pressurized bowls can't.
04-17-2005, 05:30 PM #15
Is the pipe part of the problem? All air systems contain moisture. Moisture causes rust in the pipe which will eventually enter valves, tools and other equipment.
I have always prefered to use copper tube, faster to install, easyer to change and no rust.
There have been discussions about using plastic pipe on this board, the collected advise is not to use plastic pipe.
04-18-2005, 12:10 AM #16
A lot of nice feedback -thanks. We don't use many air tools in the plant unless it is for maintenance. My concern is mostly about consistent operation and the life of the pneumatic system (valves, cylinders, etc.). We use huge amounts of air in our blow molding area and unless one of the dryers go down the air is nice and dry. These are 600 hp screw type compressors and they run 24/7. My main area of work responsibility is in the packaging end of the plant. My observation is that there are times when you have to "fuss" with some of the speeds (w/flow controls) of certain cylinders too often -even a couple of weeks after new valves, cylinders and flows are installed. I'm wondering if this new lube could be a problem or it's time to move to a better lube and/or components. From what I’ve read here is that those using the Mobil oil have found no troubles. It was interesting that Ross says not to use Marvel oil in there systems. We never have had Marvel Mystery Oil in the plant –just their Air-Tool Oil. It did seem to have a solvent like feel and viscosity and I could see how that would be nice in keeping the valve spools clean. This Mobil 525 has a look and feel like a DTE light
Matt, you made mention of the Master Pneumatic lubricator. Is this made specifically for air tools or do you know if the company offers it in an FLR (filter, lubricator, regulator) configuration. It sounds like a nice way of metering the oil rather than counting drops in a sight glass for a couple of minute only to have a “tinker tech” come buy later and crank up the metering rate.
As far as plant plumbing with the pipe –we’re coming up on the plants ninth birthday and think the old black pipe will become an issue someday and will cost a lot to repair. These are 6” trunks with 3” branches in the main room and the packaging side has a 3” trunk with 1 and ¾” drops. Our air consumption is minuscule compared to the rest of the plant, but we are “at the end of the line”. We did have a dryer go down a week or two ago and I have had to empty three filters so far.
Thanks again for the response
04-18-2005, 12:22 AM #17
Luke here is what I was referring to, they are called "Serv-Oil"
The thing I keep hearing is that if you were to lube a "dry" cylinder once then it has to be lubricated from then on. The cylinder lube that is sent in after the fact washes out whatever special lube is put into the cylinder at the time of manufacture and thus you have to keep lubing it thereafter.
04-18-2005, 12:43 AM #18
Thanks for the link, Matt. Nifty little unit. I've hears many a salesman talk about "lubless" systems and was swayed towards that thinking for new systems, but think my pendulam is swinging the other way. It is almost impossible to add a new valve or cylinder to an old system that has been lubricated -so now I'm am of the lube mindset because those "lubed for life" seals don't seem to stay that way forever and a little moisture or dirt in a system does seem to wreak havoc and make for a bad day/week. I'm thinking that is where the Tri-flow is comming in to play with some of my maintenance team mates (you mentioned ATF with yours).
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