There is a wide range of handheld hydraulic and pneumatic construction equipment available for use in breaking pavement and rock, drilling and sandblasting. These include pick and demolition hammers, light, medium and heavy breakers, rock drills, cut-off saws, core drills, water pumps, ground rod drivers, post drivers and post hole borers.
The use of air compression for construction tools is very convenient because they will normally use the energy of compressed air as opposed to electricity. Of course, when using a pneumatic power tool, you will need an air compressor. An air compressor is quite a big, loud piece of equipment and when you are using it you will need to wear safety glasses, ear muffs, safety gloves and a hard hat. Most air compressors will run on diesel, and basic maintenance checks should always be conducted before operation. The power of compressed air can be dangerous, and caution must always be taken when an air compressor is in use.
There are strict safety rules to abide by when using pneumatic power tools. It is important to conduct inspections before operating the tool in question. The air hose must be checked for cracks or holes, and if anything suspicious is found, the hose must be replaced immediately. Before you connect the air hose to the air compression outlet, open the valve. You will want to be sure that the air is flowing smoothly and strongly. After doing this connect the tool’s hose to the outlet and then ensure that the hose is clear of any water or foreign objects before you connect the hose to the power tool. When doing this do not point the hose at another person, because the force of the air is dangerous. Remember to always turn the valve off at the outlet first before you disconnect the hose.
Air breakers are designed for general demolition, and are probably one of the most popular pneumatic power tools on the market. An air breaker will be used to break medium and hard materials such as concrete and asphalt. Prior to operation of an air breaker, you must always check that all parts are securely fastened. The hoses and connections will then be checked for possible damage or leakage. The breakers shank must be greased to ensure that it glides smoothly through the material you are wishing to break. Lastly you must check the built in lubricator for air oil. Always be careful to ensure that the air supply is off before you remove the oil plug, because if you do not, you could end up with oil squirting in your face!
A rock drill is probably another popular pneumatic power tool you will come across if you are using an air compressor to power your construction work. A rock drill is designed for heavier jobs such as bench and secondary drilling, and can also be used for drilling for smooth blasting. There are some rock drills that can drill holes up to 6 meters deep! Before operation of this tool, besides the normal hose checks, you must ascertain that the drill steel’s flushing hole is clean and open. The lubricator must be full, and remember that the air supply must be off when conducting this inspection!
As mentioned before, there are a plethora of pneumatic air tools for you to use as an alternative to those powered by electricity. Safety clothing must be worn at all times and a pneumatic power tool must never be used by someone who has no experience or training in this area.