How To Care For Your Power Tools

Looking After Power Tools In The Stone Industry

Power tools are not guaranteed to always work. They are guaranteed against defects in their manufacture.

Stone working can be a difficult environment for power tools to operate Establishing good working practices and routines regarding power tool maintenance will help prolong their life and keep them working reliably. Poorly maintained power tools can be the cause of workplace injuries - all machines need to be cared for. Dust accumulations inside tool housings can be the cause of gear wear, switch issues, and bearing damage. Maintaining the machines is relatively simple and will reduce downtime for your business in the long run.

Below are some recommendations which have been passed to us by the technicians who carry out power tool repairs - we hope these will serve as guidelines for preventative maintenance.

Recommendations To Prolong The Life of Power Tools

Choose The Right Machine For The Job And Avoid Overload

One of the most frequent reasons for machine breakdown is that the machine being used for the application is not designed for that specific use. Consider the intended use of the machine you are using and ensure that it is suitable for the application. Is the attachment connected to the machine suitable for the size and power of the power tool? When using the machine, try not to force or overload the machine but allow the motor to do the work steadily and progressively. Too much pressure across long periods of time and neglecting guidance on the type or size of tool connected to the machine is often the cause of power tool faults. We are here to advise and help you select the correct power tool for your application.

Clean The Machine After Every Use

The motor's fan will draw stone in through the motor housing during use. After every shift, take a moment to use compressed air to blow out the machine, making sure it is unplugged. Please ensure correct Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is used. Aim the air nozzle to flush all vents of the machine, especially those near the motor housing - you can't be too thorough! There are usually two vents on stoneworking power tools - an exhaust vent and an inhalation vent - clean both.

If stone dust is left inside the machine, in a cold environment overnight, it can harden, prohibiting the cooling of the machine when you come to use it. This is often a cause of mechanical or electrical failure. Also, not to let stray chips of stone enter the vents of the machine as these can cause damage.

Always Follow The Manufacturer's Guidelines

Seems obvious - but always read the manufacturer guidelines to double check your working practices - try not to let familiarity with the tools mean you skip this important step.

Store The Machine Correctly

If it is a water fed machine, disconnect it from the water supply and allow it to dry out when not in use. This will help to avoid rust of the internal components and prevent stone debris drying inside the machine. We recommend making a small bracket above your work bench, so that it hangs up vertically (spindle nearest the ceiling). This will let any water holding dust in suspension drain out of the rear vents and not settle and set hard inside the tool.

If it is a dry machine and was supplied with a tool case - use this to store the machine as they are better protected from debris and the elements.

Be Wary of Cable Stress

Wrapping the cable tightly around the machine can lead to the weakening of the cores of the wire or in the connection to the machine or plug. Do not allow people to walk on the cable when it is on the floor. In addition, the sharp stone chips can easily damage the cable as they are only soft. Cables should be inspected regularly and replaced where damaged or stressed. Don't worry, this will not void the warranty of the machine.

Allow The Machine A Rest Period

Power tools are not designed to work constantly in stressful environments such as stone polishing, cutting and grinding. If wet or dry polishers are operated continuously at low speeds for a long time, the motor will get overloaded and heat up. This can cause severe damage to internal plastic and electrical components. To avoid this, rest periods are recommended.

If the tool is running hot under load and in use at slow speeds, do not switch it off. Instead, remove from the workpiece, speed it up to its maximum rpm and let the machine run free at full speed for a minute or two. This cool air running through the motor will rapidly bring the motor components temperature down, therefore preventing the motor from “cooking” itself as would happen if it were turned off whilst hot. Once cooled at full speed for a little while you can then turn the machine off and let the rest of the machine cool down naturally.

Regularly Inspect The Tool

Power tools should be inspected before every use. Look for the breakages of any parts like cracked housing, damaged cables or spindle damage and have the power tool inspected and repaired before use if there are any concerns.

We often find that faults occur in power tools and then they are used further, creating additional problems with the machines. If you see any issues before use, stop using the machine and contact us for advice.

Many accidents are caused by poorly maintained power tools.

Maintain The Carbon Brushes

The majority of power tools feature an automatic stop function where the carbon brush has a spring through its length. When the carbon brush wears out, the current is disrupted and the power tool stops working. Some power tools do not have this feature. If this is the case, a regular inspection of the condition of the carbon brushes, by opening the machine will prevent the power tool from being operated without the brushes which may cause damage to internal parts.


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