Two of the most useful and widely used tool categories used for producing mechanical actions include pneumatic tools and hydraulic tools. Some of the best pneumatic equipments and tools are air brakes, air compressors, air guns, pneumatic cylinders, pneumatic sensors and vacuum pumps. Heavy equipments used for construction tasks are the best examples of hydraulic tools.
Each of these two categories of tools is used for specific applications. There are some advantages of pneumatic tools that hydraulic tools lack and vice versa. In order to select the right tool for a particular application, you must know how to compare the two sets of tools. Learn how to bring out this comparison from the following sections.
Comparison among Basic Operations
Pneumatic tools make use of gases that are compressible. These may include compressed air or compressed inert gases. On the other hand, the operation of hydraulic tools and equipments is based on incompressible liquids. It is worth noting that each of these tool sets use the principle of fluid power in the opposite manners.
Usual Pressure Range
Pneumatic equipments are required where comparatively lesser pressure is required. These tools and equipments use pressure that usually ranges between 80 and 100 pounds per square inch. On the other hand, hydraulic devices use much greater pressure that may exceed up to 10,000 pounds per square inch. This is the reason that hydraulic tools are able to support heavy weight construction tasks and other similar applications.
Simplicity, Control and Storage
Needless to say, pneumatic tools are simpler designs as compared with hydraulic equipments. Moreover, they are easier to use and control and have simpler operations. Going further, they require very little space for storage.
Reliability and Usage Terms
Hydraulic equipments are more prone to damage due to the types of applications they are involved in. Moreover, incompressible fluids are more difficult to control than compressible ones. This also indicates that hydraulic tools require more maintenance than their pneumatic counterparts. If maintained properly, both pneumatic and hydraulic equipments can last for up to 15 years.
Pneumatic tools are responsible for causing greater noise when operated. Hydraulic equipments in comparison are quieter in operation. The reason for this may be the applications for which these two sets of tool are used.
As far as operating conditions are concerned, hydraulic tools can be easily used in different types of environments. For example, these equipments can be used in different temperature ranges. Pneumatic tools won’t work at sub-zero temperatures, but hydraulic equipments can work under these conditions. Going further, hydraulic machines can work under the water, where pneumatic equipments fail to perform.
As it is clear from the discussion so far, hydraulic equipments have higher initial costs as compared to the tools based on pneumatic technology. However, the efforts made for the maintenance of these tools should decide their overall costs.
The comparison made above doesn’t mean that pneumatic tools or hydraulic equipments have pros and cons. It is just to provide an idea about the type of applications and environments for which each of these tool categories works.