Pneumatic tools and non sparking tools
Non-Sparking Tools solve a big problem for industries with work in explosive environments. For material removal jobs in Classified Areas, including Class 1 Div 1 & 2 you need a guarantee that the work will either be done as Certified Cold Work, otherwise, you will need Habitats and Shutdown which get very expensive, very fast.
TFT Pneumatic is a supplier of these tools, and they are available for rent or purchase. When you use non sparking tools, they'll give you an all-around highly efficient solution for any specific use you may have. From cutting and grinding with a sparkless grinder to assisted cutting with our cutting guides to subsea applications where our files and cutting discs may be incorporated into robots.
These rotating files (can also be called grinding burrs or rotary files) are designed to be an extension of the Operators arm. They feature low vibration during operation, low heat, and low noise levels. The metal fragments are large, sharpless, and will drop just a few inches away from the work piece, making the worksite safe, and its cleanup easy and fast.
For material removal jobs in Classified Areas, you need tools that are Certified Cold Work, to avoid spending in Hot Work Permits, Habitats and fire watches or worse, shutdowns and delays. Our tools have been used for more than 15 years in the toughest places around the World.
The TFT-PNEUMATIC Safety Tools rotating files and discs are made of a proprietary alloy based on tungsten carbide. The hardness in their Patented design is right in between the one of an industrial diamond and the one from a natural diamond. Depending on the job you may select the type to use: surface prep, grinding or cutting.
TFT-PNEUMATIC Safety Tools rotating files and discs are reliable and safe to use in explosive environments, such as Offshore Platforms, Refineries, Chemical Plants, mines, and many other places. These tools are robust and built for heavy-duty industrial jobs. Their lifespan is up to 100 times the one of a traditional carbide file. Since our files do not heat up significantly, they do not lose their sharp edge. In 15 years no users have complained about the file’s lifetime. Most of our users praise the ability for both the tools and attachments to be in pair with the toughest jobs in the Industry.
The tools have endured a long and tough Certification process by DNV. They have proven throughout this testing and for more than 15 years in the toughest conditions, that they will not trigger an ignition. Used day in day out in the toughest places in the world they are a valuable asset for small to medium jobs where mobility and speed are important.
By using these certified cold work tools, you can avoid all the hassle from a Hot Work Permit or Habitats. The tools can be used in hydrocarbon-rich environments, where gas is present without all the dangers associated with using hot work tools. Our tools are so cool in fact that they can be used directly in contact with the hydrocarbon/gas. While not the economical tool as a standalone item, their ability to be used at all times, allows the Asset Owner to recover the investment many times over in as little as a few minutes of use.
Being certified cold work tools means you do not need to cover up adjacent surfaces in the work area because the tools do not produce any hot sparks that can burn through paint coatings. The work area temperature is low heat, averaging 95-105°F when grinding steel, which if you think about it is just above human body temperature. Our tools are also certified for Dust Explosive atmospheres.
Depending on the grinding burr or grinding disc you use, the Surface Roughness Profile you can expect goes in the 40-75 microns (2.5 mils) range and achieve +1,600 psi on Pull Test. You can see more details in the comparative table above. Our tools are ideal for corrosion removal and spot repair. Corrosion never sleeps, you need a tool to match it without waiting for your assets to deteriorate completely. Depending on the job size, select the applicable number of tools or suitcases.
There is no escape of isocyanides when grinding through polyurethane coatings with traditional tools. However TFT-PNEUMATIC Safety Tools chip off the material, rather than burn it. This is accomplished by reducing the energy, thus reducing the heat. This means the Operators will not breathe these harmful chemicals.
Non-sparking tools are used in offshore, petrochemical plants, mining, shipbuilding, and refineries, just to name a few.
These tools include various categories of tools; from handheld tools such as hammers and wrenches all the way to pneumatic cutting, grinding, and surface preparation tools.
These types of pneumatic tools fall under a specialized category at TFT and can be found under TFT-PNEUMATIC – Safety Tools.
They are ideal for:
Their Certification for use in Explosive Environments and being explosion-proof quality makes them the industry standard for these applications. Here’s a demo of a surface preparation exercise by removing corrosion paint and some metal off a steel pipe.
The name non-sparking comes for the quality of not producing sparks when in contact with metal. So depending on the category all of these tools are made of non-ferrous materials, which means they don’t contain iron. Iron is the main reason why hot sparks are created when you grind metals.
Using a tool made of non-sparking material eliminates the risk of ignition in environments where there are flammable liquids, vapors or dust. This is why these specialty tools are ideal for use in closed spaces. These are safety tools that are needed in all industries where explosive or flammable environments are present.
Most spark-free tools are made of materials and alloys like copper-beryllium alloys, bronze, brass and even smaller tools made out of plastic, leather or wood can technically be considered non-sparking. But these are the lower range of spark-free tools available. In general, these materials (metals) are softer, so they don’t last much time in heavy-duty applications.
These are things like drills, impact wrenches, and of course grinders, which are the tools that produce the most friction and thus a risk of ignition. The certified cold work grinders provided by TFT Pneumatic Safety Tools are within the category of non-sparking hand power tools and do not pose any of the risks associated with traditional tools/grinders.
In order for a grinder to fit the category of non-sparking, the grinder must be a certified cold work pneumatic grinder. Normally connected to a 90 PSI compressor, we have several grinders for different types of applications of various sizes and styles.
Depending on the application, the array of options really opens up.
Our rotating files and grinding discs are so powerful and safe to use is their main component: a proprietary alloy based on tungsten carbide, which makes it comparably as hard as a diamond. Other trade secrets include Patented material removal patterns, among a few other things.
The design of the teeth increases the longevity of the rotating files and disc, where users of these tools say they last one hundred times longer than a regular high quality grinding file or disc.
These cold work tools are compliant with ATEX Guidelines.
ATEX is the name given to the two European Directives that control explosive environments in any industry. One directive refers to the safety of the workers in hazardous environments, and the second Directive refers to the safety of the equipment used in these environments.
At the time of this writing, there is no equivalent regulation to the ATEX Certification in the US as EU regulations are far more advanced. However, the ATEX Certification is recognized globally in the industry, even if there is no official standard in the US, as there are no directives for mechanical risk ignitions, specifically by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration).
Regarding the need for these tools, OSHA’s website cites:
Iron or steel hand tools may produce sparks that can be an ignition source around flammable substances. Where this hazard exists, spark-resistant tools made of non-ferrous materials should be used where flammable gases, highly volatile liquids, and other explosive substances are stored or used.
TFT Pneumatic’s cold work tools are safe to use in Class 1 Div 1&2, and ATEX Gas Zones 1 & 2, dust zones 21 & 22. This means that using these tools eliminate the need for a hot work permit, pressurized welding enclosures, fire watches, shutdowns, nitrogen purging to perform any kind of mechanical operation, saving you time and costs.
Sparkless tools are quite simply the only way to properly do work in any explosive environment. But having the right tools for difficult jobs reduces costs and provides a specialized worker with adequate tooling.
Something really important about these tools is that they let you do maintenance work without the need for a shutdown. By eliminating the risk of an explosion, the everyday operations can go on as normal.
While the tools may be used during the TAR, they are even more useful year-round or Pre – TAR.
Additionally, there is no need to build habitats, pressurized welding enclosures or setup fire watches during operation time. These certified cold work tools are an absolute necessity and investment for continuous operation.
In the case of surface preparation, as you saw on the video, we used the A-0008 Big Papa Rotating File, along with a FUJI pneumatic die grinder. What it did was remove the corrosion off the pipe and provide surface prep for a surface coating such as paint or a wrap.
The file is made out of a proprietary alloy based on Tungsten. So, the entire process does only increases the temperature of the pipe by about 5F.
Among the many benefits of using TFT-PNEUMATIC’s surface prep tool are the following:
The best non-sparking tool is the one that gets the job done faster and with the least expense possible. While traditional tools are surely cheaper, the expenses to use them far exceed their benefits in most cases.
For example, in an Offshore Platform, say you need to remove a welded structure to the deck. While a torch is cheaper, the cost of shutting the unit down may exceed the hundreds if not millions of thousands of dollars in a matter of hours or a few days. Surely the torch is cheaper, but when you add up the cost of a hot work Permit, shutdown, downtime, and so on. TFT-PNEUMATIC Safety Tools are incredibly cheaper. Most of our customers have the tools to pay for themselves within the very first job and can continue to use them for a number of years.
For example, for a ship hull repair job, you need to consider the equipment you will be using. A small grinder Certified Cold Work grinder can get the job done faster by only preparing the rusted surface, feathering its way in and out. Alternatively, a needle gun with a brass needle will never achieve the quality of surface TFT-PNEUMATIC Safety Tools will, and is about 200 times slower in speed. Perhaps using a sandal blaster is an option. But they are geared towards large areas and will remove perfectly good paint and create a big mess.