Unique Problem With Air Tool...

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I'm copying both the metalworking and woodworking groups. I hope this doesn't piss anyone off too badly. I believe the answers and knowledge that may get passed around is mutually beneficial. Thus the breach in newsgroup etiquette.
Anyhow... I've got a unique problem.
I sell a product that acts basically like an air cylinder. It has a tube (hard chrome plated inside for you metal guys) with a quill (hard chrome plated also) and some rubber seals inside.
One of my customers is a medical giant. They can't have ANY type of lubricant in the cylinder as they run the drill or the FDA comes in and gives them hell.
So... They basically super-dry their air with a desiccant and dryers so that it is down to 0.01% humidity or less and use absolutely no oil whatsoever inside the unit.
After 2-3 years of running like this, the unit doesn't stroke so well. The seals are dried out and the cylinder, although still sealed properly, needs up to 80 PSI air to stroke at all. Normally, they stroke at 15 PSI or so...
Anyone know of a lubricant that could be used that would not cause medical (food grade or better maybe?) issues?
Can't use oil, grease, dry powder stuff, etc. Can't even use water...
I was thinking something like medical grade alcohol or acetone that disappears all by itself if it gets to the atmosphere... But I bet there is a better option.
Thoughts?
As a side note, the tube and quill will stroke millions of times with no lube without wearing out. We've done long-term tests... The tolerances between quill and tube are around 0.001" and the quill diameter is around 3" if it matters.
Having just read a bunch of posts about air tools and proper lube made me think that there might be an expert in here with some ideas...
Regards, Joe Agro, Jr. (800) 871-5022 01.908.542.0244 Automatic / Pneumatic Drills: http://www.AutoDrill.com Multiple Spindle Drills: http://www.Multi-Drill.com Production Tapping: http://Production-Tapping-Equipment.com / Flagship Site: http://www.Drill-N-Tap.com VIDEOS:
http://www.youtube.com/user/autodrill

V8013-R
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I see this as a win-win situation, an opportunity to sell them a new cylinder every couple of years, and charge them $100 per hour installing said cylinders.
i
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Hear ye, hear ye, Merka at its finest!
But, donchaknow, who ultimately winds up footing the bill, and where does sed bill get shoved?
Inyway, maybe a seal that itself wears/self-lubricates nicely, like mebbe teflon, delrin, nylon, some composite?
Chemically speaking, anything with a lubricating viscosity is not likely to evaporate quickly, and vice versa, and then you'd proly need fairly copious amounts of it, as in a bath of sorts.
But, if contamination/biocompatibility is the Fed's real issue, mebbe a joint-type synovial fluid would be acceptable? But the R&D, approval, alladat would no doubt be prohibitive for you, unless the company is really gung ho and will foot the bill.
My understanding is that AstroGlide and the new KY jellies are perty bio-compatible, and if they work on the cylinder, mebbe you could skim some off the top, and give the ole marriage a li'l boost, eh? Speaking of cylinders'n'shit....
But sheeit, iffin they charge any more for this g-d astroglide/KY jelly shit, I may just have to resort to foreplay..... goodgawd.....
--

Mr. PV'd

Mae West (yer fav CongressShill) to the Gangster (yer fav Lobbyist):
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Yep. And they've got a bunch of 'em... But I feel guilty workign that way if a simple answer might exist.
I told the guy (joking around) to use "slippery air" like Argon or Nitrogen and he thought I was serious. I felt bad about that too. :)
--


Regards,
Joe Agro, Jr.
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On Wed, 15 Jul 2009 15:21:25 -0400, Joe AutoDrill wrote:

Besides, someone will come along and say that _their_ stuff doesn't have the problem and they'll boot you out. Several years later, when they find out that that company's rep was wrong or lying it'll be too late.

You B*****.
--
www.wescottdesign.com

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Joe AutoDrill wrote:

I suspect you need to simply change the seal material. Possibly something like a teflon seal would do the job, not require lubricant or dry out.
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I can't "stretch" the teflon seal over my quill to get it to the seal groove... I might be able tu cut it, but then they might complain about air leakage.
--


Regards,
Joe Agro, Jr.
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On Wed, 15 Jul 2009 15:04:45 -0400, "Joe AutoDrill"

Have you looked into what kind of seals they use in the oiless air compressors? I understood that it was some sort of teflon seal. Maybe you could duplicate whatever they are doing...
--
Leon Fisk
Grand Rapids MI/Zone 5b
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Some random thoughts: Since you can't stretch the seal to get it into the groove, how about unscrewing the end of the piston to expose the groove?
I once toured a tea-bag factory, and they were using a special non-toxic lubricant on the staple wire (holding the string to the bag.)
How about using a teflon liner in the cylinder?
How about making the piston out of teflon or nylon?
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The quill is a solid piece of steel machined to spec. Nothing to disassemble.

Wonder if it was tea flavored? <grin>

Tolerances are too close. Liner would have to be 0.0005" or less or the quill would have to be resized and re-chrome plated, then reground... Redesigning the machine is not an option. It would be like saying to change the engine on a car to solve a fuel problem.

Not nearly durable enough. Plus, it goes back to the redesigning the machine thing.
If I can't find something to simply inject into the system that fixes the problem, they will have to run dry.
Regards, Joe Agro, Jr. (800) 871-5022 01.908.542.0244 Automatic / Pneumatic Drills: http://www.AutoDrill.com Multiple Spindle Drills: http://www.Multi-Drill.com Production Tapping: http://Production-Tapping-Equipment.com / Flagship Site: http://www.Drill-N-Tap.com VIDEOS:
http://www.youtube.com/user/autodrill

V8013-R
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[...]

Surely the FDA has a list somewhere of approved lubricants?
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On Wed, 15 Jul 2009 20:13:51 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote:

KY?
Regards,
Tom Watson http://home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1 /
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They sure do. However, given the nature of what they are doing, they need to go to the FDA for approval every time they change something in the system such as this... and their reluctance to do that is clear. If the machine changes slightly, apparently the loophole exists that they don't need a new approval.
I wish I knew the exact application... But for all I know, they're using them on live patients knee cap replacement parts - in body already... I simply don't know...
Regards, Joe Agro, Jr. (800) 871-5022 01.908.542.0244 Automatic / Pneumatic Drills: http://www.AutoDrill.com Multiple Spindle Drills: http://www.Multi-Drill.com Production Tapping: http://Production-Tapping-Equipment.com / Flagship Site: http://www.Drill-N-Tap.com VIDEOS:
http://www.youtube.com/user/autodrill

V8013-R
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Joe AutoDrill wrote:

... So iow the user has implied they're not going to rock the boat but if the manufacturer changes the equipment, "well, how were _we_ to know???"?
Seems like an uncomfortable position to be in. Do you certify the equipment to any Standard or spec if you do simply change a seal material that would be in contravention to?
Seems hard to evaluate what, if any, effect a fix might have if you don't even know what it is your device application is...
I'd assumed you were working w/ the end user on this rather than in isolation.
--
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No. No certification. They bought without telling us the specific nature of the application and used the machines (multiple) for a few years now. We always wondered why we got them back every so often for rebuilds and they would work absolutely perfectly here with just a bit of work... And a new seal kit every time.
Now that we know what they are doing, we have simply said, "We were not told of this but will do all we can to improve it for you."
CLIP

Sorta... Isolation at the moment with a list of suggestions possibly to be tried here or provided to the end user depending on what they wind up being...
--


Regards,
Joe Agro, Jr.
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Joe AutoDrill wrote:

... Thass good...had too many times where something was tried to get finessed by customer utilities by "suggesting" we (the vendor) make a change that would have the end result of us being the ones who were the ones w/ a compliance violation w/ NRC.
Wouldn't want to see a good guy trying to help somebody out find themselves in a wringer unwittingly.
--
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I just replaced the piston and sleeve on my oiless air compressor last week. The seal is clamped between the head of the cylinder and held in place by a screw. The teflon is just a ring that seals against the sleeve and slides back and forth.
I was under the impression that teflon is carcinogenic if ingested, which is why you should toss pots and pans with flaking teflon on them.
-Nathan
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nhurst wrote:

Don't think so, they use it for surgical purposes. I believe the problem with flaking teflon on pots is that it exposes you to bare aluminum underneath which has been associated (though not definitively) with Alzheimer's. That said, plenty of restaurants cook on bare aluminum.
Chris
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Chris Friesen wrote:

The flaws in the one poor study that claimed any association between AL and Alz have been thoroughly identified and the claimed association disproven by many better controlled studies.
The only issue with teflon that has any shred of truth is toxicity of vapors released from seriously overheated teflon (<500 degrees F) to birds.

Nearly all restaurants cook in basic AL cookware.
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I was under the impression that there was a thin layer of stainless steel over the AL core (to avoid staining, e.g. tomato sauce).
scott
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