Tapping with a Pneumatic vs. Hydraulic Arm: Choosing the Right Solution

[Scroll down for the Tap Off video]

You already know that any FlexArm can save your shop a bunch of time. That a FlexArm makes tapping tiny holes in tough materials like titanium look simple. That a 1 1/2” NPT tap through 2” stainless steel is no problem. That using a FlexArm takes a bunch of stress and strain off of your workers, especially those that you currently have tapping by hand--not to mention it provides consistent tapping, perpendicularity, and, most importantly, eliminates broken taps forever.

Now for the real question, though: what FlexArm solution is right for you and your shop? When it comes to tapping arms, you have a decision to make: hydraulic or pneumatic. So let’s go over the two options and see which is right for your situation.

Pneumatic vs. Hydraulic Tapping Arms

Tapping Capacity: Pneumatic FlexArm units have a tapping capacity of up to 7/8 inches in steel while hydraulic FlexArms can go all the way up to 2” with an output of 811 ft-lbs of torque. As we always say, Size Matters, and if you’re tapping larger holes, hydraulic is the way to go.

Arm Size: If you’re working with extremely small parts, or have a small area that requires precise maneuverability and positioning, a pneumatic solution will be your better option.

Speed Control: When you’re powering something with air, the possibility of potentially losing air pressure is possible. With a hydraulic FlexArm and it’s speed control inverter, you’re guaranteed consistent speed control and power.

Torque: This one’s a no-brainer. The maximum torque on the FlexArm pneumatic units is 63 ft/lb, while the maximum torque on our hydraulic units goes up to 811 ft-lbs.

Now let’s compare the two side by side. In the video below we have Stephen on our GH-24 hydraulic tapping arm, and on the right our A-32 pneumatic tapping arm with Tyler at the helm. Both had 30 seconds to tap as many holes as possible.

As you can see, the hydraulic unit outperformed in the 30-second tap-off, but it was still a close fight put up by our A-32, which just goes to show you that you can’t really go wrong with any FlexArm tapping solution. Selecting the “correct” arm will come down to what your application is and what kind of requirements your shop has. As always, our sales guys will be more than happy to get you set up with the perfect solution.

Stop breaking taps today--this doesn’t have to keep happening. Yeah, in the overall grand scheme of things, replacing taps is relatively cheap. But do you know what isn’t cheap? Machine downtime. Scrapping parts. Re-working parts. All of these costs continue to add up.

Still on the fence? Why not try out a FlexArm for 30 days, completely free of charge? That’s how confident we are that one of our tapping solutions will be the perfect fit for you and your shop.

Jan 15th 2019 Jordan McAbee

Recent Posts