Proper lubrication of the Prospector Hammer System is the most important yet least expensive maintenance item on the hammer and drill rig. Testing hammers without lubrication has proven that in less than one minute of drilling, temperatures of the piston surface can exceed 1,400º F (752ºC) and temperatures on the bit splines can reach close to these same level. These excessive temperatures generate heat cracks, known also as fine cracks, on the surface finish of the piston and bit splines that can spread and cause piston and or bit breaking.
This also occurs as a result of high temperatures which greatly reduces the tensile strength of the material allowing fractures to initiate.
Corrosion stress is a common cause of drilling tool failures. Air, water, and most of the drilling fluids and polymers are all contributors to this. To avoid corrosion, rinse the hammer thoroughly upon completion of the bore. The most detrimental type of corrosion encountered in a hammer is oxidation cavitationfinite notches in the material surfaces. This happens when the hammer is in storage and has not been well-lubricated. After drilling with polymer/foam mix, rinse the entire hammer inside and out with fresh, clean water. Prolonged exposure to the atmosphere creates a corrosive reaction between the steel and polymer/foam mix.
Contamination from foreign material entering the hammer is another common cause of hammer and bit failure. Foreign material enters the hammer from water that is not filtered, dirty drill rods, dirty water tanks, and contaminated air filters on compressors. Water from any source needs to be filtered. Naturally-occurring micron particles are present in all streams of water and originate from rocks and sediment through natural decomposition and also industrial, agricultural, and domestic activities. These microns can have a sand blasting effect on the internal parts of the hammer, known as high velocity erosion. If water from a stream is used in a hammer, it needs to be filtered as finely as possible. If possible, use water from a public source, like a hydrant, and filter as finely as possible. Water tanks also need to be inspected and rinsed out frequently. If the air filters on the compressor are dirty, replace them immediately.
The hammer relies on a supply of clean, lubricated air to operate reliably. The hammer's piston has a close tolerance fit with the case bore and cycles around 2,500 blows per minute. Failure to ensure that a clean, lubricated air supply is being provided may result in overheating, material pick-up, seizure, or failure. Hose ends should be covered when not in use, and the hose from our Support Pack should be used only for its intended purpose.
Drill rods can become contaminated when used with drilling fluids, even in a short period of time. These can usually be blown out prior to completing make up; remember to cover the end of the other drill rod that is in the vise prior to blowing them out. Drill rods that have been sitting for an extended period of time may need to be brushed out using a steel wire brush and rubbing it back and forth through the drill rod.