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Failure Reasons and Maintenance Tips for Hydraulic Cylinders Explained

Hydraulic cylinders are key components in many industrial and commercial applications, from construction equipment to manufacturing machinery. They convert hydrostatic energy into mechanical energy, thus creating linear movement and facilitating actuation systems. Hydraulic cylinders work by using hydraulic fluid to create pressure that moves a piston or plunger within the cylinder. Over time and with continuous use, hydraulic cylinders may experience wear and tear, leading to issues such as leaks, reduced performance, and other problems. Therefore, hydraulic cylinder repair and maintenance are very crucial aspects. Hydraulic cylinders are widely used in industrial systems, material handling equipment, pumping systems, and many other applications where controlled linear movement is required. Hence, it is crucial to be aware of the failure reasons and maintenance tips for these cylinders. This post discusses the same.

5 Reasons That May Lead to Hydraulic Cylinder Failure

Hydraulic cylinder failure can occur due to various reasons. Some of the most common reasons are as follows:

1. Contamination: One of the most common reasons for hydraulic cylinder failure is contamination. Hydraulic cylinders are used in harsh industrial environments that are prone to dirt, dust, water, and other particles. These contaminants can enter the hydraulic system and damage the cylinder components, resulting in failure.

2. Improper Installation: Hydraulic cylinders need to be installed correctly to avoid failure. If the cylinder is not installed properly, it can cause misalignment, binding, or other issues that can lead to failure.

3. Wear and tear: Hydraulic cylinders go through a lot of cycles and can wear out over time. If the cylinder is not properly maintained or if it is used beyond its expected lifespan without any repair, it may stop working properly.

4. Seal failure due to extreme temperatures: The seals on hydraulic cylinders are essential to prevent leaks and maintain pressure. Extremely high or low temperatures can reduce the effectiveness of the seals. If a cylinder is exposed to high temperatures, the seal loses its shape, and if it is used in too cold applications, the seal becomes brittle. Due to the deformation of the seal, the hydraulic fluid can leak out, causing the cylinder to fail.

5. Corrosion: This is one of the most common reasons for hydraulic cylinder failures. Corrosion occurs when the metal surface of the cylinder comes in contact with oxygen and moisture, leading to a chemical reaction that results in rust formation. Corrosion can weaken the cylinder walls, leading to pitting, cracking, and eventual failure.

2. Overpressure: Overpressure occurs when the hydraulic system is subjected to pressures beyond its design limits, leading to the failure of the system components, including the hydraulic cylinder.

Maintenance Tips for Hydraulic Cylinders

Proper maintenance of hydraulic cylinders is important to ensure their longevity and reliable operation. Here are some important maintenance tips for hydraulic cylinders:

  • Regular inspections: Regularly inspect your hydraulic cylinders for any signs of damage or wear, such as leaking seals or bent rods. This helps in catching issues early and helps prevent serious issues that may lead to downtimes.
  • Regular Cleaning: Keep the cylinder and surrounding area clean to prevent dirt and debris from getting inside the cylinder. Use a soft-bristled brush or compressed air to clean the cylinder.
  • Proper Lubrication: It is crucial to lubricate the cylinder regularly to prevent excessive wear and tear on moving parts. Use the manufacturer-recommended lubricant and follow the recommended maintenance schedule.
  • Monitor operating conditions: Keep an eye on the operating conditions of the cylinder, such as temperature and pressure, and make sure they’re within the recommended limits.
  • Check fluid levels: Check the fluid level in the hydraulic system regularly and top it up if necessary. Low fluid levels can cause the cylinder to overheat and lead to premature failure.
  • Secured storage: If the cylinder is not in use for an extended period of time, store it in a dry and protected area to prevent corrosion.

The above information may help you gain a brief overview of failure reasons and maintenance tips for industrial hydraulic cylinders. However, after a certain period of time, these cylinders may require repair and replacement of damaged parts. Now, it is highly crucial to partner with an authorized and trusted hydraulic cylinder repair center that can provide you with a reliable repair service with the required part replacement. Motor and Gear Engineering is a leading company for hydraulic and pneumatic repairs. They have a highly experienced team of engineers and offer professional services you can rely on. They serve various industries, including construction, mining, food, municipalities, and so on. Get in touch with the team at Motor & Gear Engineering today to know more.