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Top 7 Reasons of Hydraulic Cylinder Failures Discussed

Hydraulic cylinders are basically mechanical actuators that provide unidirectional force through a stroke. These cylinders are used in various industrial applications such as manufacturing equipment, engineering vehicles, or civil engineering equipment. The hydraulic cylinders may incur problems in a long run due to a variety of reasons. This post discusses 7 such reasons for failure of these mechanical devices.

7 Causes of Hydraulic Cylinder Failure

Regular equipment inspection, and good preventive maintenance plan will help decrease the chances of cylindrical failure due to the following 7 reasons:

  • Seal Leakage: This is one of the most common reasons for cylinder failure. Seal leakage can be caused due to a variety of reasons such as incorrect fitting, inappropriate metalwork clearances, etc. However, marking on the seal grooves, or corrosion are another reasons that may affect the seal.
  • Contaminated Fluid: Fluid contamination is another major reason for the cylindrical seal failure. Abrasive particles that are trapped in a contaminated fluid can bring severe damage to the piston rod or seal surface. Airborne contamination is usually induced by a faulty wiper seal.
  • Damaged Rod Bearings or Piston Rods: Damaged rod bearings or piston rods are another common reason for hydraulic cylinder failure. This is caused due to improper alignment between load and the cylinder, thereby resulting in a bending, or side loading.
  • Internally Corroded Barrel: This type of failure is caused by contaminated fluid inside a cylinder. This can be avoided by blocking the water ingress inside the cylinder. However, it may be a sign that cylinder is being used in an environment, where it should not be used.
  • Broken Eye Bearing: This is caused when the cylinder handles load above its specification. Also, it can be brought by a shock loading or a sudden impact caused due to high pressure.
  • Extreme Temperatures: This factor may affect the choice of hydraulic cylinders in two ways:
    • The temperature may limit the choice of seal geometries or materials. For example: polyurethane seals should be restricted to the maximum of 50oC.
    • Fluids used in such cylinders may have less lubricity. The seals that are exposed to high temperatures or too low temperatures may have cracked sides, or may appear brittle.
  • Chemical Attack: Many times, the hydraulic cylinder failure is brought by chemicals that may come in contact with the cylinder seal. It is commonly seen that fluid manufacturers fail to mention the compatibility of seal materials with chemicals. However, they always mention it as compatible. This can be avoided if a buyer enquires about chemical attack probabilities with the manufacturer before the purchase.

There are various other reasons for a cylindrical seal failure ranging from high pressure conditions to side loading and more. However, if you notice any symptoms of hydraulic cylinder failure, you can immediately contact a reputed preventive maintenance service such as Motor and Gear Engineer. The company is well-known for its certified preventive maintenance and repair services of hydraulic cylinders and branded gear boxes.