Hydraulic systems are a fundamental part of our industrial development sectors and the hydraulic cylinder is at the heart of any hydraulic system.
As an operator it is important to know how to best maintain and care for your hydraulic cylinders because of how vital this piece of equipment is.
Keep The Fluid Clean
Contaminated oil or fluid is the most common cause of hydraulic failure. Routinely check and replace filters as required. Only introduce fresh or well-conditioned fluid into the system. Well-conditioned fluid contains no contaminants or air.
Cure is expensive, prevention is easy. Ensure regular rotation, preventative maintenance and part replacement. This will save time, money and ensure that your operation runs smoothly.
To protect against leakage, regularly inspect internals and replace seals. This is a small expense now that can prevent future disasters.
During inspection lubricate the bearings and bushes. Look out for clues as to the state of the rest of the hydraulic system.
Look out for uneven wear, pitting and corrosion. Corrosion is caused by moisture in the air or in the fluid itself. A corroded rod will cause friction and damage seals and wipers.
Your industrial hydraulic system should not be running over 82°C. Higher running temperatures will damage most seal compounds and degrade the oil. High temperatures can cause a sludge or varnish build up in the system.
Misalignment of the installation can cause a side load on the rod which leads to uneven wear, damaging seals and bearings.
A corroded or damaged rod can usually be remedied and re-chromed. When this isn’t the case, a replacement or remanufacture of the part is necessary. While your parts are being fixed or sourced, make sure that the cause of the original problem is investigated and solved, otherwise you will have to go through the same procedure again, creating downtime and losses.
Other problems with the rod can be due to the wrong rod diameter or incorrect rod strength. A bent rod causes a load shift, which again leads to wear and tear, and likely failure. Other causes of a bent rod could be a seal failure or overloading of the machine’s capacity.
Regularly inspect rods and cylinders to ensure that they are straight and functioning properly.
Cycle Your Parts
Depending on your operation, downtime may not be an option. Ideally you should own more cylinders than you are using and they should be used in a rotation cycle. When the parts aren’t in use, they can be sent in for inspection.
When a cylinder comes in from a job, it is disassembled, inspected and repaired as required.
Check all brackets, ball joints, clevises, rod eyes and other connections. Worn clevises or pivot pins can cause play in the joints which leads to misalignment, which leads to damage.
Check for leaks and contamination, examine O-rings, valves and seals. Ensure that you replenish lubricants.
Seals may seem like minor components in the hydraulic unit, but a seal which isn’t lubricated or fitted properly can cause irreparable damage to the cylinder over time. Inspect and replace seals generously to avoid excessive wear. This will extend the lifetime of the machinery and maximize efficiency and performance.
Your hydraulic units and systems are vital parts of your industrial setup. A small investment in ongoing inspections and maintenance will ensure long and healthy lifetimes for your equipment and machinery. Of course, we could miss things along the way and breakdowns are inevitable.
Kappa Engineering will repair or remanufacture any hydraulic cylinder. We keep service exchange units in stock as the market allows, and it is always worth it to enquire from us if you need any OEM cylinder. Our remanufacture department will strip the cylinder, assess the damage and report back to you with a quote.