Maximizing Hydraulic Cylinder Life

Choosing the right cylinders and fluids can help prevent parts failure

Maximizing Hydraulic Cylinder LifeIf you are having to repair or replace your hydraulic cylinders often, something is wrong. Most hydraulic cylinder issues are actually caused by system design flaws rather than normal wear and tear. Therefore, in most cases the best thing you can do to maximize your hydraulic cylinder life is to ensure you are purchasing a high-quality cylinder that is compatible with your system requirements. Here are 4 important factors to consider when replacing a damaged cylinder.

Rod Load

Bent cylinder rods are a common compliant. This problem is typically caused by the actual system load exceeding the rod’s permissible load. Once this happens, the rod will become bent to the point where the cylinder actually fails. In order to prevent this problem from occurring, you need to do two things. First of all, make sure you have an accurate understanding of your system load, as the actual load can differ from the expected load. Secondly, purchase a cylinder with sufficient rod thickness and material strength to withstand this load.

Pressure Load

Cylinders that are exposed to excessive pressure can suffer from ballooned tubes. Once this happens, the seal between the piston and the tube wall will be compromised, allowing fluid to escape and resulting in a loss of system pressure. In order to prevent this, make sure you are choosing a cylinder with sufficient wall thickness and material strength for the actual operating pressure of your system.

Rod Finish

You may be able to extend the life of your cylinder and its seals by adjusting the rod finish. You need to strike a balance between finishes that are too smooth, resulting in inadequate lubrication, and finishes that are too rough, resulting in increased contaminant ingression. Try to purchase a cylinder that already has an appropriate rod finish, or else consider an alternative rod surface treatment.

Fluid Integrity

Dirty hydraulic fluid is one of the few non-design-related factors that can cause a hydraulic cylinder to fail. When particulates get into your fluid, or when cavitation occurs, the resulting pitting and scoring of your hydraulic cylinder can cause significant problems. Be sure to have your fluids flushed regularly, and always use high-quality fluids that meet or exceed your system requirements.

Need New Cylinders?

At Bernell Hydraulics, we carry a nice selection of quality hydraulic cylinders from name brands like Parker and Lion. We can help you find the right cylinder for your system and even install your hydraulic cylinder for you on site.

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