Inspecting Your Hydraulic Cylinder

Hydraulic Cylinders are often doing the hard work in the environments where people often can’t. This can cause additional wear and tear on the hydraulic cylinder, it’s mounts, components, and seals. Maintaining hydraulic cylinders to prevent failure, can also increase the longevity of the hydraulic cylinder and improve safety. An inspection and maintenance schedule should be followed to decrease unplanned downtime, and ensure operational functionality.
The number one thing you can do to achieve long life, and optimum performance, is to ensure that the right hydraulic cylinder is being used for the application. Anytime a piece of equipment or machinery is brought down for inspection, maintenance, and repair, it should be evaluated for job effectiveness.

The tips below will help identify potential issues and prevent unscheduled downtime with your hydraulic cylinder:

  1. Ensure an adequate filtration system for the hydraulic fluid. Check for dirt or foreign materials in the fluid with regularly scheduled samples taken and analyzed. Inspect the filter on the hydraulic fluid system for any clogs or debris.
  2. Inspect the hydraulic cylinder rod for signs of weakness, stress, or wear. A rough, bent, or scored rod will damage seals or allow for leaks. A hydraulic cylinder with an improper mounting configuration can bend a rod and possibly bend or break a mount as well.
  3. Inspect sealed area of the system components and fluid lines for evidence of leaks. Examine all lubricated areas and replenish as needed. If there is fluid leaking from around the head of the hydraulic cylinder and the rod does not appear to be scored or damaged, you may have a broken or severely worn seal.
  4. Examine the hydraulic cylinder barrel for signs of ballooning and/or machine interference which can cause serious leaks, damage and even cylinder failure.
  5. Check for side loading, which if not corrected, can lead to misalignment, tube scoring, bearing wear, and damage beyond repair. Side loading is when the cylinder has a sideways force applied to it, that is not linear to the cylinders functioning motion.

A simple inspection can go a long way to keeping your equipment up and running and preventing downtime. Even when you have the right hydraulic cylinder installed, and use the equipment properly, any of these maintenance issues can still occur from unstable loads or a shift in the equipment’s center of gravity. If you find you need a replacement seal kit, component part, or an entire replacement hydraulic cylinder, our hydraulic cylinder specialists are happy to help you demolish downtime and get your equipment back up and running again quickly. Shop online, or call our experts at 888-771-1894 to get the parts you need, today!

Global Shield – Breathing Life Into Aging Cylinders

Global concerns about hazardous “coating difference” material is on the rise.  Manufacturers are searching for an affordable, alternative, corrosion-resistant technology that exceeds the performance of Engineered Hard Chrome (EHC) or Nitride (Ni) while matching or exceeding alternative high performance coatings. Parker Hannifin Corporation’s Global Shield coating is a highly engineered proprietary technology that has the potential to dramatically extend the life of hydraulic cylinders by providing exceptional corrosion resistance in the most challenging environments.

This innovative coating can be applied during original hydraulic cylinder manufacture, or during aftermarket hydraulic cylinder maintenance. Global Shield provides protective performance comparable to far more costly coatings and substrates using a process that is both efficient and environmentally responsible. This innovative coating provides several performance advantages, when compared with conventional coating technologies;

  • Improvements in operational productivity, through significant reductions in downtime related to cylinder and seal repairs and replacements
  • Extended hydraulic seal life through the coating’s lower coefficient of friction.
  • Customizable finishes to a wide range of thicknesses, as appropriate to specific application requirements and for resurfacing of damaged rods.
  • Strippable without grinding for ease of removal and coating during remanufacture.
  • Ability to apply coating to line-of-sight (OD) and non line-of-sight (ID) geometries
  • A smaller carbon footprint, due to a more efficient manufacturing.

Wondering just how good Global Shield technology is? It’s been thoroughly tested in the lab and the field to validate performance in the areas of corrosion and dynamic wear resistance. Hydraulic cylinders protected with Global Shield coating have demonstrated resistance to corrosion up to eight times longer than conventional coatings. It’s a great way to breathe new life into an aging hydraulic cylinder.

Global Shield coating

If you have an application with a high-duty cycle, and zero tolerance for downtime, call one of our Hydraulic Cylinder Experts at 888)771-1894 to put Global Shield Technology to use for your business.

What type of hydraulic cylinder should I use in my application?

When deciding on a hydraulic cylinder for your application, there are several design options to consider. To ensure longevity, dependability, and efficiency, the right type of engineering and manufacturing the right hydraulic cylinder for your needs is paramount.

Standard, Telescopic, and Tie-Rod Cylinders

Standard hydraulic cylinders are common in applications where high nominal strength and mounting space restrictions are not a concern. The extended stroke length of a standard hydraulic cylinder is less than the overall length of the barrel. The main distinguishing feature of a standard hydraulic cylinder is the head and base of the cylinder barrel is welded, screwed, or connected with bolts or nuts. Standard hydraulic cylinders are used in mobile machinery, steel and iron working, civil engineering, presses, cranes, offshore applications and shipbuilding.

Telescopic hydraulic cylinders are used in hydraulic lifting applications, or where large amplitudes of motion are needed but limited space is available. Telescopic hydraulic cylinders are made up of multiple stages, where the piston rod collapses into a larger piston rod, two or more times. This allows the telescopic hydraulic cylinder to extend to at least two times the length of the barrel. Telescopic hydraulic cylinders are used in mobile and industrial hydraulic systems such as dumping, lifting, and applications where space is a consideration.

The main distinguishing feature of the tie-rod cylinder is it’s construction style. The top and bottom of the tie-rod cylinder, as well as the cylinder barrel, are connected together by four or more tie-rods that extend from the head to the base of the tie-rod cylinder to hold it together. Tie-rod cylinders function as standard hydraulic cylinders. Tie-rod hydraulic cylinders are used in industrial machine tools, the automotive industry, plastics machinery, transfer lines and other manufacturing devices.

Single acting or Double acting hydraulic cylinders

There are two functional types of hydraulic cylinders: double acting and single acting. Single acting hydraulic cylinders apply force on the piston in only one direction. This means gravity or a counter weight is required to return the hydraulic cylinder to it’s resting state. Single acting hydraulic cylinders can be standard, telescopic, or tie-rod hydraulic cylinders.

Double acting hydraulic cylinders can apply force in two directions, allowing for precise control of extension as well as retraction of the piston rod. This allows for more mounting options and can be used for more complex control systems such as horizontal pushing and pulling in a compactor, extending a plow, or in complex digging equipment controls. Double acting hydraulic cylinders can be standard, telescopic, or tie-rod hydraulic cylinders.

For hydraulic cylinder solutions that eliminate downtime, Hydraulic Cylinders Inc. goes the distance with product and knowledge. Contact one of our experts at 888-771-1894 to help determine which solution works for you.

Navigating Your Hydraulic Cylinder Components

If you’ve been working with Hydraulics for any length of time, you’re probably familiar with all of the components involved and what their purpose is. However, if you’ve never had the experience of tearing one down, you may be missing out on how complex the engineering in these components has become to ensure precision, reliability, and structural integrity.

A hydraulic cylinder is primarily built inside a barrel. The barrel is the main body of the hydraulic cylinder and holds the pressure of the cylinder inside. The barrel houses the other components that make up the hydraulic cylinder and is fabricated from a seamless steel tube.

The base of the cylinder encloses the barrel at one end. It can be connected to the barrel through welding, threading, bolts or tie rods. The base holds the mounting solution at one end of the cylinder and seals it tight to prevent fluid from escaping and maintain pressure. The base secures the hydraulic cylinder to the equipment that the body of the equipment doing the work.

On the other end of the barrel is the head. The head of the cylinder helps maintain hydraulic pressure by closing off the other end of the barrel and allows the piston to extend and retract while under pressure. The head contains the seals and bearings that both seal the barrel and head, as well as seal the opening and align the piston rod.

Inside the barrel, the piston is the component attached to the rod that bears the force of the hydraulic fluid, allowing it to extend or retract. A piston is often machined with several grooves to allow seals to fit around it and maintain hydraulic pressure inside the barrel. The piston transfers its power to the piston rod and is attached by threads, bolts, or nuts.

The piston rod is typically a hard chrome-plated piece of cold-rolled steel attached to the piston and extends from the cylinder through the head. The piston rod connects the hydraulic cylinder to the machine component doing the work, such as a plow, or a dump body. The mounting attachment will connect directly to the piston rod.

In many build styles, the cylinder head contains a seal gland, that houses seals to prevent the pressurized oil inside the barrel from leaking past the interface between the rod and the head. The advantage of a seal gland is easy removal for seal replacement. The seal gland typically contains a primary seal, a secondary seal / buffer seal, bearing elements, wiper / scraper and static seal. In some cases, especially in small hydraulic cylinders, the rod gland and the bearing elements are made from a single integral machined part.

Hydraulic seals, like the hydraulic cylinder itself, are spec’d based on cylinder working pressure, cylinder speed, operating temperature, and application. Seals used on hydraulic cylinders are dynamic, and must be able to stand up to the wear of the piston rod extending and retracting. In general, seals are made from nitrile rubber, Polyurethane or Teflon, and are best in lower temperature environments, while seals made of Fluorocarbon are better for higher temperatures. Metallic seals are also available and commonly use bronze for the seal material. Wipers are often made from polyurethane and are used to eliminate contaminants such as moisture, dirt, and dust, which can cause extensive damage to cylinder walls, rods, seals and other internal components.

If you find your equipment in need of replacement components and seals, reach out to one of our hydraulic cylinder experts at 888-771-1894 and we’ll help you determine the best route to take to eliminate your downtime.

Repacking your Hydraulic Cylinder

Repacking your hydraulic cylinder doesn’t have to be a mystery. It can become a part of your standard annual preventative maintenance routine. Correct preventative maintenance will ensure you get the most life out of your hydraulic cylinders.

It’s always best to ensure you have the correct parts on hand before you begin the break down of the hydraulic cylinder. Different hydraulic cylinders have different glands and seal kits. You’ll be able to confirm the old parts are the same size, shape and type as the new. If the equipment will be used for raising and lowering heavy objects or weight bearing purposes, brace the supported weight with jacks or blocks to prevent any accidental injury not just to yourself, but the equipment.

  1. Release all pressure from the cylinder.
  2. Loosen and remove the hydraulic lines from the cylinder. This will allow the last bit of pressure to escape the cylinder.
  3. Ensure the hydraulic cylinder is supported and won’t drop, then remove the pin from the rod end of the cylinder.
  4. Remove the gland from the cylinder. This will be different for each cylinder manufacturer. Some are bolted on and some will require a special tool to be inserted into small holes to turn the gland where the rod exits the cylinder. It may require a small tap or bump with a hammer to break it loose, however once loose, it should easily unscrew and pull away onto the piston rod.
  5. Remove the piston rod from the cylinder. Make sure to keep the piston rod from contacting other metal objects or falling into the dirt. We want to prevent contamination and scratches and dings to it’s surface. We also wants ensure the fine threads inside the cylinder do not become damaged by the rod being removed. Damage to these components could be costly.
  6. There are different ways to hold the rod to the piston. A threaded rod can have the piston directly attached, or a nut, or a nut and bolt can hold the piston in place on the rod. When the rod is free from the cylinder housing, remove the piston from the rod. Keep the parts in order and take a photo to use later for reference if needed.
  7. Replace seals and o-rings on the piston and gland one at a time. This will help to minimize confusion and correct placement. Be careful to identify and use the right seal. Some seals are very thin and can be easily damaged if not installed evenly. Ensure each groove is clean and debris free before replacing with the new part.
  8. Reverse the process and reassemble the piston to the rod. Make sure to use a thread locking adhesive when replacing the piston rod bolt. Oil and clean all parts well before reassembly.
  9. Reinsert the gland into the cylinder. Do not use a thread locking substance on the gland threads.
  10. Replace all hydraulic lines and test for leaks around the new seals.This procedure should work for most welded rod cylinder types.

This procedure should work well for most cylinder types. Remember, when handling heavy parts and dealing with hydraulic repairs, be careful to avoid injury to yourself, and the expensive cylinder piston assemblies. Take it slow and be careful and you will have a new leak free hydraulic cylinder in a short amount of time. Check out our Seal Kit Catalog for diagrams and more information on your particular cylinder type. If you still have questions, contact one of the Hydraulic Cylinders Inc. experts at 888-771-1894.

Hydraulic Fluid Contamination: Prevention & Resolution

Did you know that 70 to 80% of all hydraulic system failures are directly related to hydraulic fluid contamination?

Hydraulic fluid contamination can be caused by a variety of issues; all of which can not only contribute to poor performance, and unnecessary wear, but can also cost thousands of dollars in downtime if not addressed promptly. Let’s take a look at the common types of contamination and how to prevent each:

  • Water in the hydraulic fluid is the most common type of contamination encountered. Water can behave in a variety of ways once in the hydraulic fluid; settling on the bottom or floating on the surface. Ultimately, water in hydraulic fluid leads to corrosion of the hydraulic system. Additives can also lead to contamination through the introduction of corrosive elements that might help in the short term, but can break down over time and become suspended in the hydraulic fluid. Always check your systems reservoir for water and bleed the water out when necessary.
  • Contamination can also occur during initial assembly, or maintenance and repair, of a hydraulic system. Debris and contaminants can enter the hydraulic cylinder during normal system maintenance activities when the hydraulic cylinder is disassembled. Ensure when repairing a hydraulic cylinder that it is in a contaminate free environment.
  • Wear can also lead to contamination. An improper seal or worn piston can introduce small contaminants. Particles as small as 2 microns can adversely affect pump life and overall system performance; clean hydraulic fluid is imperative to proper operation of your hydraulic cylinder.

Regular system maintenance and upkeep is the number one way to address contaminants in a system. Examining system components, flushing fluid on a regular basis, and proper maintenance and repair measures will not only extend the life of your hydraulic cylinder, but will reduce contaminants in your system. In addition, regular maintenance activities help identify issues as early as possible before they cost you valuable dollars in downtime.

If you have questions about your hydraulic cylinder, or components for maintaining it’s effective use, we’re happy to help. Hydraulic Cylinders Inc, it’s what we do! Contact us at 888-771-1894.

Extending the Life of Hydraulic Cylinder Hoses

Hydraulic hoses are comprised of layers of material such as rubber and steel, which aid in stability and durability. Hydraulic hoses are vital to any cylinder application and therefore require proper care and maintenance.

Follow these tips to extend the life of hydraulic cylinder hoses:

  1. First and foremost, wear appropriate safety equipment while working around hydraulic cylinders. Heavy duty gloves, hard hat, and eye protection are a must. Hydraulic fluid can cause burns and even inject itself under the skin if handled in an unsafe manner.
  2. Wipe down the hydraulic cylinder and hoses anytime you perform preventative maintenance or routine checks. Clean equipment is easier to troubleshoot and can help expose subtle issues.
  3. Next, visibly inspect the unit for loose fittings. A loose fitting can allow oil to escape and air to enter the system. Often causes of loose fittings are worn or cross threads, incorrect or worn o-ring, or the fitting needs tightening.
  4. Regularly inspect all hose fittings to ensure that all seals are intact and have not been compromised by damage or overuse. Ensure that fittings have not been overtighten which can compromise the seal.
  5. Immediately replace hoses that show visible signs of wear including leaks, gouges, cracks, or if the inner layers of steel wire are exposed. Rubber hoses should be replaced at 5 to 7 year intervals.
  6. When replacing hoses, pay careful attention to the required pressure ratings needed for the cylinder hoses and the application in which they will be used.

Following the tips above along with service records will help you stay on top of your equipment needs while also getting the most from your hydraulic hoses.

Failure of your hydraulic cylinders can wreak havoc on your project timelines and business goals. Contact us to make sure you are using the best hydraulic cylinders for your business needs. Send us an email or call 888.771.1894 for more information.