A Commitment to Excellence: Hockey and Hydraulic Cylinders

On the surface, it may seem that hockey and hydraulic cylinders don’t have much in common. One thing we share with the Charlotte Checkers is a commitment to excellence in all we do.  The Charlotte Checkers, an American Hockey League (AHL) team, give 100% in every game, and we give 100% to every customer at Hydraulic Cylinders Inc.

Says Julie Turner, Sales Manager for Hydraulic Cylinders Inc., “The support the Checkers give the Charlotte community is outstanding, and we are excited about our partnership for the 2017-2018 season.”

It’s actually somewhat accidental that the Checkers ended up in Charlotte. In 1956 the Eastern Hockey League’s Baltimore Clippers lost their hockey rink to a fire in the middle of the season. Charlotte became the team’s temporary home. The response to hockey in Charlotte was overwhelming. The city embraced the team, and the sport. It wasn’t long before the Baltimore Clippers became the Charlotte Clippers.

It was somewhat unprecedented for a professional hockey team to play that far South. Until then, the furthest south a team had formed was in Louisville, Kentucky. Renamed the Charlotte Checkers, they played in Charlotte until 1977, when their hockey league folded. After a fifteen year absence, they returned to Charlotte in 1993 until the 2009-2010 season. The current Checkers team is the third hockey team in Charlotte to play by this name. Their first home game in October 2010, set an attendance record for a hockey game in Charlotte. That attendance record has been broken three times since, proving Charlotte’s dedication to their beloved hockey team.

Mary Grams, Vice President of Partnerships of the Charlotte Checkers commented, “We could not be happier having Hydraulic Cylinders Inc. on board this season. We take great pride in the companies that we partner with. We look forward to working with Hydraulic Cylinders Inc. for years to come as they continue to prosper in the Charlotte region.”

It’s been amazing for Hydraulic Cylinders Inc, to be a part of the Charlotte Checkers 2017-2018 season! We look forward to a continued partnership for many years to come! If you’re looking to demolish downtime, with 100% commitment to excellence, give our hydraulic cylinder experts a call at 888-771-1894.

Mobile Equipment Serving Many Purposes

At Hydraulic Cylinders Inc. we work diligently to ensure the hydraulic cylinders we develop are appropriate for the intended application. In no other industry is that more evident than in the mobile construction equipment industry. From skid steer loaders, to mini excavators, you will find hydraulic cylinders doing the work in these mobile equipment vehicles, in a variety of applications, around the world.

Skid steer loaders are the Swiss Army knife of this type of machinery, serving in a wide variety of applications. These small wheeled or tracked vehicles work in snow removal, landscaping, construction, demolition, scrap and waste industries to name a few. Skid steers utilize hydraulic power to operate many different types attachments. This allows them to dig, push, pull, lift, cut, and haul, to assist in the industries they serve. Skid steers tend to be compact, easily maneuverable, and able to transport loads from 500 to up to 4,000 pounds. Often, skid steers will have two hydraulic cylinders that raise arms to lift the bucket or loader, and an additional set to tilt the bucket or loader. Depending on the attachment used, there could be another set of hydraulic cylinders to perform additional functions, such as to change the angle of the blade or bucket on the equipment.

Compact, or mini excavators are tracked or wheeled vehicles, similar to a traditional excavator, but smaller. These compact machines can get in and do the job where their larger counterparts can’t in many different industries. Construction and landscaping are their most common industries. Mini excavators derive all their working power directly from hydraulic cylinders. Double acting hydraulic cylinders give the ability to lift the blade, extend it outward, rotate the boom arm, and change the blade’s angle. Some mini excavators also have hydraulic cylinders that operate an independent boom swing. Excavators are most often used for grading, leveling, backfilling, and trenching.

Many hydraulic powered attachments have made skid steers and mini excavators much more powerful and versatile than in years past. A tilt rotator, breaker, or an auger are all powered by hydraulic cylinders and make an excavator much more versatile in the field. Rather than purchase another large piece of equipment to do the job, the attachments can be quickly and easily swapped out. Allowing one piece of equipment to perform the functionality of several. There are over 75 different types of attachments available for these small and versatile pieces of mobile equipment.

If you have questions on mobile equipment, and the hydraulic cylinders that power them, our Hydraulic Cylinder Experts are eager to help transform the way you work by demolishing your downtime. We’ve made it easy to get what you want with advanced web site filtering and 24/7 online ordering. Don’t see what you need online? Give us a call at 888-771-1894.

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!

Drilling: Tough Business

Drilling into the Earth surface is a tough business. It requires a large amount of power to drill and extract valuable resources. Sturdy equipment used in drilling needs to withstand the elements and deliver consistent results. The success of a drill site relies on strong hydraulic cylinders that can deliver both power and performance while withstanding the elements.

Once a location is identified to drill, a wellbore is drilled. This is the actual hole that supports the well that oil, gas, and water will be extracted from. The goal is to find and extract the resources that so many of us rely on for daily life. Drilling takes place in a variety of environments, from the arctic, to offshore, to the hottest, dirtiest places on the Earth’s surface.

Strong hydraulic cylinders are needed to for drilling must also be corrosion-resistant, They can spend their life in a variety of environments and conditions. Hydraulic cylinders used in offshore drilling spend most of their life near and even deep in mineral filled saltwater that is very corrosive. Hydraulic cylinders used in land based drilling might be used in the cold artic, or in the driest of deserts and everything in between. Hydraulic cylinders used in drilling power and the strength to lift heavy loads at these often remote and extreme locations.

A tough industry like oil drilling requires a tough product and we know downtime is money lost. At Hydraulic Cylinders, Inc., our hydraulic cylinder specialists can help you identify the specific hydraulic cylinder needed for the function it will perform from our vast in stock warehouse. That means the hydraulic cylinders we sell for drilling, or for any other industry or application, will need to be powerful, durable, efficient, and able to withstand the elements. You can rest easy we’ll get you’re the right cylinder and demolish your downtime.

If you are interested in learning more about how Hydraulic Cylinders, Inc. can work for you? Contact our hydraulic cylinder experts at at (888)771-1894 and we’ll be sure to put our team to work for you!

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.

Using Hydraulics to Explore the Depths of the Sea

The Monterrey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) is the world center for advanced research and education in ocean science and technology. Utilizing a combination of instruments, systems, and methods, engineers and scientists research the deep waters of the ocean. Since the first historic submersible dive in 1985, MBARI has lead the way for underwater study of marine life and marine hydraulic cylinders play a crucial role.

MBARI is based in Moss Landing, California, the heart of the nation’s largest marine sanctuary. Ocean physics, chemistry, geology, biology, and social science, as well as information management and ocean instrumentation research and development are all studied extensively. MBARI places an emphasis on science and engineering with support from underwater vehicles, ships, stationary buoys, and an undersea observatory.

Marine hydraulic cylinders play a large role in the operation and maintenance of the diverse undersea equipment used by MBARI researchers. The three ships utilized by the MBARI contain extensive hydraulic systems. While there are standard systems used to control all three ships, two of the ships have extensive systems on board to launch and recover submersible craft, and maintain large buoys that are stationary in the water. The lifting hoists function similar to a standard crane, but must act fast and be nimble at the same time being rugged enough for the marine environment.

The two remote operated vehicles used by the MBARI aren’t small, or light, weighing between 7,000 and 11,000 pounds and 10’ by 7’ in size, lifting these remote-controlled craft from the ocean waters puts incredible strain on the lifting equipment. Precision and durability are also needed not just for the wet salty environment, but to capture the vehicles while the ship, and the submersibles are moving in the ocean swells. Both remote vehicles contain their own self-contained hydraulic system as well, to control swing arms, camera mounts, and control surfaces.

The MBARI ships also maintain unmanned craft that roam the ocean, recording images of undersea life, mapping the ocean floor in detail and taking samples to bring back to the lab for analysis. When this technology is coupled with their stationary buoys, and undersea observatory, a full picture of the oceans around us and how it’s evolved and changing can emerge. All of this heavy, reinforced equipment is maintained using the same precision controlled hydraulics that is needed for the lifting the submersible craft.

Hydraulic Cylinders Inc is proud to be a supplier for the Monterrey Bay Aquarium Institute, helping to research and understand the oceans around us. If you have a precision hydraulic cylinder need, offshore, or on land, contact the hydraulic cylinder experts at Hydraulic Cylinders Inc at (888)771-1894.

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.

Paige Polyak: Evolution in racing

Paige Polyak knows something about Sprint Car racing. Paige has been behind the wheel since 2001, and started driving with Mike Woodring Racing in 2014. A year later, they partnered with Hydraulic Cylinders Inc. on a sponsorship that has been a win for the team, sponsor, and fans alike.

Mike’s racing began in 1976, racing Snowmobiles in New York. His career migrated to ATV’s and he found himself on Team Yamaha where he earned Yamaha’s first national points title. In 1990 however, Mike moved into the world Sprint Cars. Mike not only raced, racked up win after win, and claimed several titles, he’s worked as a crew chief, and helped other drivers develop along the way. Paige Polyak is one of those drivers.

Paige Polyak, from Tiffin OH, has only been with Mike Woodring Racing since 2014, but that doesn’t mean she lacks experience behind the wheel. Having started in Go-Karts in 2001 at the age of seven, Paige had 35 wins and three track championships before switching to sprint cars in 2004. After fire destroyed her car and equipment in 2013, Mike and Paige saw an opportunity to work together to continue racing, and Paige moved into the larger 410 Sprint Cars. “410” in Sprint Cars, refers to the size of the engine, (V8 engine, 410 cubic inches). These lightweight cars can put out more horsepower than a Formula One race car.

“We like to hit the hardest races at the highest levels”, says Mike, “Paige is getting more experience faster, she’s a contender on the track!” It’s true, Paige’s success is in her results and she’s been making steady progress against the best in the world. “We’ve gone from hoping to make the field to competing in the top ten”, says Mike. It’s no wonder Paige has a large fan following with autograph lines extending until the end of the night.

Financial support is the biggest challenge for these teams. A 50 race schedule from May thru September, and the World of Outlaws in November, racing is easily a full time job, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. It’s been a great opportunity for Hydraulic Cylinders Inc. to partner with Mike Woodring racing and driver Paige Polyak. Mike sums up the Hydraulic Cylinders Inc. philosophy best, “It’s been a huge help from great people, they understand what it takes to evolve, we couldn’t do it without them.”

If your fluid power business needs help evolving and finding the right solution, give our sales experts a call at 888.771.1894.

Five Different Hydraulic Cylinder Types for Applications

A variety of hydraulic cylinder designs are available through Hydraulic Cylinders, Inc.

Cylinder Construction Types
Differences in design and manufacturing of cylinders depends primarily what the industry and application is. Each type uses a different methodology on how the end caps are attached to the cylinder barrel as well as internal nuances. Barrel and end cap wall thickness also varies depending on materials used, cylinder construction and operating pressures. The three most popular types of construction are tie-rod, welded rod and telescopic. All these types can be either single or double acting.

A tie-rod hydraulic cylinder uses threaded steel rods to hold two end caps to the ends of the cylinder barrel. Applications can use anywhere from 4 to 20 tie rods depending on the bore diameter and operating pressure. A strong advantage of the tie-rod design is that it can be easily disassembled and examined for repair. Tie-rod cylinders are utilized in a large majority of industrial and heavy duty manufacturing applications.

Welded Rod
In a welded rod hydraulic cylinder, the barrel is welded directly to the end caps. The head cap can use a variety of retention methods such as threading or bolting. This design is generally well received for mobile equipment due to the compact construction, internal bearing lengths and duty cycle compared to tie-rod construction. However, the design does make inspection and repairs more difficult in the field due to requiring less conventional tools and equipment.

These cylinders typically used when a stroke length is required which is considerably longer than the retracted length. They are designed with a series of steel tubes, called stages, each progressively smaller in diameter and nested within each other.

Double-acting cylinders use hydraulic or pneumatic pressure to both extend and retract the rod or sleeve. Double acting cylinders are more common than single acting cylinders. .

Single-acting cylinders use hydraulic or pneumatic pressure to either extend or retract a single piston rod or sleeve from a cylinder. Generally, gravity or another external force returns the piston rod or sleeve to its no-pressurized state.

Would you like to learn more about selecting the right cylinder for a specific job? Contact us today. Give us a call at 888.693.8681.

Tips for Shipping Hydraulic Cylinders Safely

At Hydraulic Cylinders, Inc., we are dedicated to delivering the exact cylinder you need to get the job done. However, those cylinders won’t mean much to you if they don’t arrive safely. Proper shipping practices must be followed to guarantee safe delivery of these important parts.

Here are a few things we pay attention to when shipping hydraulic cylinders:

Strong, durable skids & containers

Strong pallets, skids and containers are where it all starts when safely shipping hydraulic cylinders. Care is taken to band the cylinder(s) properly. Once banded the package is shrink wrapped for redundant stability and to keep the cylinders dry and clean.

Evenly distributed weight

Shipping packages get bumped, jostled, and sometimes even dropped during shipment. Evenly distributed weight helps protect your cylinder from excessive movement. It also helps keep the shipment from becoming damaged from handling or simply just bouncing in a truck.

Properly labeled packaging

It would be a shame to put all this effort into proper packing, only to have your cylinder held up by improper labeling. Labeling requirements differ based on the item being shipped and its destination. Paying attention to this small detail prevents big headaches later on.

We take the necessary steps to make sure that you not only get the right cylinders, but that you get them in the condition and time frame you require. Our Technical Sales personnel also have the knowledge and capability to fulfill Municipal and Export bid requirements for hydraulic cylinders.

Interested in learning more about how we can meet your hydraulic cylinder needs? Contact us today.

Dump Truck Rollover Causes and Prevention

Dump trucks are used in a variety of industries and for many purposes. Dump trucks carry loose material such as soil, rock, or road salt. Some dump trucks are capable of carrying payloads up to 26 tons. With a capacity for high payloads, rollovers are a major consideration for dump trucks. Drivers should always obey local speed limits and traffic laws to minimize a rollover or accident. In addition, drivers should always follow safe driving procedures and observe all safety guidelines.

Dump truck are most susceptible to rollover when a fully loaded box is raised. Box stability can be adversely affected by a number of issues including:

  • Uneven surface or truck footing.
  • Inconsistent flow of the materials from the box, leaving a large amount of material in the upper portion of the raised box.
  • Load shift occurs during dumping causing the rear wheels to shift unevenly.

Dump truck rollover risk can be minimized by through good dumping practices.

Dumping Best Practices:

  • Before dumping a load, perform a visual inspection all the way around the dump truck. Ensure there is plenty of space next to the truck; do not park directly next other vehicles.
  • Verify the truck is parked on a level surface and that all wheels have solid footing.
  • Check to make sure the tailgate is unlocked and inspect for sufficient clearance before lifting the box.
  • Notify workers in the area to stand clear prior to dumping the box.
  • If you start to experience poor flow, lighten the load in the top end of the box. Smaller loads tend to flow better than a full load and also reduces the rollover risk.
  • Consider using a box liner which can improve material flow as well as maintain the condition of the box over a longer period of time.

At Hydraulic Cylinders Inc, we have the product & knowledge to serve you. Contact us to discuss your hydraulic cylinder needs. Call us at 888-771-1894.


Top 4 Causes of Hydraulic Cylinder Failure

Listed below are the top 4 causes of cylinder failure. A proper equipment inspection, regular training, and a preventative maintenance plan can all decrease the chances of these common cylinder failures.

  1. Side loading – Side loading is the most common cause of wear and cylinder failure. A common result of side loading is cylinder misalignment, which creates an unusual force on the piston rod. A side load of enough magnitude can result in tube scoring, piston rod and rod bearing wear, and even seal failure.
  1. Contaminated Fluid – Contaminated fluid can cause premature rod seal failure. Abrasive particles in the fluid can damage the seal and the piston rod surface, airborne contamination can be drawn into a cylinder by a faulty wiper seal. Contamination occurs in numerous ways, the most common is drawn in from oil or from the pump.
  1. Ensure proper Fluid Conditioning – Check for and remove any dirt or foreign materials in the hydraulic fluid. Be careful not to introduce aerated fluid which can cause sound level issues. Verify the filtration system is operating properly. Finally, inspect filter elements for clogs and replace as necessary.
  1. Rough or scored rod – It is crucial to ensure the cylinder rod is in good condition. Rough places on the rod damage the seals and reduce their normal life resulting in the necessity for frequent replacement. Be sure to inspect the rod finish as well. Worn seals are caused by too smooth of a finish, while leakage past the seal is caused by too rough of a finish.

Have questions about replacing your hydraulic cylinders? Contact us today to discuss all your hydraulic cylinder needs. Give us a call at 888.771.1894.


Preventive Maintenance for Your Hydraulic Cylinders

In order to protect your hydraulic cylinders for a long life it is important to incorporate preventative maintenance in your regular protocol.  Following a strict maintenance calendar not only insures safety for operators but also prevents premature hydraulic cylinder failure.


Since most hydraulic cylinder failures are a direct result of contamination, it is critical to maintain the cleanliness of the hydraulic fluid.  One of the first lines of defense is to control contamination by making it harder for particles to enter the system and removing any particles in the fluid.

Contamination can come in many forms, including hard particles, soft particles, and water.  Sometimes these particles are internally generated by the components in the system, but more often they come in from the outside.  The components have seals designed to keep these particles out, such as the wiper seal on a hydraulic cylinder.  These seals should be visually inspected on a regular basis.  Air breathers on reservoirs prevent ingression of air borne particles into the fluid.  These breathers should be inspected and replaced on a regular basis, with the frequency depending on the air quality around the machine.

Hydraulic filters are designed to remove particles that are generated by the system or ingress during operation.  The filters should be equipped with a gauge or switch to indicate when the filter is clogged and element replacement is required.  If the gauge is not visible to the operator during machine operation, consider adding a switch that will trigger a light or alarm.  Also, consider upgrading to a filter that can capture smaller particles.  Because of recent improvements in filter element technology, the downsides of added cost and increased pressure drop are generally outweighed by the increased performance.

The next step is checking the fluid cleanliness on a regular basis to ensure the preventive maintenance is effective.  The two most common methods are bottle samples and portable particle counter.  A bottle sample can be sent to a local laboratory for analysis.  This analysis can include particle count, water content, and parts per million of specific wear metals and contaminates.  A portable particle counter generally only provides a particle count, but provides immediate results.  In general, most hydraulic cylinders are designed to provide long life at an ISO cleanliness level of 17/15/13.

Insufficient Oil Levels

Checking for insufficient oil should also be routine when attempting to maintain hydraulic cylinders. Low fluid can lead to slow functioning cylinders and poorly performing systems. Fluid can escape through an internal or external leakage. Internally, performance and condition of the pumps, valves, and actuators should always be monitored. Externally, a burst hose is usually the culprit and is luckily easy to find.

In addition to oil levels potentially being low, it is recommended to change out the oil after 50 hours of use. These removes any contaminates that have acquired during use and also insures regular health of your hydraulic cylinder system.

Oil Temperature

Another potential result of insufficient oil is high oil temperatures.  It is recommended to check the temperature of the hydraulic fluid regularly during operation. If the fluid is too hot or smelling like it’s burning, the cooling system may not be working properly or the system may be malfunctioning.  For example, the cooler vents may be clogged, a relief valve may be set too low, or a pump may have high leakage out the case drain.  Investigate to find the cause of overheating before continuing to operate the machine.

Review the data sheet for the fluid to find the maximum operating temperature.  If the fluid remains hot for too long it can break down and lose its ability to lubricate properly.  Hot fluid can also damage the seals on the components.  Consult with the manufacturer of the machine or with the component suppliers to determine the maximum operating temperature for the seals.

By following good preventative maintenance procedures to keep the machine full of clean fluid at the proper temperature, your hydraulic cylinders will provide years of reliable service and the rest of your hydraulic system will thank you as well!