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Some Typical Hydraulic Cylinder Problems and Their Possible Remedies

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Hydraulic cylinders are designed to move loads by using linear force and motion. These cylinders are able capable of handling heavy loads in highly demanding working conditions, and they often last for several years. Like with any other hydraulic systems, cylinders that are not used properly face premature failure. As there are so many potential reasons for hydraulic cylinder failure, the following troubleshooting guide can be used to analyse the likely causes of various problems and establish remedial steps.

Seal failure

Hydraulic cylinders have seals, which are used to prevent leakage of fluid from the openings between various components in the cylinder. If your hydraulic cylinder is leaking fluid, it means that your seals are either faulty or not fitted properly. It could also be because some air is entrained in the hydraulic fluid, thus leading to a buildup of hydraulic pressure within the cylinder. To remedy this problem, you should inspect your hydraulic cylinder seals for potential damage or incompatibility with the various cylinder components they are used to seal. If your seals are in good shape and they are compatible with conditions, you should check the hydraulic fluid. If you can see bubbles forming within the fluid, then it means that air is trapped inside it. You can release the entrained air using a process referred to as gaseous cavitation. 

Scored piston rod

When insoluble air dissolves in hydraulic fluid, this air becomes pressurised and will eventually move where the seal groove is located. This entrained air will only be freed when the pressure plummets, which results in the emission of a great amount of energy generated due to expansion of the air. The high temperature combined with high pressure within the hydraulic cylinder can ignite oil fumes within the air bubble and consequently lead to scoring of the piston rod. This increases its surface roughness of the rod.

Scored piston rods can typically be repaired by re-chroming the chrome surface, but users of hydraulic cylinders should first establish the real cause of the problem. Otherwise, the problem will soon crop up again. Proper filtration ensures that hydraulic fluid is kept clean and helps prevent problems that arise as a result of internal contamination. If the piston rod gets corroded, they will need to be replaced.

Hydraulic cylinders are heavy-duty mechanical equipment that require proper maintenance attention to keep working safely and reliably for a long time. Acting post-haste can help remedy problems before they can turn into bigger, costlier issues.