The service life of hydraulic cylinders can be affected by several factors connected to the design of the hydraulic system. It is very important that owners of heavy construction machinery recognize hydraulic cylinder failures that result from design factors so that you correct the underlying problem, otherwise they will keep performing the same repairs. This article discusses some hydraulic cylinder failures that can be linked to design errors.
Hydraulic cylinder rods can bend because of several factors such as the rod having a smaller diameter than the application it is being used for requires. The rod can also bend if the material from which it was made is not very strong. Improper mounting of the cylinder can also cause uneven distribution of pressure from the hydraulic system and that will eventually cause the cylinder rod to bend. A combination of any (or all) of the factors above can lead to a significant shortening of the service life of the cylinder rod. It will become harder to generate sufficient pressure within the hydraulic system if the rod is bent, so you will begin to notice a gradual drop in the efficiency of the hydraulic system.
Ballooned Cylinder Tubes
The hydraulic cylinder tube can balloon (become wider than it was designed to be) because the walls of that tube are not as thick as they should be, based on the magnitude of the pressure they are expected to withstand. The tubes may be of the correct thickness but still balloon because the material from which they were made is not strong enough to cope with the operations of that hydraulic system. Ballooned cylinder tubes allow hydraulic fluid to escape from the sides of the piston seals and this is potentially dangerous. For instance, a steel sheet that has been raised can come tumbling down once the hydraulic system loses the pressure that was holding it up.
Leaking Rod Seals
Hydraulic cylinder rod seals can start leaking if the roughness of the rod surface is too low or too high. For instance, if the roughness is too high, then contaminants (like dust that makes its way into the hydraulic system when fluid is being topped up) can accumulate on the surface of the rod and eventually cause the seal to wear out and leak.
You should hire experienced hydraulic cylinder service technicians to maintain your hydraulic cylinders. Such people will be able to diagnose the root cause of the cylinder failures and they will recommend appropriate redesign measures to prevent similar failures from taking place.