Why Do Hydraulic Cylinders Fail?

Hydraulic cylinders come in all shapes and sizes and are used in a variety of applications. The reasons why a cylinder can fail will depend on their application but in general, most problems are usually down to either physical damage or seal deterioration.

If a cylinder is misused or has been physical damaged in some way, it can become a pressure intensifier, which causes harm to the different components, from misalignment, to the piston being pulled from the rod, to the drastic results of the cylinder splitting its full length.

All cylinders are pressure-rated based on their application. Most are designed to work at 250bar, which normally applies to the extrusion tolerance of the seals used in the cylinder’s different components.

Seals will wear slowly over time, this cannot be prevented but is easily solved by spotting any problems early and replacing the worn seals, without causing any major issues to the hydraulic system.

However, excessive pressure, heat, misuse, and poor fluid condition will cause seals to deteriorate rapidly. For example, the seals can harden, crack, or extrude.

How to prevent cylinder failure

Areas to typically look out for cylinder failure is between the rod and the gland, the gland itself, the cylinder and around the welded parts.

All cylinders should be checked externally on a regular basis. Especially at the mounting points, steel pipes and hydraulic hose fitting. Anything that is loose should be rectified immediately. Make sure that there is sufficient lubrication and look out for any areas of excessive wear. Worn areas should be addressed without delay.

Particularly, check all external mechanical stops, as any damage can result in the piston or gland being pulled from its threads.

Inspect the condition of the chromed rod that moves back and forth in the cylinder. Any external dents, rust, scrapes or bends could lead to severe damage to the other integral components of the cylinder.

Always check the fluid levels of your hydraulic system, change the filter regularly and keep fluids free from contamination. This will prevent seal failure and damage to the cylinder bore.

Overall, cylinder failure can easily be prevented with careful use, regular inspection, and servicing, ultimately reducing the need for costly repairs and downtime.

If you would like any advice on sourcing replacement metal parts or seals for your hydraulic ram, please contact our helpful and knowledgeable team today.



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