Many owners of hydraulic construction equipment experience frequent hydraulic cylinder failures because they did not pay special attention to the specifications of that hydraulic equipment when they were purchasing it. This article discusses some of the issues that owners of construction equipment should pay attention to when ordering new hydraulic cylinders that will not fail quickly.
Hydraulic cylinders and other components of hydraulic equipment are designed to be sensitive to contaminants. The degree of sensitivity varies from one product to another. When the contaminant sensitivity is very high, the equipment will develop defects as soon as any contaminant, such as dust from the ambient air, enters into the cylinder as new fluid is added to the equipment. One way to cut down the high cost of frequent hydraulic cylinder repairs is to select cylinders that have a high contaminant tolerance. Such cylinders will hardly be affected by the contaminants that bypass the filtration systems of the hydraulic fluid in that equipment. Regular filter changes and fluid replacement can then get rid of the contaminants that find their way into the equipment.
The longevity of hydraulic cylinders is affected by the magnitude of the pressure inside the cylinder in relation to the safe operating temperature range of that cylinder. Hydraulic equipment that exerts pressure that is equal to or greater than the recommended pressure range of a cylinder will shorten cylinder life. You can reduce the frequency of cylinder repairs by replacing such a cylinder with one that can cope with higher fluid pressures. This will slow down the onset of metal fatigue because the cylinder will be operating within its safe pressure limits.
Different hydraulic fluids degrade at different rates. The fluid can no longer protect the cylinder from high temperature and abrasion by pistons if it degrades quickly and it is not replaced immediately. The cylinder may develop defects, such as cracks, if the pistons keep rubbing directly against it in the absence of an appropriate hydraulic fluid. Construction work sometimes involves working in rural areas where equipment cannot undergo thorough routine maintenance. It is therefore advisable to select hydraulic fluids that have the longest usable life possible, such as 10,000 work-hours, so that the cylinder cannot be adversely affected when you are unable to flush the old fluid completely when in the field.
Contact the manufacturer of your hydraulic equipment so that you work together to implement the measures above (and any other measures deemed necessary) to prolong the service life of the hydraulic cylinders of your construction equipment.