Hydraulic Cylinders can often get pushed to the limit, especially when used for underground mining. There are several factors that cause hydraulics to fail – from damaged components within the cylinder to unexpected environmental issues, like falling rocks.
As with all machinery, the worst thing you can do is ignore the warning signs. Irregular noises, temperature changes or an increase in energy consumption are all indicators that your hydraulic cylinder needs repairs.
Keep reading, we’ll explain the 5 most common hydraulic cylinder issues that require immediate repair and what you can do to avoid them.
1. Leaking Hydraulic Cylinder
Oil leaks of any size need urgent attention. Even a small oil leak can lead to big problems if left untouched. A leaking hydraulic cylinder is most commonly the result of a worn seal, however, it’s best to have the cylinder inspected to see if there are any other causes. If you’re working underground, it’s even more crucial to have an oil leak repaired. If dirt and dust get into the cylinder, it can contaminate the entire hydraulic cylinder system or damage the internal components.
2. Bent Piston Rod
If you operate machinery underground, there are several risks that can cause issues with your hydraulic cylinders. A weight overload, potentially from an unexpected rockfall, can cause piston rods to bend. Once these pistons become misaligned, they lose the ability to retain hydraulic fluid pressure. Seals can also be affected by machinery exceeding weight limits. A damaged seal will decrease the efficiency of the machinery, Visibly, you’ll know the seal is damaged by the appearance of a hydraulic fluid leak.
3. Corrosion Within The Cylinder Barrel
Internal corrosion of the cylinder barrel is caused when fluids (namely water) enter the hydraulic cylinder and mix with the oil. If you’re checking the oil and notice that it looks cloudy, this is a sign that water may be present. If the oil isn’t changed, the water will begin to corrode some metals inside the hydraulic cylinder. It will also reduce lubrication which increases wear and tear and can potentially clog filters. Make sure you take the correct precautions to ensure your oil doesn’t become contaminated.
4. Scored Piston Rod
Piston rods are a major part of a hydraulic cylinder but are also highly susceptible to damage. Whether your machinery is used above or below ground, any contact with the piston rod’s chrome surface can create deep scratches. If this area is not repaired, these dents or scratches can lead to damaged seals and affect the strength of the cylinder. Repairs usually involve disassembling the hydraulic cylinder and fixing the damaged rod.
5. Physical Damage
We’ve touched on the effects physical damage can have on a hydraulic cylinder. When operating machinery underground the risk of damage increases dramatically. Even a slight bump or scratch can cause big issues with the longevity and performance of your hydraulic cylinder. Be sure that you have your machinery checked if you make contact with a hard surface or a falling rock strikes your machine.
How To Avoid Major Hydraulic Cylinder Repairs
There are several ways to prevent small issues from becoming major repairs.
Schedule regular maintenance checks
This can help pick up any minor issues and will ensure your fluids are clean and seals are performing as required.
Only use recommended fluids
Be sure to check the recommended viscosity of your fluids. This will prevent any issues with lubrication.
Don’t delay maintenance
If there is an issue with your hydraulic cylinders, don’t put it off. Any delay in repairs can end up costing you more and increasing your machinery downtime.
Choose a qualified repairer
Make sure your repairer has the expertise and equipment to repair your hydraulic cylinders and can do it in a reasonable time.
If you want to minimise machinery downtime, ask about Hydramech’s exclusive Drop n Swap system. Instead of waiting for repairs, you can drop off your old or damaged part and pick up a refurbished replacement part immediately.
As a hydraulic cylinder specialist, specialising in underground machinery, Hydramech knows how environmental conditions can impact the performance of hydraulic cylinders.
If you need urgent repairs or want to schedule a maintenance check for your hydraulic cylinder, contact Hydramech.