Cleaning Procedure and Flushing of Hydraulic Cylinders

Blog | February 10th, 2017

Ideal hydraulic systems don’t suffer from fluid contamination. They’re perfect machines, so there are no losses, just pure efficiency. Meanwhile, back in the real world, hydraulic cylinders accumulate dirt, the muck that hampers fluid power transmission. Let’s see what we can do about this build-up by establishing a fundamental cleaning procedure and flushing the muck out of the cylinders.

Cleaning Procedures 

Depending on the hydraulic cylinder in question, the cleaning procedures may vary. Consult the manufacturer’s data sheet to see which of these procedures work best, for some of these methods are abrasive. A wire brush, for instance, physically removes stubborn internal debris, the sludge that’s adhering to the inner lining of the cylinder. Alternatively, high-pressure water cleaners and petroleum-based solvents rely on the active properties of a cleaning medium. The pressurized jet or active chemical scours dirt away without abrading the heat-treated surfaces of a case-hardened cylinder wall.

Flushing Fundamentals 

When a filter fails, it permits contaminants to enter the system. Similarly, degraded oils break down and release parts-damaging deposits. A flushing procedure purges the gunk from the hydraulic cylinders and all other system channels. A low-viscosity fluid is employed before the procedure is initiated. It’s loaded into a power flushing pump, which then propels the fluid at velocity through the tubes and hoses. The cylinder experiences the potent flushing action as a temperature controlled jet, a pressurized stream that can be modified to emit a pulsating current.

The Fine Art of Hydraulic Cylinder Cleaning 

Rebuilt parts are stripped down, cleaned with solvents, and reassembled as polished metal cylinders. Out in the field, the entire system experiences a pump-pressurized flushing procedure. Heaters and coolers, pulsation settings and banks of filters, all of these stages of the purging apparatus work in concert to dislodge obstinate contaminants so that the system can be returned to service. Finally, a new breed of mechanical cleaners is making inroads here, with pneumatically driven projectiles rocketing through the conduits as an abrasive scourer. Only time will tell us whether these foam cleaning bullets will serve as well as a time-proven system flushing solution.

The cleaning procedures used in hydraulic cylinder projects conform to the parts being worked upon. Stripped down hydraulic cylinders adhere to this assumption, with their inner metal workings and seals influencing the selection of the cleaning agent. Furthermore, this meticulous approach intensifies when the flushing procedure is initiated, with directional valves reversing the purge effect while the pumping apparatus sends its pulsating discharge rushing through the cylinder and its associated components.

Mobile Hydraulic Specialties Pty Ltd

Factory 89, 38-40 Popes Road
Keysborough, Victoria, 3173

Phone: (03) 9798-6511

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