Understanding the Most Common Causes of Hydraulic Cylinder Failure

Blog | February 3rd, 2020

Many times, companies overlook the importance of the hydraulic cylinders in their equipment and mechanical devices. A great deal of power comes through these cylinders when they are designed and manufactured correctly to handle the pressurised fluid that flows in, through and out of them. The manufacturing, railroad, construction, aircraft, waste management, recycling and shipping industries along with the military are examples of the entities that depend upon these cylinders year after year. In spite of their reliable natures when they are made with quality materials and techniques, they still require maintenance to prevent them from failing. Below, learn about some of the most common causes of hydraulic cylinder failure to keep your cylinders operating properly.

1. Tainted Hydraulic Fluid

The fluid that runs through the hydraulic cylinder must be a specific makeup for the cylinder to operate properly. If this hydraulic fluid becomes contaminated or tainted by foreign particles or other substances, it can cause damage to the interior of the cylinder or its components, such as fittings and seals. Major degradation can happen when the problem is not addressed soon enough.

2. Damaged Seals


Cylinder seals are crucial to maintaining the proper internal pressure of the cylinders. They can be easily damaged by tainted fluid, as mentioned earlier, or through incorrect handling. As the damage becomes worse over time, performance degradation escalates dramatically, and this leads to the complete failure of the hydraulic cylinders.

3. The Side Loads of Hydraulic Cylinders

When applied correctly, the force of hydraulic cylinders should travel along a specific axis that needs to be in perfect alignment with the cylinder. This bi-directional force happens according to the position of the hydraulic cylinder. The installation must consider the intended direction of this force. However, at times, the hydraulic cylinders are installed in such a way that they apply force to an axis that is perpendicular to the desired direction of the movement. This method is called side loading, and it places unplanned strain on the cylinders and all its components. When the strain is severe enough it will lead to catastrophic failure of the cylinder since it increases the rate of the cylinder’s deterioration.

4. The Amount of Pressure in the Cylinder

Design specifications of the hydraulic cylinder mandate that the fluid must be kept at the proper internal pressure at all times for the cylinder to operate at maximum efficiency. Variations in the pressure either higher or lower than the specified level will significantly affect the cylinder’s performance. Monitoring pressure on an ongoing basis is the only way to prevent failure from occurring due to an undesirable pressure level.

The above are just some of the most common causes of hydraulic cylinder failure. Other ones are piston damage, physical damage to the cylinder and improper maintenance. With knowledge and proper techniques, though, you can prevent failure from happening.

Mobile Hydraulic Specialties Pty Ltd

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

Phone: (03) 9798-6511

Optimized by NetwizardSEO.com.au