# The Importance of Calculating Hydraulic Cylinder Efficiency

Blog | August 29th, 2016

Looking to maximize the efficiency of your mobile hydraulics equipment? Hydraulic cylinder efficiency could be throwing a spanner in the works, so put the brakes on all that random parts swapping. Instead, the time has come to address the problem through mathematics. That’s right, engineering formulas need their time in the limelight, too, so swap out your screwdriver for a scientific calculator.

## Liquidate Losses by Calculating Liquid Gains

In calculating hydraulic cylinder efficiency, a loss quotient is created, an integer that’s expressed as a percentage. This value provides details of the energy fluctuations that occur between the retraction and extension phases taking place within the cylinder. Remember, the piston-to-rod assembly meets fluid resistance in here, and some of this resistance is converted into mechanical friction. Heat is the result, and this heat costs the system in terms of efficient operation.

## Cylinder Variables Affect Efficient Operation

The raw fluid force placed upon the cylinder by the piston plate and its driving rod represents the core energy expended, but there’s a number of additional variables to plug into any engineering formulae before an efficiency quotient can be appended to the system. First of all, the energy in kilonewtons (kN), slides home on the retraction end of the cycle, but it does so while being met by opposing mechanical and fluid forces. Stoppering forces include the viscosity of the fluid, the friction added by the seals, and the areal density present within the cylinder. The piston-to-annulus ratio also has a direct effect on our hypothetical case study, so the type of cylinder installed in the system will also cause deviations in the formula.

## The Importance of The Resulting Calculation

When we take pressure and flow rate readings at any system point, overall power expenditure can be calculated. Unfortunately, multiple input and output readings would be required to create a picture of system efficiency. Instead, the fundamental baseline efficiency figure can be quickly realized at the primary cylinder. This benchmark percentage value tells a comprehensive story about the fluid, about possible system leaks, and likely seal failures. Better yet, system charts are available for branded hydraulic systems, and this tabulated data typically lists standard Push/Pull cycling data, so recorded data can be matched against this information to narrow down system irregularities.

Single-rod and double action pistons complicate matters slightly, but these mechanical assets still bow to the universal translating skills of a properly calculated engineering formula, one that evaluates hydraulic cylinder efficiency.

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