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Plan for Savings, Step 1: Maintenance

October 29, 2012

The process of maximizing the life of your cylinders begins with a dedicated approach to maintenance. It turns out that the biggest culprit in cylinder failure is fluid contamination. This single occurrence accounts for close to 80% of all hydraulic cylinder failures. Neglecting to establish a regular fluid inspection schedule and cleanliness target can result in high levels of micron particles that, if left unchecked, will eventually score the cylinder rod, cylinder bores, and lead to seal failure.

Depending on your chosen industry, system, usage, and maintenance standards, hydraulic fluid should be checked a minimum of once per quarter and sent out to a lab for an ISO cleanliness test. The fluid will be graded on six levels ranging from 2 upwards to 50 microns. The results of the test will determine whether the fluid needs to be changed or filtered back to within specifications. In addition, you need to make sure that your equipment’s pivot points are greased, rod end connections are tight, and not working loose for their mounts and that rod boots are in good condition.

Another reason for failure is inappropriate application. If the cylinder wasn’t made of the job it will create undue stress in the most vulnerable areas. The bottom line is that if you don’t have a solid and comprehensive maintenance plan, you are just asking for trouble. You might believe you are saving money by cutting back on maintenance or inspection, but it will cost you in the end.

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