Every day, we speak with a variety of clients who have been resealing hydraulic cylinders themselves, in an effort to reduce costs and downtime. However, recently we have also received an influx of calls from the same clients, who seem to be regularly suffering from “seal failures” and “leaks”. We understand that speed and money are huge motivational factors to reseal in house so we have written this article to further the knowledge of our clients.
When a seal fails, you should ask the question…What has caused this seal to fail? Many people overlook this question and simply replace the seal to try and get the machine back to work ASAP. Whilst yes, they may have solved the problem today, they could be resealing again tomorrow and regularly thereafter, potentially costing thousands in downtime. The cylinder could also have reduced functionality. The smallest leak caused by an unaddressed, scored rod or barrel could cause a loss of pressure within the cylinder. This could be dangerous if the cylinder is being used to hold something heavy. Imagine a crane arm dropping in height, because of a small leak past the piston seal of a large boom cylinder!
Here at Callcott & Downey, we make a thorough assessment of the cylinder before replacing a seal. Our experts carefully analyse the rods and barrels for scoring, pitting and other damage, as well as checking for contamination, chemical breakdown and heat degradation. We then advise the client of the cause, and the actions required for a complete repair. It is then up to the client should they want us to proceed.
Recently, we helped a customer who performed their own reseal. Even though they performed the reseal correctly, the cylinder failed after just two days. Faced with more downtime and another rebuild, the client approached us for help.
Analysis of their cylinder revealed minor scoring in the barrel and small dents on the rod. After receiving the “go ahead”, we proceeded with honing the barrel and re-chroming the rod, before finally installing new seals, and returning the cylinder to OEM specification. The client has since reported that the cylinder is working like new and that they prefer the reliability, expertise and support of using a Hydraulic Cylinder Specialist.
So another way of looking at this situation may be that an in house reseal may save time and money in the first instance, but a professional repair may save more money in the long run, reducing machine downtime and the need for more regular reseals.
P.S. If speed is the motivational reason for your in house reseal…why not give us a call and inquire about our Service Exchange facility?
Want to know more about the causes of seal failures? Click HERE to read a detailed article.