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Correctly storing a hydraulic cylinder

When it comes to storing your hydraulic cylinder, it is not just a case of putting it in the storage room and waiting until you may need it. Looking after this component before you use it can extend its lifespan and ensure that when you rotate or change out a cylinder you are doing so with one that is still in good condition.

Storing a hydraulic cylinder

Cylinders need to be kept indoors in a dry, clean area, and should be stored fully retracted. All exposed metal should be covered and protected. Grease can be put on the internal surfaces of the cylinder while a special tape infused with oil is wrapped around the exposed chrome. Before applying the tape, retract the rod otherwise the tape can damage the rod seal. Plug all service points with steel.

An additional option is to consider filling the cylinder with clean hydraulic oil. If the oil is not applied to the cylinder, it will be exposed to air. If the air has excessive moisture, it can cause the rod to rust and become pitted which will have serious consequences when the rod is in operation. This will decrease the effectiveness of the cylinder and its lifespan. If the cylinder is filled with clean oil after it is cleaned, damage to the cylinder can be avoided.

To oil or not to oil

There are many factors that need to be considered when filling the cylinder with oil. If the cylinder is put into storage in winter, and then taken out to be used during summer the ambient temperature of the oil in the cylinder is going to rise causing issues when blanks on the cylinder’s service ports are opened.

When filling a cylinder with oil, the following should be contemplated:

  • Make sure that the rising of the oil temperature while in storage won’t create static pressure exceeding the cylinder’s working pressure.
  • Only when the cylinder is fully retracted and only through the rod-end port can it be filled with oil.
  • Port plugs that are rated for the cylinder’s working pressure must be used.
  • Warning tags must be attached to both service ports.
  • Each port blank should be fitted with a pressure test-point to enable checking before the service port blanks are removed. This is a quick way to gauge the pressure in the cylinder.

Although this procedure is very technical, not taking the time to do it can damage the cylinder should it be in storage for a long period of time. Power Team SA is available to chat about your cylinder storing options and through years of experience within the hydraulic industry, they will be able to provide expert solutions. Power Team SA understands the complexities when it comes to hydraulic equipment and is able to assist where needed.