Troubleshooting problems with air cylinders can be complicated when you’re faced with numerous situations that can lead to downtime and equipment damage or failure. With a rigorous preventive maintenance program and awareness of where problems can come from, air cylinders can be kept running at optimum performance levels while maintaining maximum functionality. So what are the seven signs you may need an air cylinder repair?
Your air cylinder may need repair if you notice any of these warning signs:
- Failure to move (or actuate)
Lack of movement is a clear sign that something is wrong. Monitoring actuating pressure can help avoid system breakdown.
- Actuating too slowly
- Requiring higher than normal pressure to actuate
If pilot control pressure is too low, the control line may be too small or the metering choke valve could be malfunctioning. Also, there may be mechanical binding between the working load and the air cylinder, so check to make sure that the parallelism is maintained.
- Visual corrosion or excessive wear
- Hissing noises
- Load pulsing
Air cylinders are known for their smooth, almost silent movement. If you notice a change, it’s probably not running right.
- Intermittent start-up
When cylinders run at overload capacity, seals are subjected to higher stress and friction rates. Rod ends bend or break, and actuators can come apart. In a system with speed control or energy-absorbing devices, pressure spikes can also occur above normal system pressures.
What Could Go Wrong?
Missing any of these signs can be costly. Production downtime is the most obvious and immediate concern, not to mention potential damage to machinery and products. However, missing out on the cylinder's extended life brings ongoing costs that could easily be prevented by paying attention to these warning signs. It is always a good idea to order a replacement cylinder or rebuild kit to place in your storeroom for emergencies to minimize your costs and maximize your uptime.