6 Telltale Signs You Need Air Cylinder Repair
A lot can go wrong with air cylinders, and when any problem could lead to downtime, damage, or equipment failure, troubleshooting each issue can get complicated.
Preventive maintenance (as well as running on high-quality cylinders) can keep air cylinders going at optimum performance levels and reveal telltale signs that you might need to repair them. Look for these six telltale signs you may need air cylinder repairs.
Your air cylinder may need repair if you notice any of these warning signs:
- Failure to move (or actuate) or slow actuation. Lack of movement is a clear sign that something is wrong. Monitoring actuating pressure can help avoid system breakdown.
- 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.
The Price of Ignoring Air Cylinder Problems
Missing any of these signs can be costly. If your air cylinder isn't properly cared for, you could be facing potential damage to machinery or worse, machine or production downtime. Ignoring warning signs and skipping regular maintenance carries ongoing costs and could drastically reduce the lifespan of the air cylinder and the equipment it's used in.
One cylinder option many OEMs are taking note of are ISO cylinders, which allow you to get the proper size cylinder your company requires in the instances of both a replacement or a new design-build project. Not all ISO cylinders are created equal and there are certain quality standards you should ask your manufacturer about, like the seal types, before electing which manufacturer to go with.
Regardless of which air cylinder your machine requires, you need a long, consistent service life you can depend on. One way to minimize unexpected emergency costs is by maintaining your equipment regularly and checking for signs of disrepair. It's always a good idea to keep a replacement air cylinder or rebuild kit on hand.