Turning Cylinder Failure into Real Value - 10 key factors in selecting a repair facility

By
Billy Redman, Repairs Manager, Electro-Hydraulic Automation (EHA)
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When the time comes that you have cylinder failure, the decision must be made whether to buy new or repair. The benefits of repairing may include shorter lead times, significant cost savings over new cylinders, and in many cases the ability to identify the cause(s) of the failure.
Hydraulic failure can occur through lack of adequate maintenance and damage. The results can be extremely expensive and even worse, cause long lasting damage and even injury. Diagnosing hydraulic failure is essential to establish what remedial or other action needs to be taken.

 

image of EHA technicians inspecting a cy;inder for repair

Save by Repair
Breakdowns can occur at any time and when they do you are robbed of valuable production time and profit. Repairing a cylinder can save approximately 40-50% the cost of new. Although a large portion of the savings comes as a direct result of using many of the existing parts in the repair process, this will not compromise the quality or performance of a repaired cylinder.

Save with Investigative Information
Cylinders sent in for repair receive a thorough inspection at the start of the repair process. During this phase, the technicians check for any stress that may have been placed on the unit from excessive side loads, improper mounting, fluid contamination, or defective seals. The inspection enables the technicians to determine the possible cause(s) of the failure. The information gathered during the inspection may help you make adjustments and correct issues with your related equipment to extend the life of your cylinders. Simply purchasing new cylinders may not address the specific issues that may lead to repeat failure of the new product.


 

EHA technicians conducting Investigative documentation


Quality Control and Testing
An important part of quality control is testing every repaired cylinder. A standard testing procedure assures the cylinder will be ready for immediate use when it leaves the facility. A repair/refurbish goal is to return rebuilt equipment to its original specifications or better.

Here is a list of the top 10 factors in determining where you get your cylinders repaired:

  1. Do they have reliable service and good customer support?
  2. Do they have experience working on cylinders from various manufacturers?
  3. After the initial inspection, do they provide feedback with the possible cause(s) of the failure?
  4. Do they have OEM-equivalent or better components for their repair?
  5. Do they have adequate in-house machining capabilities?
  6. Are the repaired cylinders tested?
  7. Are their quotes competitive?
  8. What is their typical turnaround time on a cylinder repair?
  9. Do they offer rapid-response delivery when needed?
  10. What kind of warranty do they offer on cylinder repairs?

Cylinder wear & tear varies per industry. There are many good service and repair companies, both large and small located geographically who may meet the requirements of on-location system service and maintenance. However, some projects may be more suitable sending the outdated or defective component to a central repair facility. Urgency is often a factor, and the cost of being down on a piece of equipment is key as well.

 

EHA technicians performaning final inspection on cylinder repair

 

Here are a few examples of both on location and off-site repair facility repair projects.

Mining
A large mining operation kept sending back cylinders for repair; they were breaking cylinder rods every 5-6 weeks. Their repair facility kept repairing them but took it one step further to take a look at their systems on location to offer up some equipment change suggestions. Much of their equipment was 60-70 years old. After assessing the situation, a manifold block that would control their load instead of bouncing the chutes was recommended. They chose a service facility that could help them upgrade to newer technologies and embraced the solution with a successful outcome.

Food Processing & Packaging

A large food processing operation with 3 plants required maintenance service to repair and refurbish their central hydraulic system that ran the plant conveyors. However, they

lacked enough mechanics and technicians to do this scale of maintenance. This outsourced, on-location project took 3-4 weeks to complete. It involved servicing and replacing all of the hydraulic valves, filtration elements and total service on 14 electric pumps and motors. The equipment was old and the suppliers who still manufacture the components for this system were not considered a good fit for this project. While spending ample time at one of the plants it was discovered that a more superior cylinder manufacturer with a special rod material suitable for their application would be a solution for the short life cycle of their existing cylinders. This chance encounter resulted in the upgrade to a better cylinder and service contract.

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