If your factory's hydraulic equipment has started acting sluggishly, you may wonder if the seals are no longer able to withstand the pressure or contain the hydraulic fluid. If you suspect this is the case, look for the following two signs that your equipment's hydraulic cylinder seals need replacing.
Seals Break Apart When Touched
After prolonged exposure to heat and fluid, hydraulic seals can dry out and become brittle. When this happens, they lose their ability to properly maintain the fluid pressure inside the cylinders, causing air and fluid to leak out and reduce the amount of pressure the pistons need to run the machinery.
To check to see if the seals have become brittle, perform a touch test by wrapping a rag around the end of a screwdriver. Do not use your finger for this test, as the seals and metal surrounding them may be extremely hot, causing severe burns.
Gently push on the seals with the screwdriver. If the seals give with no cracking, they are still pliable enough to seal the cylinders. However, if they start to crack even under slight pressure, they have become too brittle and should be replaced.
Gaps Are Present
Another sign that the seals are no longer working properly is the presence of gaps around their outer edges. These gaps are often caused by the constant expansion and contraction of the seals when exposed to extremes in temperatures.
While the seals are new, they are flexible enough to withstand rapid temperature changes. However, as they become older, they loose their suppleness. Eventually, the material will become uneven when parts of the seals stay contracted while others remain expanded. The unevenness then creates gaps between the seals and the cylinders' metal parts.
Even small gaps could release enough air or fluid to change the levels inside the cylinders, making it more difficult for the hydraulic pistons to run smoothly. If you notice that the seals are warping and creating holes, they should be replaced with new ones before the gaps become too large to contain any fluid or pressure.
If you notice one or both of the above signs while inspecting seals on the hydraulic equipment, they are most likely causing the issue with your equipment and need to be replaced. Contact your factory's industrial equipment suppliers to seek their guidance on purchasing the right hydraulic cylinder repair seals for your machine's model.