Hydraulic Cylinder Seals Failure - The Main Causes When it comes to hydraulic cylinders, one of the main causes of failure is the seal. Although the cost of the seal may be marginal, the true expense comes from downtime and the loss of production. To save you this extra expense, let’s look at what might cause a problem with the cylinder that may result in hydraulic seal failure: The seal has not been installed properly. There are a number of problems that can go wrong with installing a seal, these include: · Cuts and nicks in the seal · Not enough lubrication · Cleanliness · Over tightening · A seal that has been placed upside down. The best approach is to be very careful when installing the seal. Contamination of the hydraulic system. If any dirt such as grit, mud, dust or even ice gets into the hydraulic system it can contaminate it. There may also be an issue with internally produced contamination such as metal shavings or items results from the degradation of components such as hoses, fluid, etc. However, it’s most common for hydraulic systems to be contaminated from external issues such as rod retraction. This is why it’s important to use good filtering in the fluid system. Once you see a scored cylinder surface or if you see wear on the seal you may need to investigate further. Incorrect material usage. If you see a breakdown of the seal, it is likely to be caused by the use of incorrect material. This may also be caused when the hydraulic system fluid is changed. Non-compatible materials are most often the main reason there is failure with the seal. Degradation from heat. Once the seal is brittle and hard looking or if you see the seal lip start to break away, then there is likely to be heat degradation. This will result in an issue with effectiveness of sealing. This issue can be solved either by introducing an increase in lubrication, or change the material that the seal is manufactured of. Summary. If you’re experiencing hydraulic cylinder seal failure, then ask the manufacturer for guidance on seal size and for their input into how the hydraulic seal’s lifespan can be increased.