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Common Damages to Hydraulic Components in Minnesota

In a factory setting, hydraulic components are responsible for some of the biggest and most enduring jobs—they’re put through tremendous wear and tear, supreme stress and operate at full capacity regularly. As a result, it’s no surprise that hydraulic components in Minnesota are often the subject of extensive maintenance plans and regular service.

One of the good things about hydraulic components is that they’re built to stand up to the rough and tumble that they’re going to be put through on a regular basis. The flip side to this, however, is that when problems do occur, they’re usually predictable and occur in a pattern that’s familiar to many hydraulic repair specialists. Take a look at some of the most common damages you’re like to see over time and what role these play in the function of your hydraulic cylinders and other components:

  • Insufficient bearing areas: Inside every hydraulic cylinder there exist bearing areas – these are generally located in the gland and at the piston. Basically, they exist to carry the torsional load transferred to the cylinder. When this bearing area is no longer able to handle the amount of load being placed on the rod and piston seals, it will deform and fail, thus leading to major failures in the hydraulic mechanism itself.
  • Ballooned tubes: As the name of this problem might imply, ballooned tubes deal with hydraulic cylinder rods that have succumbed to internal pressures too great for the material to handle, thus causing expansion of the tube itself. Ballooned tubes are liable to burst, causing immediate cylinder failure. Or, over time the ballooning can destroy the seals around the piston, slowly worsening the cylinder’s ability to function over time.
  • Pressure increases: Within hydraulic components in Minnesota there exists an internal pressure that must be perfectly maintained for a variety of reasons—safety, ideal operation and component life depend on this pressure determination. When pressure increases, it can spell trouble for the cylinder’s function and act as a safety hazard. High pressure situations can lead to bursts, ballooned tubes, backfiring, etc.
  • Bent rods: Far and away the most common imperfection discovered on hydraulic cylinders and the link is the problem of bent rods. Bent rods usually occur after years of constant wear and tear, where the load being bore by a hydraulic system causes the cylinder to wean slowly. Bent rods can break down unexpectedly and generally need to be replaced outright to ensure continued function of the hydraulic system. In many cases, it’s ideal to have the pressure of the load measured before replacing the rod, to make sure the new system is up to handling the load without compromise.

These are just a few of the most common issues that plague hydraulic components in Minnesota and they’re more easily identifiable because they follow a pattern of stress. In familiarizing yourself with these issues, you can more easily ensure that your hydraulic systems are better cared for and will be able to alert your repair specialist to any potential issues in a timely manner.

The Difference Between Pneumatics and Hydraulics

From the lifting systems on aircraft carriers to the tools our dentists use, pneumatic and hydraulic mechanical systems are part of our everyday lives whether we know it or not. It is not a surprise that very few people would actually understand the difference between the two, as most would become stumped when they hear the term pneumatics, but possibly be familiar with the word hydraulics while not sure how they know it—“did I hear the word hydraulics in that car movie?” Probably! Since pneumatic systems and hydraulic systems each possess their own benefits and limitations, let’s take a look at what each one brings to the table.


Hydraulic systems use hydraulic oil to operate and this can pose limitations to where and how they can be used. Due to the viscosity, or thickness, of the oil, these systems can run into resistance—especially where it comes to quick directional changes. That being said, these systems excel when it comes to lifting and moving very heavy loads. The same oil that makes using hydraulic components in arenas like food processing a non-starter, cannot be compressed and allows for smooth, fluid operations.


What pneumatic systems lack in brute strength, the clean, air-powered devices can be employed in a number of scenarios where a hydraulic system cannot. Without the danger of oil leaks, pneumatic components in Minnesota can be used in food preparation and manufacturing, and the oil-free systems can quickly change directions. If put to work in moving a heavy load, the compressible air—or other gas—can result in a jerky and uneven movement. In addition, pneumatics systems require larger cylinders to achieve the same force as you might with hydraulic components.

For the same reason gas-driven equipment is not ideal for lifting heavy loads, it is also less susceptible to damage caused by excessive force or impacts. The compressible gases that power the equipment means a certain amount of “give” during operation.

Sizing up the two

While both have their obvious applications, the air-driven devices can be made very small. A dentist’s drill is the perfect example of a small, pneumatic mechanical system. Without hydraulic oil to reroute through the system, air can quickly power the drill, exhaust and be reused. In terms of operating costs, hydraulic equipment is generally more costly—up to twice the price of pneumatic equipment. However, when it comes to operating costs, hydraulic equipment is more efficient, which is primarily due to the amount of energy lost during the compression of gas.

Even though your head is now filled with some basic knowledge of the differences between pneumatic systems and hydraulic systems, you are probably still a little unsure and want to talk to an expert about your specific system’s needs. If you have questions about hydraulics or pneumatic components in Minnesota, the team of experienced professionals at M&M Hydraulic Company is here to help!

A Few Key Ways to Maximize Hydraulic Cylinder Service Life

When you get down to the bread and butter of most industrial machinery, hydraulic cylinders become just as important and as common as pumps, motors, gears and just about any other mechanical component needed to keep a machine operational. And, like these other parts and pieces, they require steadfast attention and the proper service to remain functioning at peak efficiency.

When it comes to keeping hydraulics in peak condition and preventing costly hydraulic repair in Minnesota, preventative maintenance and fast action in the face of malfunctions is key. To that end, it’s important to brush up on a few of the easiest, most common ways to keep your cylinders in great condition, both now and for the future:

  • One of the most common issues to befall hydraulic cylinders is bent rods. Anyone who has spent enough time around old or improperly maintained machinery has seen bent rods and knows just how much of a trial they can be. Bent rods cause a myriad of problems: namely premature seal failure when the load that’s normally supported by the rod is absorbed by the seal. Bent rods should be replaced when identified at all times—no exceptions! And, when they are, the proper cylinder capacity should be gauged to prevent it from occurring again.
  • Testing the integrity of your hydraulic cylinder annually is going to ensure that you’re able to avoid all types of catastrophic failures and a good deal of unwanted hydraulic repair in Minnesota. Integrity testing will reveal any ballooning to the cylinder, as well as any broken seals or structural imperfections that may worsen over time as a result of a compromised pressure system.
  • Refinishing the surface of your rods can have a profound impact on their life expectancy and resilience through the years. If the roughness of the surface is too low it’s going to require more lubrication and in time, the seal is going to suffer. Likewise, if the finish is too rough, you’re going to see more leakage via increased contamination within the cylinder itself. Keep your rods finished to the proper degree and you’ll be able to prevent these two extremes from occurring—both of which can be costly in their own right.
  • If you have any knowledge of hydraulic cylinders or any other type of mechanical marvel, you know that friction is the enemy. Proper lubrication of your cylinder and regular lube maintenance is going to be key in preventing friction and can help to spot problem areas that may be wearing quicker than others. Keeping an eye on problem areas and giving your cylinder routine attention is going to help ease fluid function that’s friction-free!

Hydraulic cylinders are by no means a perfect piece of mechanical equipment, but they can be tremendously effective when maintained to the right degree. Rather than spending thousands a year on costly hydraulic repair in Minnesota, why not take the time to learn more about how these components function and what signs you should be looking out for to ensure they continue to function at the highest levels possible?