Maintenance of hydraulic systems

Performing maintenance on a hydraulic system, the correct way, is by utilising the maintenance best practices.

Many businesses opt to spend a large sum of money to train their maintenance staff to troubleshoot a hydraulic system.
However, by focusing on the prevention of system failure, it would lessen the amount of time and money spent on troubleshooting a hydraulic system.

It is often that companies will accept hydraulic system failure as a thing that happens, instead of the opposite – it would be more beneficial to invest time and money in the elimination of a failure rather than the preparation for failure.

The forefront runner of component and system failure is the lack of maintenance of the hydraulic system, although a majority of maintenance staff won’t know or understand, the proper maintenance techniques of a hydraulic system.
To perform the correct maintenance on a hydraulic system, two areas require concern: the first is preventive maintenance – the key to the success of any maintenance program, in hydraulics or any equipment where reliability is needed. The second is corrective maintenance – if not performed to standard, this can cause additional hydraulic component failure.

The basic foundation to perform proper maintenance on a hydraulic system has two areas of concern. The first area is Preventive Maintenance which is key to the success of any maintenance program whether in hydraulics or any equipment which we need reliability. The second area is corrective maintenance, which in many cases can cause additional hydraulic component failure when it is not performed to standard.

Preventive maintenance

This is a simple and basic form of maintenance that has the ability to eradicate a majority of hydraulic component failure, if followed in the correct way.

– Identify system operating system’s condition: does the system operate 24 hours a day? 7 days a week? Does the system operate at maximum flow and pressure 70% or better during operation? Is the system located in an unclean or humid environment?

– What requirements does the Equipment Manufacturer state for Preventive Maintenance on the hydraulic system?

– What requirements and operating parameters does the component manufacturer state concerning the hydraulic fluid ISO particulate?

– What requirements and operating parameters does the filter company state concerning their filters ability to meet this requirement?

– What equipment history is available to verify the above procedures for the hydraulic system?

Hydraulic knowledge

Divide the necessary hydraulic skill into two groups: the hydraulic troubleshooter and the general hydraulic maintenance staff – those that provide the preventive maintenance expertise.

Hydraulic troubleshooter knowledge:

– Mechanical Principles / force, work, rate, simple machines
– Math / basic math, complex math equations
– Hydraulic Components / application and function of all hydraulic system components
– Hydraulic Schematic Symbols / understanding all symbols and their relationship to a hydraulic system
– Calculate flow, pressure, and speed
– Calculate the system filtration necessary to achieve the system’s proper ISO particulate code

Hydraulic troubleshooter skills:

– Trace a hydraulic circuit to 100% proficiency
– Set the pressure on a pressure compensated pump
– Tune the voltage on an amplifier card
– Null a servo valve
– Troubleshoot a hydraulic system and utilize “Root Cause Failure Analysis”
– Replace any system component to manufacturer’s specification
– Develop a PM Program for a hydraulic system
– Flush a hydraulic system after a major component failure

General hydraulic knowledge:

• Filters / function, application, installation techniques
• Reservoirs / function, application
• Basic hydraulic system operation
• Cleaning of hydraulic systems
• Hydraulic lubrication principles
• Proper PM techniques for hydraulics

General hydraulic skills:

– Change a hydraulic filter and other system components
– Clean a hydraulic reservoir
– Perform PM on a hydraulic system
– Change a strainer on a hydraulic pump
– Add filtered fluid to a hydraulic system
– Identify potential problems on a hydraulic system
– Change a hydraulic hose, fitting or tubing

For more information about our Hydraulic Cylinders and our services, please visit our website!

Steel fabrication: a history

A look into the history of steel fabrication…

There are a number of inventions throughout human history that a number of people would mark down as the most important; the wheel, the written word, books, transport, the Internet… One thing that is often overlooked, that’s been around for nearly as long as the written word, is steel fabrication. It was a major development in its day, allowing humans to create better tools, weapons, armour and more. Hunters would make better arrowheads to bring home more food and countries would use the technique to build their armies, but in the modern day, what exactly is steel fabrication used for?

It’s not uncommon to see steel fabrication at work in a number of huge industries in the modern day, which cover all forms of products. Examples of these industries are:

  • Technology
  • Arts and crafts
  • Manufacturing
  • Jewellery

Steel fabrication was one of the leading techniques of craftsmanship and the creation of weapons and tools in order to develop society. The technique proved so versatile that it led to somewhat of a specialisation. In the past, it wasn’t uncommon for miners to process ore into steel, allowing the steel to be turned into weapons or tools that they could sell on for profit.

In the modern industries, there are a number of different steps you can take in order to get ore from the earth and turn it into goods that can be used by millions worldwide. There are a number of types of metals that we use in our day to day lives, all of which are produced from the fabrication process. For example:

Iron and steel are often found in electronic appliances, devices and cars.

Silver is used in both electronic parts and ornamentation.

Gold is used in ornamentation, but it is also a vital part of some electrical equipment, due to the metals being a great conductor of electricity.

Contact us today to discuss your steel fabrication options or visit our website for more info!

Welding: a history

The method of welding is the practice of using heat to join materials together, using equipment that utilises open flame, an electric arc or laser light.

Middle Ages – The Bronze Age is the earliest evidence of welding that can be traced back.
An early example was the welding of gold boxes that belonged to the Bronze Age, the Egyptians had also apparently learnt the art of welding – several of their iron tools were made using the joining method.

1800 – A milestone in the history of welding was the use of open flames (acetylene) as it allowed the manufacture of intricate metal tools and equipments.
The discovery of acetylene was made in 1836 by an Englishman named Edmund Davy; acetylene was since utilised by the welding industry.
Another tool that was used extensively in welding metals was that of a battery operated tool which could produce an arc between carbon electrodes, invented by Sir Humphrey Davy.

1880 – In 1881, Auguste De Meritens, a French scientist succeeded in fusing lead plates by using the heat generated from an arc.
Later an electrode holder was manufactured by Russian scientist Nikolai N. Benardos and his compatriot Stanislaus Olszewski.

1890 – The 1890’s popular method of welding was carbon arc welding.

1900 – Strohmanger first introduced coated metal electrode in 1900, to help with the stability of the arc, a coating of lime would have been applied.
More welding methods would have been developed during this time, including seam welding, spot welding, flash but welding, and projection welding.

1920 – This was the first introduction of automatic welding, specifically used for repairing and molding metals.

1930 – The development of stud welding was in this time period by the New York Navy Yard.
Stud welding was increasingly used for shipbuilding and the general construction industry,

1950 – The CO2 welding process had become popularised by Lyubavskii and Novoshilov in 1953, becoming a part of the process of choice for welding steels.

1960 – Advancements in the 1960s saw dual shield welding, inner shield, and Electroslag welding were among the most important developments in that decade.

Most Recent – The most recent developments in the welding industry include the friction welding process developed in Russia and laser welding.

For additional information about welding, please visit our website!

What are Hydraulic Cylinders?

Hydraulic cylinders are devices that converts the energy stored in the hydraulic fluid into a force used to move the cylinder in a linear direction.

Hydraulic cylinders

An example of a hydraulic cylinder

The device consists of a cylindrical barrel, piston, and a piston rod.
The piston within the barrel is connected to the piston rod, and the cylindrical bottom and head closes the bottom and the head of barrel respectively.
The cylinder head is situated where the piston rod exits the cylinder.


Hydraulic cylinders are classified according function.

For more information on hydraulic cylinders and all of the services we can offer you, please visit our website.

Stainless steel fabricating process

The versatility of stainless steel fabricating techniques is such, that there is a wide range of it.
Although it has quite high strength and work hardening rates, stainless steel is malleable enough  to be bent, folded, machined, welded, deep drawn, or spun.

Work hardening with stainless steel

Work hardening is a term used for the process of strengthening material through deforming it.
When working with stainless steel, depending on the grade of alloy, the work will harden pretty fast.

It’s quite helpful to match the steel grade with a work hardening treatment that is most suitable for the steel.

Tips on how to machine stainless steel

Machining stainless steel can be a tricky process because of the possibility of chipping the steel.
There are ways of preventing chipping happening when machining stainless steel:

– Apply coolants or lubricants to the equipment
– Use large tools to help dissipate heat
– Maintain light cuts and constant feeds
– Use chip breakers to deflect debris
– Select a machine tool that reduces vibration
– Keep the cutting edge sharp, at all times

Welding stainless steel

A majority of stainless steel products can be welded, but the efficiency does depend on the grade:

Austenitic – Most of the austenitic grades are suitable for welding, however this particular group can suffer from inter-granular corrosion on its thicker products.
When welding thick materials for projects, something to consider would be using low carbon content grades.

Martensitic – These types of grades are good options for welding, though they’re prone to cracking.
To reduce the possibility of fractures occurring, heat the material prior to welding, and afterwards.

Ferritic stainless steel – It isn’t really a suitable grade for welding but some may be appropriate for certain projects.
Issues presented may be sensitisation, low ductility and high grain growth can be overcome with the help of austenitic stainless steel fillers, or by heating the welded material, after it’s been welded.

Duplex – Low thermal expansion is more suitable for this grade.

For more information on steel fabrication, please visit our website!

Steel fabrication: how does it work?

You may have heard of steel fabrication, but do you know how it works?

Steel is an alloy, made from a combination of iron and a number of other metals including carbon, silicon, phosphorus and sulphur. There are varied amounts of these metals present in steel, but it’s commonly found that levels of carbon should be below two percent, with other metals in steel being below one percent. Steel can be cut, shaped and moulded into a range of products; which can all vary from household appliances to vehicle components.

The process in which steel is bent and shaped is widely known as steel fabrication. The birth of steel fabrication came in 1856, when Henry Bessemer, a British inventor, smelted steel. As time has gone on, steel fabrication has evolved into an incredibly advanced process, one that’s way more effective in the modern environment. To this day though, the skill and technique required in order to smelt steel rests at an incredibly high level.

The process behind steel fabrication

In steel fabrication, there are two existing methods that are used universally. The first method of steel fabrication is known as the ‘integration’ method, where the raw material found in steel are heated until they melt, and then being mixed together. Steel that is fabricated today is made using this method.

The second and final method is a process that’s used with recycled steel. This process is known as the Electric Arc Furnace Method, which is the quicker method out of the two. Recycled steel is placed into a furnace, then being melted and set, cut and bent into its final product.

When taken into account, both methods of steel fabrication require a huge amount of skill and precision in order to be done correctly. As of this blog being written, there are as many as three thousands types of steel known to man, with each type holding its own chemical properties, as well as its physical properties.

With the experience held at Taylor Engineering, we know everything there is to know about steel fabrication. Don’t believe us? You can either call us on 0121 326 9035 and even email us regarding any questions you may have on! Our employees are more than happy to help with any needs you may have, providing the answers to questions you may hold! You can see a list of our services and products here!

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How do hydraulic cylinders work?

How exactly do hydraulic cylinders work?

hydraulic cylindersHydraulic cylinders are a complicated technology; they work from a mixture of pressure and movement in the cylinders themselves, which gives the energy of motion. Pressure is formed in the cylinders through hydraulic fuel, which stores the pressure under the cylinders. The energy in the oils are converted to motion through this process. In a hydraulic system, a motor consists of at least one hydraulic cylinder, but there are usually more. A pump is used to control the oil-flow in the system, which is part of the generator in the hydraulic system.

A hydraulic cylinder is built from a barrel, piston and piston rod. The piston itself is put into position inside the barrel, being connected to the piston rod. The base of the cylinder, and the head, are responsible for the closure of the head and base of the barrel. The bottom of the cylinder and the piston rod are then mounted through brackets. The piston in the cylinder consists of a number of seals and rings.

The process begins with the piston rod moving outwards, which builds in motion as the hydraulic fluid enters the base of the cylinder. A reversal of this is possible, where hydraulic fluid goes back into the reservoir from being pushed by the piston.

Varying classifications of hydraulic cylinders:

Single Acting Cylinders:

In single cylinders, the process is rather simple: the fluid is pressurised from one side in both the expansion and retraction process. A spring is used to return the cylinder to its original position.

Double Acting Cylinders

In double acting cylinders, any pressure generated from the fluid can be applied in both directions, which gives more power compared to single cylinders. The springs used in single cylinders aren’t used in stroke applications that require a large process, as there are problems associated with the spring.

hydraulic cylinder

An example of a hydraulic cylinder

What should you consider when buying a hydraulic cylinder?

These specs will need to be classified, yet here’s what you should be looking at:

  • Stroke
  • Bore Diameter
  • Cylinder Type
  • Rod Diameter
  • Operating Pressure Levels

For more on hydraulic cylinders, how they work and what they’re used for, please visit our website here.

4 ways to reduce failures in hydraulic cylinders

hydraulic cylinder

An example of a hydraulic cylinder

As a product that’s used in a number of vehicles, hydraulic cylinders are as common as pumps and motors combined. If you use a lot of hydraulic equipment on a regular basis, then it’s more than likely going to be an expensive bill when the cylinder requires a repair. This can make up a considerable number of your overall operating costs, so taking these precautions should help the lower your bill and the damage dealt to the hydraulic cylinders.

According to various studies, a whopping 25% of mechanical equipment failures are down to a design flaw. If we apply this research to hydraulic cylinders, as many as one in four hydraulic cylinders are not designed for the application they’re currently operating in. This will just cause eventual breakdown of the machine or the hydraulic cylinder itself.

If you have any cylinders that don’t seem to last as long as they should, you may need to address one or more of the following issues:

Tube Ballooning

The cylinder tube can go through a process of ‘ballooning’, something which is usually caused by insufficient thickness of the wall and/or material strength in the cylinder’s operating pressure. Once the tube has ballooned, the tolerance between the piston seal and the tube wall is lost, which allows high-pressure fluid to bypass the seal. This fluid can actually erode the seal, with heating caused by the pressure drop across reduces the life of the seal. The end result is premature failure of the piston seal.

Bearing Area Is Insufficient

Given the surface of the bearing bands in the gland is insufficiently supporting the side thrust which is transferred to the cylinder, then an excessive load is placed on the rod and piston seals. This will result in the deformation of the seals, and ultimately, their failure.

The Finish of the Rod

The surface finish on the cylinder does have a significant effect on the life of the seal. Given the level of roughness on the surface is too low, the life can be reduced as a result. If the surface roughness is way too high, an unacceptable level of leakage is passes the road seal, which can result in poor performance.

In the sense of extending cylinder service life, you must think of the cylinder rod’s surface as a well lubricated, wear-surface, which you should treat accordingly.

In various applications, using an alternative rod surface treatment that has superior mechanical properties, which has conventional hard-chrome plating, such as nickel-chrome plating. These also have High Velocity Oxygen Fuel (HVOF) metal spraying, these can increase the service life of the rod and the seal.

Bent Rods

Bending cylinder rods can be caused by numerous insufficient rod diameter, even material strength. The improper cylinder mounting arrangement can cause damage to the rod. Once the rod bends, there are levels of deforming loads placed on the rod-seal. This increases the possibility of leakage and will ultimately result in the premature failure of the seal.

For more on hydraulic cylinders and their health, please visit our website.