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How to Check if Hydraulic Cylinder is Leaking Internally?

Identifying whether a hydraulic cylinder is leaking internally is a crucial skill to prevent potential breakdowns and maintain smooth operations in various applications. This article will serve as your comprehensive guide to detect an internal leak in a hydraulic cylinder effectively.

Understanding the Hydraulic Cylinder

Before delving into the detection methods, it's essential to understand how a hydraulic cylinder operates. The hydraulic cylinder, a powerful mechanical actuator, uses pressurized hydraulic fluid to produce linear force and motion. It is widely used in several industries, including construction, manufacturing, and agriculture.

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Common Signs of an Internal Leak

There are multiple indications that a hydraulic cylinder may be experiencing an internal leak. These signs include an unexpected decrease in the system's overall performance, slower cylinder speed, failure to hold load, and excessive heating of the hydraulic fluid.

Decreased System Performance

One of the earliest signs of an internal leak is a reduction in the hydraulic system's overall performance. This could mean slower response time or less power during operation.

Slower Cylinder Speed

If the hydraulic cylinder is leaking internally, it may operate at a slower speed than normal. This is due to the loss of hydraulic fluid, which affects the cylinder's ability to produce force and motion.

Failure to Hold Load

A hydraulic cylinder that is unable to hold a load steadily may be experiencing an internal leak. This is often observed when the cylinder fails to maintain its position when the control valve is centred.

Excessive Heating of Hydraulic Fluid

Excessive heating of the hydraulic fluid can also indicate an internal leak. The leak causes the fluid to circulate faster, resulting in increased heat production.

How to Detect an Internal Leak

Once you have identified the signs, the next step is to verify the internal leak. This can be done through direct inspection, pressure testing, or using an infrared thermometer to detect unusual heat signatures.

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