If your factory's equipment relies on hydraulics to run smoothly, you may have noticed lately that one of the pumps is acting sluggishly and may not be able to hold enough pressure. While there are several reasons why this may be happening, one possibility is that the fluid has been contaminated with air. Below are a couple of tell-tale signs that this is the case.
1. Loud Banging Noises Coming from the Cylinder While in Operation
One noticeable sign that indicates that your hydraulic cylinder's fluid is contaminated with air is when you start hearing loud banging noises coming from it while in operation. When you start hearing this sound, it is a sign that aeration has occurred within the cylinder.
If there is air inside of the cylinder, it will be compressed and decompressed along with the fluid as the piston pushes into and pulls out of the space. As the air is forced against the sides of the cylinder, it will knock against them, producing the banging sound that you are hearing.
If you are hearing these noises, there is most likely increased pressure being forced against both the cylinder and pistons. If the issue is not remedied, the cylinder could break apart or the piston could bend, leaving you with downtime in your production line.
2. Fluid Starts to Foam up as It Moves Through the Cylinder and Its Lines
Another sign that the fluid inside of the hydraulic cylinder and its lines are being subjected to aeration is when you notice that it is foaming up. As the piston moves through the fluid, the air is being mixed up with it, causing tiny bubbles to form and cause the foam.
If the liquid is foamy, the cylinder is most likely not creating enough pressure to operate the machinery without being sluggish. There is also not as much lubrication within the hydraulics, which could cause a spike in the internal temperature of the cylinder. This increased temperature could then lead to deterioration of the seals.
If there is air entering into and contaminating the cylinder's fluid, there may be an issue with the inlet or even a crack in the casing. While your first thought may be to replace the cylinder, there is a chance that it can be rebuilt using new parts instead. Contact an industrial and manufacturing company that offers hydraulic cylinder rebuild services to discuss your options.