Repeated seal failures in your hydraulic system can be inconvenient, work-stopping, and dangerous when spills are present. You may already have a supply of seals at the ready for these kinds of problems, but failing seals should not be a normal part of your facility's operation. If the seals aren't working, it could be related to a mistake below.

You're Using The Incorrect Seals

The simplest reason hydraulic seals start failing so often is that somehow, someone chose the wrong seals for the system. That could have been a mistake made years ago, or the person now in charge of ordering them could just be unaware that their choice is wrong. Hydraulic cylinder seals should be selected based on their ability to handle the heat and the type of fluids that they will interact with daily. Seal manufacturers provide temperature recommendations and any restrictions, so pay close attention to your facility's requirements to ensure that you're only using the right seals.

The Seals Are Old

When were the failing seals last changed? If you can't answer, it's not unusual that the seals are failing. Seals should be changed out periodically. Manufacturer information should provide guidance regarding the life of its seals, but someone has to follow up on that information.

The System Is Too Hot

Hydraulic systems are hot, of course, and seals are meant to handle that heat very well. However, constant contact with extremely hot fluids and metals could lessen a seal's lifespan. Spray painting the exposed steel, aluminum and other metal tubes and surfaces in the hydraulic system could lower temperatures adequately so that the seals retain their integrity longer.

You've Changed Fluids

Changing the fluids used in a system is natural from time to time. However, new fluids may contain degrading additives which could be destroying the hydraulic seals. If so, you'll find that you're replacing seals more often than ever. Someone should have the responsibility of monitoring and noting how seals perform whenever new fluids are added to the system.

The Filters Aren't Working

Sometimes the trouble has nothing to do with the actual seals. Failing, clogged, dirty, or torn filters could cause seal failure. Metal shavings and other industrial debris could also be bypassing the filters and affecting your seals. If you fix the filters, you could see fewer seal failures.

Any one of these things -- or several of them -- could be causing the repetitive cylinder seal failures your company is experiencing. Work with your employees to address these issues and see if that helps prolong the lives of the hydraulic seals you are using.