Misalignment affects a hydraulic cylinder’s load capacity and can cause sideloading that prevents the cylinder from retracting properly. Cylinder misalignment can occur in extended and retracted positions, and you might not even notice there’s an issue until your mobile equipment stops working. Don’t let things get to that point.

Using high quality hydraulic cylinders and following the tips below will help you avoid cylinder misalignment issues and prevent costly equipment downtime.

Choose the Right Cylinder Mounts

Hydraulic cylinder mounts hold your cylinder in position and help prevent wear caused by shock. Choosing the correct mount based on your cylinder design and application will improve performance and help minimize cylinder misalignment.

For example, heavy-duty applications and cylinder designs with long strokes both have higher mount strength requirements. In these cases, you might consider a flange or foot mount. You also need to consider any space constraints that call for a more compact mount style.  Clevis brackets tolerate cylinder misalignment well but also take up a lot of space. So, you might need to choose a more compact mount if you’re dealing with space constraints. If your application has unique requirements, a custom cylinder and mounts might be the best route.

Calculate Your Required Load Carrying Capacity

Load affects every part of a hydraulic cylinder. Your bearings, couplings, and other components must have the correct load capacity to maintain proper cylinder alignment. Components made from high-strength materials will offer better durability than lightweight options. Quality is also critical here. Make sure the components you buy are manufactured to the same high-quality standards as your cylinder.

Use the Correct Cylinder Rod Size

The rod is perhaps the most critical part of a hydraulic cylinder. If a rod is too small for your application, it will buckle or bend under force, causing side loading and cylinder misalignment. Both issues can also cause costly equipment damage.

Your cylinder rod must be appropriately sized for your force requirements and application. A basic rule of thumb for determining cylinder rod sizing is the higher the load requirements, the larger the rod diameter. However, using a rod that is too large also causes cylinder alignment issues. Your best bet is to work with a hydraulic cylinder expert who can help determine your cylinder rod size requirements based on your equipment and application.

Install Cylinder Stop Tubes

As we mentioned, cylinders with a long stroke are more prone to side loading and other issues. You can minimize cylinder misalignment by installing a cylinder stop tube. These metal collars sit between the piston and head to provide additional bearing support as the cylinder pushes a load. Reducing load helps you avoid cylinder misalignment issues caused by jackknifing. Using stop tubes is a better alternative to using oversized cylinder rods.

Our cylinder misalignment experts are here to help!

The experts at Aggressive Hydraulics can help you find the right solution to minimize cylinder misalignment issues in your mobile equipment. We keep standard parts in stock to help you minimize downtime and design custom cylinders for your application. Everything is sourced, designed, and manufactured to deliver exceptional quality in materials, construction, and performance. Give us a call to discuss options!