Side Loads in Hydraulic Cylinders

A long-stroke hydraulic cylinder often experiences significant side-load forces while in operation, especially when it is fully extended. The side load in the cylinder is the force component that acts laterally across the axis of its bearings, piston-rod seals, or piston.

Many reasons can be attributed to the development of side loads on the cylinder. An off-centre load on the cylinder can cause side loads on its bearings, seals, and piston. Similarly, the cylinder experiences side loads if it is not aligned or mounted correctly. Even the weight of the cylinder or its piston-rod exerts side load on the rod bearings and the piston bearings.

Standard hydraulic cylinders are not designed for handling heavy eccentric loads, and hence, they are vulnerable to side loads. The side loads on a hydraulic cylinder are liable to cause stress on its bearings, seals, piston, mounting flange, and mounting bolts. They ultimately reduce the service life of the cylinder. Therefore, it is essential to reduce the side loads imposed on the cylinder. It can be reduced by the proper mounting arrangement of the cylinder. The axis of the cylinder must be correctly aligned to the axis of the load attached.

A technician must take great care when mounting the cylinder so that the load does not exert side load forces on the piston-rod. Adequate bearings support on the piston and in the piston-rod gland area also helps reduce the side loads on the cylinder.

Joji Parambath



Industrial Hydraulic Systems and Circuits – Basic Level (In the SI Units)

Joji Parambath

Industrial Hydraulics – Basic Level (In the English Units)

Joji Parambath

These books describe the topics of Hydraulic power packs, Hydraulic actuators, Directional control valves, Flow control valves, Pressure control valves, Hydraulic accumulators, and Fluid conductors.

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