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Hydraulic Safety

Our Demonstration Consists of 1 DA ram and 1 porta power

Notice each end has a pressure gauge and the rod end of the cylinder only has a gauge.

Watch as we apply pressure to the closed end of the cylinder







What Happened? Why did the 2 pressure gauges read different?

Hydraulic Pressure Intensification

A typical single rod single acting hydraulic cylinder

Fluid under pressure enters the closed end...

Forcing the piston and rod out of the rod end

A typical single rod double acting hydraulic cylinder

Fluid under pressure can enter either side of the cylinder thus moving the piston and rod in either direction

Extending the rod...

Or retracting the rod

The problem occurs, when the rod end port or line of a single rod double acting cylinder is restricted and system pressure is applied to the closed end.

A Few Fundamentals:
Force Area Pressure

Force is expressed in lbs. Area is expressed in in Pressure is expressed in PSI

The FORCE of the cylinder in lbs. Is the system pressure multiplied by piston arearemember this area is round The area of a circle is: A = r Lets assume this cylinder is 4 in diameter The area of this PISTON is 3.14 x 4 or 12.5 sq. in Lets assume the system pressure is 1000 psi This cylinder WILL produce 1000 x 12.5 or 12500 lbs of FORCE!

This area is known as the major area

If Force = Pressure x Area


Pressure = Force Area

With this 4 diameter cylinder, the rod diameter is 2 We must subtract the rod Area from the Piston Area To obtain the MINOR Area! 12.5 - 3 = 9.5 in

Minor Area
Major Area is 12.5 in

Rod Area is 3 in

When system pressure is applied to the closed end and the rod end is restricted, pressure intensification occurs Area = 9.5 in Pressure = 1000 PSI

Pressure = Force Area

12500 9.5 = ??

1325 PSI is within the rod end of this cylinder when

the rod end port is restricted and system pressure is applied to the closed end of the cylinder!

1325 PSI

1000 PSI
1325 PSI

Another Scenario

5 cylinder 4 rod working under 2200 PSI Major Area = 19.6 Rod Area = 12.5

Minor Area = 7.1

Force = 19.6 x 2200 or 43120 lbs

Intensified Pressure = 43120 7.1 or ??

6073 PSI
2200 PSI

Would you like to be working near this cylinder if this condition existed?

Where might you find this type of cylinder?

What could cause a rod end port to be restricted?

Types of restrictions include:

Hose restriction\complete blockage

Hard pipe damage

Ball valve or gate valve INSTALLATION

Foreign objects/contamination

What can WE do to minimize exposure to this HAZARD?

Be thorough when making Equipment Examinations

Repair or replace damaged components immediately Dont wait until the maintenance shift NEVER use a ball valve for controlling a hydraulic cylinder circuit Dont adjust any circuits pressure relief valve you may be setting yourself up for disaster

The Accident

A mechanic with no formal training in hydraulics was attempting to test a hydraulic boom lifting cylinder for leaks while attached to a large front end loader. He used a uni-directional (one way) inline flow meter. He installed the flow meter in series with the cylinder between the cylinder and the directional control valve in the rod end hose. Asking the operator for assistance, the mechanic instructed the operator to retract the cylinder until it stalled against the base of the cylinder and to hold full pressure. The mechanic observed the flow meter and saw no indication of leakage. He signaled to the operator to extend the cylinder a short distance to repeat the test.

Uni-directional Flow meter To directional control valve (valve bank)

As the cylinder began to extend there was a loud explosion. At the same instance the flow meter assembly, still attached to one end of the hose, came flying across the machine and skimmed across the top of the mechanics head. The hose end had ruptured at the crimp connection near the flow meter. Hot oil escaping from the severed hose sprayed his face and neck. He was treated for minor burns. He narrowly escaped Disaster

He did not understand that a uni-directional flow meter contains an internal check valve

Hydraulic accidents frequently occur and for the most

part are not understood. Treat hydraulic systems with the same respect you would electrical systems.

They ARE as potentially hazardous.

Colorado Division of Mining Reclamation and Safety

Mine Safety Training Program