Crane

Hydraulic Crane Repair
in Houston, TX

Hydraulic cranes are incredibly useful pieces of equipment. There’s a reason they are a staple of construction, shipping, and many other industries. Unfortunately, without proper maintenance and timely repairs, a lot can go wrong with these powerful machines. This page looks at common problems that hydraulic cranes and their operators face as well as steps that can mitigate those problems.

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Overview of Crane Hydraulic Systems

A hydraulic crane derives its massive power from an internal hydraulic system, as the crane manufacturer Eagle West Cranes explains. It works like this: Powered by the engine of the crane, a hydraulic pump puts pressure on the system’s fluid or oil. The oil can’t be compressed, though, so it transfers the force it is receiving to “other parts of the crane,” and the force can be sent “where it is needed to lift an object.” The hydraulic system allows for the lifting of extremely heavy items such as trucks and shipping containers, which other types of cranes are unable to handle.


7 of the Most Common Ways Crane Hydraulics Fail

  1. Wire failure. Very often, cranes run into trouble because of issues with the wires, per Chris Dyson of The Maritime Executive.
  2. Mishandling. Another issue is when a crane operator mishandles the crane, which means training and oversight are of the utmost importance. Examples of mishandling include a crane operator picking up a load too quickly (which is a problem because cranes are meant to operate gradually) and attempting to lift more weight than the crane is rated to handle.
  3. Air and water contamination of the hydraulics system. According to Michele Baker of York Precision, this issue causes 80–90% of hydraulic failures, so it is a widespread issue indeed. Baker writes that a knocking sound may indicate aeration (which means that outside air has entered the pump cavity), while a whining sound may indicate cavitation (which means bubbles of vapor have formed). Leaks and condensation, meanwhile, are common causes of water contamination; the hydraulic fluid appearing milky is a warning sign.
  4. Worn-out components. The equipment inspection company Lloyds British advises that wear on components such as gearings, bearings, gearboxes, and brakes can bring a crane to a halt. Parts such as these require frequent maintenance, or else they will eventually and inevitably fail from use over time.
  5. Line problems. As the equipment provider Worlifts points out, hydraulic lines can also develop problems. This is particularly true for improperly routed lines, which are prone to damage from “abrasion, vibration, and movement” as well as “exposure to pressures above operating tolerances.” 
  6. Failure of hydraulic seals. Another problem highlighted by Worlifts is that seals are vulnerable. Because they are made of soft materials—with examples including rubber and polyurethane—chemicals and heat can damage them, as can contamination. Matching seals to the chemicals they will come in contact with can alleviate the chemical damage issue. The use of heat-resistant components can help with high heat, and filters, proper fitting, and cleaning are needed to fight off contamination.
  7. Electrical failure. The failure of electrical components can cripple a crane, too. Electrical issues can hamper a crane’s hydraulic system and controls, for instance. This is another area in which frequent inspections can help.

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How Sapphire Hydraulics Can Help

While not all crane-related problems affect the hydraulics system, Sapphire Hydraulics can help with those that do. We serve customers in the Houston, Texas, area who are in need of hydraulic hose and cylinder repair, and we also provide parts and perform custom equipment engineering to help create the perfect equipment for unique jobs. To learn more, please contact us through this form or by calling 713-804-2817. Your free estimate will be on the way shortly!

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