Hydraulic cylinders provide controlled actuation for some of the world’s most demanding applications. Mining, dredging, and oil and gas exploration subject fluid power systems to heavy loads in extreme environments. For optimum performance and seal life, the bores of hydraulic cylinders require a smooth, clean surface finish that’s free of rust, corrosion, and accumulated deposits. Torn, cut, and folded metal along the cylinder walls can also contribute to mechanical failure and premature seal wear.
Flex-Hone® tools from Brush Research Manufacturing (BRM) impart an inner diameter (ID) surface finish that’s ideal for hydraulic cylinders. Flexible cylinder honing’s low-temperature, low-pressure abrading process removes smeared, fragmented, and amorphous metal while smoothing nicks and scratches to create a more uniform surface finish. As Hydraulics and Pneumatics magazine explains, “honing with a ball-style device can make a big difference in performance and service life.”
Why Ball Hones Are Better
BRM ball hones, as Flex-Hone® tools are sometimes called, feature abrasive globules at the ends of flexible nylon filaments. The ball-style tool’s soft cutting action produces a smooth surface finish that promotes fluid flow and eliminates laminar turbulence. This is especially important in hydraulic cylinders, where pistons move within a smooth bore that’s filled with an incompressible fluid. Flexible cylinder hones also address other surface finishing challenges.
“Getting top-to-bottom cylinder or liner wall coverage is difficult to do with other tools,” explains Clarence Mayer, coordinator for Diesel Supply Co. of Odessa, Texas. As Mayer told Hydraulics and Pneumatics magazine, BRM Flex-Hone® tools “can go down and complete the bottom of the piston travel area” and also surface finish “the top of the liner, where it gets chamfered because of where the top ring travel ends.” Flexible honing tools, Mayer says, “can blend that area quite easily.
Flexible Honing vs. Rigid Honing
So is flexible honing right for your hydraulic cylinder application? Before selecting a tool, it’s essential to understand your application requirements. Rigid honing, a traditional material removal process, is required for cylinder resizing and geometry correction. Rigid honing machines are also used for initial honing during the manufacture of hydraulic cylinders. Rigid honing is the right choice for some applications, but flexible honing provides a highly-effective alternative for hydraulic cylinder maintenance.
Rigid honing machines are accurate, but many aren’t portable. This means that maintenance personnel need to send used hydraulic cylinders to a shop for refinishing. By contrast, Flex-Hone® tools mount in portable power tools and support field operations. Because ball hones are self-centering and self-aligning to the bore, BRM cylinder hones don’t require precise setups either. Flex-Hone® tools are also great at clearing cross-holes, ports, and other interruptions in the bore.
Learn More about Flexible Cylinder Hones
BRM Flex-Hone® tools are available for any type or size of cylinder. They’re available in a wide variety of abrasive types and grit sizes, and include large-diameter tools that are great for surface finishing large hydraulic cylinders. Would you like to learn more about flexible honing? Then download the Flex-Hone Resource Guide today.