Home > Flexible cylinder hones repair damaged, scarred cylinders in the field

Flexible cylinder hones repair damaged, scarred cylinders in the field

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article image The Flex-Hone can be used in automated production equipment or with a handheld electric drill

Flexible cylinder hones are viewed as an indispensable repair tool in the field, especially for smoothing out rough areas and high points, deburring, edge blending, cross hatching or removing cut, torn and folded metal.

A flexible hone can be combined with a standard drill to resurface parts such as carbide bushings, bore sleeves, hydraulic and pneumatic cylinders, and other cylindrical cavities.

Two industrial equipment manufacturers were able to salvage damaged equipment by using the flexible hone in field repair work, helping save their customers tens of thousands of dollars in replacement parts.

Elmar: Scarred valve housings

Elmar, a food processing company that designs and manufactures filling machines for the food, beverage, petrochemical, personal care and pharmaceutical industries, was able to save their customer about $30,000 in damaged valve housings using a flexible cylinder hone after unexpected damage was caused to the equipment prior to production.

The rotary piston models in Elmar’s filling machines range feature a large, rotating bowl for products with 6-72 filling stations. Each station is built with a valve housing and rotary valve that dispenses a metered quantity of product. The tolerance between valve and housing must be within 1/1000th of an inch.

Elmar sold a 45-station rotary piston filler to a customer for filling apple sauce and other food products. The food processing company, which had recently taken delivery of the new equipment, had construction work being executed within the facility on the floor above. A small amount of concrete and metal shavings fell into the filling bowl. When the equipment was switched on, the concrete particles and metal chips moved from the rotating bowl into the rotary valves, scarring the housings and damaging the valve plugs.

Each of the 45 valve housings and plugs had to be replaced with the estimated cost for replacement being $60,000.

Thomas Dahlquist, Special Projects Manager for Elmar explained that the customer was staring at an expensive bill for replacement parts before the machine was even used for production. Unfortunately, the valve plugs, which were damaged beyond repair, represented approximately half the estimated replacement costs.

Dahlquist suggested honing each cylinder to remove any raised lips or high points and then inserting new valve plugs; using this repair technique, the customer could save about $30,000.

The company was familiar with cylinder hones, having used them in the past in the manufacturing of valve bodies. They had used the Flex-Hone in the field to hone out undersized or out-of-tolerance cylinders from time to time.

The Flex-Hone from Los Angeles-based Brush Research Manufacturing is a highly specialised abrasive tool characterised by small, abrasive globules that are permanently mounted to flexible filaments. A low cost tool that is also versatile and easy to use, the cylinder hone can deburr and clean out passages or provide IDs with a super-smooth plateau finish free of cut, torn and folded metal. It is also used for edge blending, plateau honing, polishing and chamfer operations. The Flex-Hone can be used in automated production equipment or with a handheld electric drill.

Dahlquist travelled to the customer’s site with several 2.25” Flex-Hones, with the total cost of the hones amounting to less than two hundred dollars.

In just over four hours, Dahlquist was able to hone each of the 45 housings to the appropriate specifications, utilising a dial bore gauge to achieve the tolerance required between valve and housing. After smoothing out all the high points, the new valves were inserted. Elmar’s field repair work using the Flex-Hones enabled the customer to begin production within a few weeks.

Vektek: Poorly machined cavities

Vektek, a manufacturer of hydraulic and pneumatic clamping systems, found that improperly machined cavities at the facility of an overseas client not only impacted the performance of the product they were supplying, but also created a potential safety issue.

A global supplier to the metalworking, tool and die, and mould industries, Vektek relies on their customer to ensure that the cylindrical product they supply is installed into a cavity with a proper surface finish, or it will not seal and function properly.

A leaking cylinder could result in serious consequences since Vektek devices hold workpieces stationary on machining fixtures. Any drop in oil pressure in the cylinders due to leakage would result in the grip on workpieces failing, requiring the machine to be shut down and production to cease.

Rod Nelson, Vice President of Vektek International Sales, explained that the customer’s cavities were not machined suitably for installation; consequently it appeared that Vektek seals were leaking, a problem that was not a shortcoming of Vektek’s cylinder design or quality, but still had to resolved at the customer’s site.

Vektek advised technicians at the client’s manufacturing plant in China to use the Flex-Hone tool to properly surface finish the cylinder cavities so that the sealing problem would be eliminated.

According to Nelson, the flexible hone is so useful to his customers in properly preparing cavities for his company’s products that Vektek specifically recommends the Brush Research tool in its product catalogue and data sheets.

Ace Industrial Distributors supplies a complete range of torque tool products and services Australia-wide including hydraulic pumps, Powerteam hand pumps, Rad pneumatic nut runners, hydraulic torque wrenches, impact sockets, hydraulic jacket rams and Flex hone tools.

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