Huge cylinders damaged at sea require urgent & expert hydraulic repairs

When a boat engaged in laying a fibre cable from New Zealand to the USA via Australia had two big cylinders blow their seals, time was of the essence, and precision workmanship was required urgently.

The vessel Responder/Majuro is 140 M long, weighs around 12,000 tons, and was built in 2001 for the purpose of laying cable on the sea floor. Moving along at 3 knots positioning 6000 meters of cable per hour, laying fibre cable from New Zealand to USA and Australia is large and lengthy job.

Any hydraulic breakdowns are a big problem and can have a huge impact on the work schedule, so scheduled maintenance is essential and most work is planned months ahead. Occasionally unforeseen hydraulic repairs are required, and it is normal for these major works to be pushed to tight time-frames as down time can cost the asset owners large sums of money, both through material and time costs for repairs, and non-productivity costs.

“We’ve heard it so many times – If the wheels aren’t turning, I’m not making money!”

A speedy turnaround, quality hydraulic workmanship and cost control is foremost in the minds of owners, principle contractor and subcontractors.

Specialist Marine and Industrial Engineers Titan Marine Ltd were contracted to oversee the repairs to the large hydraulic cylinders on behalf of Responder, and called in the Jonel Hydraulics for their specific large cylinder expertise.

Each cylinder weighed 3.2 tonnes so when the boat was docked, Titan Marine had pre-arranged the large crane and truck to remove cylinders for transport to the Jonel Hydraulics workshop in East Tamaki.

Replacement cylinders would have cost around NZD $80,000, so speedy cylinder repairs were essential.

Large cylinder repair: shaft re-chroming, barrel honing, pistons & new seals

On arrival at Jonel Hydraulic’s Workshop, dismantling and critical inspection processes kicked in, revealing both cylinder chrome shafts needed more work than expected.

In East Tamaki the remote linishing and electroplating processes began on both cylinder shafts while two barrels were honed in preparation, and a new piston was redesigned and manufactured.  Final stages were assembly processes, fitting new seal kits, re-assembling the cylinders and thorough cylinder testing was carried out before return transport was arranged.

Complete hydraulic repairs, under one large workshop roof

Electroplating is a specialist job, and as both the chrome shafts on the hydraulic cylinders needed to be electroplated, the Jonel team brought in the electroplaters to work in-house at Jonel, because of the size of the shaft, and the urgent nature of the job and to ensure absolute quality control rested with Jonel.

Because of Jonel’s specialist hydraulic expertise and facilities, the team were well qualified and well equipped to re-design and manufacture new improved pistons for the hydraulic cylinders.

To ensure on-time delivery, the Jonel Hydraulics workshop team worked seven days straight, through the weekend (and many days were 16 hours long, worked in shifts.)

General Manager Dean Nadeem said “We managed to finish this off on time because of our tight knit experienced team and the tooling that we have on hand. Special recognition must go to Jonel’s fantastic suppliers as well, who bend over backwards for us.”

“This was a challenging task, especially as we were essentially working to deliver two week’s worth of work in half that time.

Some components needed significant repairs and a few parts needed complete re-manufacturing. Because of the importance of the job, the Ship Chief Engineers needed to check and sign off the processes that we were using throughout the job. It was not an option to have anything fail once they were back at sea.” – Dean Nadeem

The client was stoked at the performance of the Jonel Hydraulics team, the quality of work delivered and the timeliness of the job.

Overall, the repair of this large cylinder was a high pressure, big job that required lots of careful planning and various deliveries to be made on time. In typical Jonel style, the job was done to a high standard, and delivered on time.

Check out our Hydraulic Cylinder repair capabilities.