LEO: The predictive maintenance solution for hydraulic cylinders

What is LEO, the predictive maintenance and monitoring solution for hydraulic cylinders? The project with LEO started already in 2013 when Hydroline presented the invention disclosure for the predictive maintenance solution for hydraulic cylinders. The main and original idea of LEO is to follow the fatigue the cylinder is experiencing while in use and let the user know how much lifetime the cylinder has left.

Previously, it was possible to gather data from cylinders, however there were no means to analyse the data and to actually use it for anything. That is why Hydroline developed LEO.

The data is collected from the cylinder with a LEO hardware (Scout) that is attached to the cylinder. One hardware can be attached up to 10 different cylinders or it can also be fitted to a fleet of machines with multiple cylinders. Cylinders need to have sensors – the minimum requirement is a pressure sensor that measures the pressure inside the cylinder. Location sensors add accuracy for the data. The data is analysed with the LEO system and the system turns the raw information into readable form for the user. All this information is available in the LEO portal. The system calculates the cylinder’s lifetime according to the fatigue and compares it to the cylinder’s strength calculations.

leo predictive maintenance hydraulic cylinder hydraulics

Illustration: LEO process.

LEO offers benefits and added value both for the OEMs as well as the final user. By analysing the data, LEO can predict the upcoming breakdowns and help to plan the maintenance in advance. A broken cylinder causes the whole machine to stop working and this might cost up to 50 000€ per hour at a construction site. We want to help our customers to avoid these expensive breakdowns and offer them accurate information about their cylinders and how they work on-site. LEO predicts the problems and prevents the breakdowns.

Once the data has been gathered and analysed, the user is able to observe the cylinder’s usage history anytime. Therefore, LEO also offers post-problem data access which helps with the root cause analysis on field claims, accidents or failures.

LEO can also tell about the misuse of cylinders. The user can follow the cylinder’s lifetime from the portal and see if there are, for example, wrong kinds of pressure peaks or if the pressure inside the cylinder is constantly too high. This sort of misuse is important especially in safety critical cylinders. User can also monitor and optimize the efficiency of cylinder usage with LEO. As the misuse is easy to spot with LEO, the users can also use LEO for training purposes on how to use the cylinders most efficiently.

There are plenty of benefits that LEO offers for OEMs and their customers. At Hydroline, we always want to offer our customers the best solutions and tools. LEO is the one of a kind invention and helps the users to extend cylinders’ lifetime. As the maintenance can be planned, there is no need for extra spare part cylinders: this saves money and time and also helps the environment. By extending the cylinders’ lifetime and getting the most out of them, we can increase the customer satisfaction and lower the production costs.

At the moment LEO is in a field-testing phase. There are approximately 10 on-going tests around Finland and more will be started during this year. The devices have shown reliable activity in variable conditions and we are extremely positive with the development work. The most concrete matter of the field tests has been that we have been able to determine the cylinder’s lifetime in its final using solution with the gathered load data.