To reduce maintenance and repair costs by replacing bronze overlay with composite guide bands.


System Seals’ Cylinder Optimization Process (COP) confirmed the bronze guidance would be safely replaced with guide bands made from MTC20 composite material.


The change to MTC20 saved the repair shop, and in turn the steel mill, an estimated $1000 per cylinder for each repair, and doubling the time between scheduled maintennance.

Bronze guidance systems pose a particularly challenging repair-and-maintenance regimen. Spray welding bronze overlay and machining the weld to a precise tolerance is time consuming and expensive. So when an Arkansas cylinder repair shop discovered a viable alternative, there was little hesitation.

The shop launched a pilot project that involved ladle tilt cylinders, which they were servicing for a nearby steel mill. The repair shop had always wanted to replace bronze overlay with guide bands on both the rod and piston, but they were unsure if the bands could survive the harsh side loads. And no steel mill was willing to take the risk without more information.

System Seals’ new Cylinder Optimization Process had just come on line. It was designed specifically to analyze these kind of concerns. The process uses a proprietary algorithm that precisely analyzes side load by measuring reaction loads, stresses and strains across a selection of guide bands inside a given cylinder.

Knowing these exact measurements eliminated the guesswork and allowed engineers to make improvements without the fear of failure. For the repair shop, the side load was analyzed, and the results revealed that guide bands could in fact replace the bronze on the piston. However, the strength of the bronze was still needed to withstand side loads on the rod.

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