Apex Extends Cylinder Life By Over 700%


Our Work

Apex were recently approached by the largest producer of coal in the UK. Producing up to 5m tonnes of coal a year and providing over 2000 jobs they light up million homes in Britain; as a significant supplier of energy to the UK’s electric industry they run operations 24hrs a day and 7 days a week. High demands make it imperative production rates are consistent and continuous.

The arduous conditions in which coal is mined underground leave vital components subjected to acidic water, abrasive coal dust and high impact from coal itself. This environment resulted in critical skip door catch-frame cylinders (used to tip 20 ton coal skips) lasting a mere four to eight weeks before succumbing to significant corrosion on piston rods, cylinder bore and piston ends. This corrosion was not only costly due to repairs but created significant downtime and slowed production. The Client sought Apex for a solution that would maximise performance, increase production and drive down costs. Initially Apex redesigned the cylinders and improved the material specification and also fitted an induction hardened Stainless Steel piston rod. This was a big improvement as cylinders now lasted nine months before being changed as a matter of preventative measure and not because of cylinder failure. Apex had extended the cylinder life initially from one or two months to 9 months.


After 15 months Apex removed the cylinder for evaluation to discover the cylinder and all its components in perfect condition.

After removal further inspection of the cylinder revealed it to be in perfect condition internally, however the Stainless Steel rod was showing signs of corrosion. As a further measure Apex repaired and upgraded the cylinder by applying COREX Extreme protection coating to the piston rod. After 15 months Apex removed the cylinder for evaluation to discover the cylinder and all of its components in perfect condition (bore, piston end, piston rod and gland) with no corrosion at all. The cylinder was again re-fitted, needing only re-sealing and is fully operational. The cylinder will now come under review in 18 months time.

The total cost for the upgraded cylinder was £10,000.00 compared to the £6,5000 for the standard spec. However, if you take into account the calculated standard spec repair costs (on an average £4,000.00 up to eight times in a year) the upgraded cylinder proves highly cost effective as well as efficient. Over 12 months the upgraded cylinder will save the client on average £28,500.00. This did not take into account the customers labour rates or downtime.

Apex have always specialised in custom made cylinders that meet the needs and requirements of individual customers, this project was no exception.


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