Swift Delivery on Port’s Linkspan Hydraulic Cylinder Repairs

Routine maintenance for docking cylinders

Last year Apex was commissioned to repair a large number of cylinders used for ferry docking as a part of the dock’s routine maintenance. Ferry companies rely on large numbers of people and vehicles being able to embark and disembark quickly, so they don’t want to incur unplanned down time on any docking berth. Therefore they rotate preventative maintenance, doing routine repairs on each berth at regular intervals.

24 Cylinders

Once the ferry draws up against a port, the back of the ferry is lowered to meet the dock and 24 panels (moved by 24 cylinders) are extended from the linkspan. With wheeled traffic coming on and off, this is known as a roll on roll off connection (a RORO). While the panels push out, they also have to tilt to meet the ferry connection. This tilt needs to be adjustable according to the tide – with different docks having different types of tides and some requiring greater adjustments than others. Due to the tilting requirement, the hydraulic cylinders within the panels require a spherical bearing mounting.

Apex was asked to make the repairs as quickly as possible, so the docking berth could be back in action within a few weeks. The cylinders required several days to take off and put on, so Apex was requested to complete the repairs within two weeks.

Speed and Quality

Stripping down and re-chroming 24 cylinder rods would be highly time consuming, so as a time saving measure, new rods were made from scratch.
This method also allows production of the cylinder rods to begin before the delivery of the cylinders, where measurements are available prior to the cylinder’s arrival.

When the cylinders arrived, they went directly to strip and assessment for all other components to be examined. All seals were also replaced, along with the bearings. Valves were re-sealed and reset. The parts were reassembled in the fitting shop and thoroughly tested in the in-house inspection department, before being given three coats of offshore paint.


The result of the work was a series of 24 good-as-new hydraulic cylinders, ready for another cycle of service. All the work was completed within two weeks, allowing the cylinders to be back in place in time for the harbour deadline, minimising disruption at the dock. Due to the impressive turnaround time and high-quality repairs, the customer has since commissioned the overhaul of a second dock which Apex has recently completed. This has involved a similar number of cylinders repaired in the same short timeframe.


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