Best way to evaluate a hydraulic cylinder manufacturing company would be by the following parameters
This is huge. How many years has this company spent in the industry? This is important because 99% of the time the company with maximum legacy already has people who have seen it all. There will be no surprises. Working with them technically would be smooth. Any hiccups at design or manufacturing stage would be smoothly managed at their end. They might even help you with your design mistakes.
2. Quality Standards
While almost everyone touts quality these days, the true mark of quality is proven by the kind of checks a company makes or the way they align their processes to ensure that quality is achieved every single time.
2a. Barrels – What’s the Raw Material that they use for pipe? Is it Mild steel? Is it ST 52? SS?
2b. Piston Rods – What kind of Raw Material are they using for Piston Rod? What’s the chrome plating thickness that should be at a minimum that they have on their rod. Is there a maximum allowable thickness?
2c. Seals – What kind of seals do they use? Do they have any standards? How long has their association been with the seal manufacturer? A long association means higher success rate of working together.
Their answers should help you gauge their strength. Ask them what kind of documents are provided along with their cylinders. IS a test certificate available? What about Raw Material Testing reports?
3. Testing Standards
How do they test their product? What standards do they use? Do they have a facility in house? What is their existing capacity of Pressure?
4. Design Standards
Do they use 2D software or 3D? 3D reduces mistakes at engineering level. Do they have simulation facility? Are they suing pirated software? Avoid guys who use pirated stuff.
Can they help you choose material based on your requirements? Can they suggest improvements based on your needs? Can they help you with correct advice?
Do they have a home bred catalog? A company which has its own catalog with design guidance will generally be superior to the rest in the business. Its their design strength which sets them apart.
note – Stay clear of companies who are still stuck in manual drafting. They will keep you stuck in the 80’s forever.
5. Range & Experience
The range of cylinders a company manufactures gives us an idea about their design strength. Generally wider the range, better the company.
6. How do they manage their manufacturing?
Do they have an internal management system? Companies who work ad-hoc are seldom able to respond to situations where time and money are critical. They need to have a robust manufacturing process in place.
7. Relevant Machinery
Having critical machinery helps them to respond to your delivery schedule. A greater concentration of inhouse machinery means lesser amount of delivery risk. Specifically look for Grinding Machine, Boring Machine and Honing Machine.
Look around, is their workshop tidy? How is the housekeeping? A Good company always has decent housekeeping.
9. Are they cheap?
Simply enough, your equipment wants the most long lasting best possible product possible.
You should be looking for value and not the cheapest option available, you want cylinders which will last as they will increase life of your equipment, Will have reduced maintenance costs, reduced cost of repairs, higher production output due to lesser shutdowns.
What you have to look at is The Total Cost OF Ownership of the product and not the cheapest. You never ever want to go with the cheapest option available.
Ideally you should not need support. But in the rare case that you do, ask the following questions. Can they send their support engineer onsite? India / Abroad? Depends upon where your equipment is used by your customer. Can they provide seals based on your earlier order number? Cylinder serial number? Do they have any marking at all?
Based on above parameters there are again only two companies available.