Case Study

Safely Replacing Bronze Overlay with Guide Bands


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


System Seals’ Cylinder Optimization Process revealed specific information that enabled the repair shop to remove the bronze and safely install new guide bands.


The change saved the repair shop and the steel mill an estimated $1,000 per cylinder for each repair, while reducing maintenance schedules nearly in half.

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.

System Seals Bronze Overlay Replacement Guide Bands

Rendering of the new guide bands

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.

The repair shop took the analysis to the steel mill, and based on the results, the mill allowed the shop to remove the existing bronze and machine new groves into the piston to receive guide bands. The move provided an estimated savings of $1,000 per cylinder for each repair, while reducing maintenance schedules nearly in half.

The Cylinder Optimization Process from System Seals also analyzed issues such as friction, extrusion potential and fluid compatibility. The process is free, and customers are provided complete documentation of their analysis.

Ron Claus

TEL 216.220.1800