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Rethink the economics of hydraulic cylinders

Ovako Cromax has long been a pioneer in the production of hard-chrome and nickel-chrome-plated products known as Cromax®. Due to the excellent quality and consistency of the products’ base materials and surfaces, these coated bars and tubes have consistently provided significant economic benefits and manufacturing opportunities for hydraulic cylinder manufacturers worldwide. These products are primarily used as piston rods, the critical component in hydraulic cylinders.

The performance of piston rods throughout their economic lifetime depends on two design factors: dimensioning and surface treatment. Proper dimensioning, in combination with superior base material properties, can sharply reduce the risk of fatigue, buckling and impact failure while the right surface will ensure low seal wear and limit the risk of surface damage or corrosion.  Utilizing our R&D and metallurgical capabilities, we have pioneered smaller diameters of bars for piston rod steels that reduce costs without compromising load-bearing capacity. 

In fact, the cost of a piston rod decreases by 15% if the diameter is reduced by 5 mm (see figure 1).  In addition to the reduced cost of material, the economic savings for manufacturing and plating as well as handling and processing of piston rods are significant.

The Ovako Cromax offering combines three factors – material, surface and service – to help customers minimize total cost and capital.

  • Material. To compensate for the reduction in rod diameter, Ovako optimizes the chemical composition of bars and tubes to ensure the structural integrity and eliminate slag inclusions. Ovako steel is also ideally suited for efficient hard-chrome and nickel-chrome plating, machining and MAG/friction welding.
  • Surface. To minimize costs and guarantee that the rod endures through its entire economic life in different environments, Ovako can adapt the surface to meet specific requirements with minimum additional surface treatments and the thinnest possible layer of chrome or nickel-chrome.
  • Service and reliability. Our independent plating units and steel mills, which guarantee fast and flexible delivery times of long bars, cut-to-length or machined/welded rods, help to minimize your working capital while ensuring low overall costs, consistent supply availability and performance reliability. With three steel mills and four plating facilities, we can ensure redundancy in the unlikely event of a production problem.

Our ability to reduce manufacturing costs and capital in the manufacturing process is backed up by the consistent quality of our products from batch to batch, achieved through careful control of the entire manufacturing process, from raw material sourcing to finished article.

The Ovako Group is a public company with transparent financials and the highest standards of business ethics and environmental protection.


Cromax products offer three standard levels of corrosion resistance:

Standard Cromax – a single chrome layer, subjected to special surface finishing process.

Cromax C – double chrome layer for increased protection against penetration and corrosion of underlying steel

Nikrom - nickel-chrome plated products for aggressively corrosive environments such as marine, offshore, mining, agriculture and many more. >>Read more


Figure 1. Cost of a piston rod as a function of the diameter.