Hydraulic Cylinders: Different Types and Their Uses

Yellow hydraulic cylinder

Hydraulic systems use cylinders to apply linear motion without needing mechanical gears or levers by transferring the pressure from fluid through a piston to the point of operation. Also called motors, these work in both industrial applications and mobile applications. They can be simpler, more durable and more powerful than pneumatic, mechanical, or electric systems. There are tons of hydraulic cylinders for sale. Choosing the appropriate cylinder is necessary for attaining maximum performance and reliability. Here are some of the types that are available to you.

Single-Acting Cylinders

The head end port of single-acting cylinders operates in one direction only. To extend the piston rod, the fluid is pumped into the cylinder barrel. An external force like a load string is necessary to convert it to a non-pressurized state. Once energy is applied, the fluid drains from the barrel to the reservoir. Examples of single-acting cylinders are hydraulic jacks, spring-extends, and spring-returns.

Double-Acting Cylinders

In this type, both the rod ends and the head have openings used for pumping fluids to control the flow of fluid, providing movement for both directions. When you pump hydraulic fluid to the rod end, it retracts the piston rod and pumps fluid to the head which in turn extends the piston rod. Most raising and lowering devices fall under this type, such as closing and opening drawers of chippers and presses.

Tie-Rod Cylinders

Tie-rod cylinders are mostly used in manufacturing and industrial applications. This is because it’s quite easy to maintain, repair, and assemble. Threaded steel rods are used to hold the end caps of tie-rod cylinders together. These end caps help prevent fluid leaks. There can be anywhere from four to 20 tie rods used, depending on the application of the cylinder.

Welded Rod Cylinders

This type of cylinder weld end caps directly to the barrel. They are quite difficult to assemble and disassemble. Because of its compact construction, duty cycle, and internal bearing lengths, welded rod cylinders are ideal for mobile applications.

Telescopic Cylinders

Telescopic cylinders can either be single or double-acting. They contain more than five tubings, which are nested inside each other.

Tandem Cylinders

Tandem cylinders mean that two cylinders are interconnected. The piston rod of the first cylinder enters through the base of the second one as it pushes its base. This set-up allows greater effective surface area for both pistons which in turn generates greater force, even if the cylinder has a small diameter and has unaltered operating pressure.

Piggyback Hydraulic Cylinders

Piggyback hydraulic cylinders use two different cylinders going in opposite directions that are welded together. What happens is that twice the stroke happens while also taking up half the space. This set-up is ideal in applications that offer limited space but require a long stroke.

Plunger Cylinder

Hydraulic cylinder concept

Plunger cylinders only have one piston area and can only transfer forces due to pressure. They are often used wherever a definite direction of force ensures a return of the piston to its starting position. Retracting the piston can only be done through the weight of the piston or when an external force is applied. Examples of such include upstroke presses, lifting devices, and more.

These are just some of the possible hydraulic cylinders you can choose from. With this information, you can now select the right one for your needs.