A Complete Guide to Hydraulic Cylinders

A complete guide to hydraulic cylinders

What are hydraulic cylinders, and how are they used?

Hydraulic cylinders are a part used in heavy machinery to generate mechanical force in a linear motion. They get their power from a pressurized hydraulic fluid like hydraulic oil. 

A hydraulic cylinder is a tube that is capped at either end, and it has a rod sticking out of one of its sides. 

Inside the cylinder, a piston is attached to this rod. This piston separates the cylinder’s internal rod side and its internal cap side. The piston rod is extended or contracted as fluid is forced into either side of the cylinder. 

This piston rod connects to the part of a machine that requires motion, such as the boom arm of an excavator or the platen of a press. 

Any time that linear application of force is required, a hydraulic cylinder will provide the strongest and most efficient linear motion possible. In fact, most hydraulic cylinders can extend with a force that ranges from a couple of thousand pounds to a couple of thousand tons. 

Since hydraulic cylinders can push, pull, and lift any kind of load, mobile machinery, such as excavators, dump trucks, loaders, graders, backhoes, and dozers, all rely heavily on them. 

In addition, hydraulic cylinders are commonly used in the manufacturing and civil engineering industries, too, as their applications can vary.

What are the different types of hydraulic cylinders?

Although all hydraulic loaders use the same general structure and follow the same basic principles, there are various types of hydraulic cylinders that exist. 

Hydraulic cylinders tend to vary depending on the machine that they are powering and the amount of force that is needed. 

Therefore, it is necessary to ensure you choose the kind of hydraulic cylinder that is best suited for the job you need it for. The following are some of the most common types of hydraulic cylinders that are available:

Single-Acting Cylinders

Single-acting hydraulic cylinders are used in most types of reciprocating engines, like those operating on petrol or diesel. Since single-acting hydraulic cylinders are often used to operate smaller mechanical devices, they tend to be lighter in weight and require little maintenance. 

During their operation, the air is supplied through a port on one side of the piston, causing the rod to move in one direction, allowing for actions such as lifting an object.

Double-Acting Cylinders

The main difference between a double-acting hydraulic cylinder and a single-acting one is that it has two air supply ports rather than one. 

This additional air supply port allows for more control over movement since the pressurized air moves in both ways, operating faster and using less energy. 

Double-acting hydraulic cylinders tend to be more expensive and, in certain situations, air consumption may be calculated at different speeds.

Tie-Rod Cylinders

Tie-rod hydraulic cylinders are frequently used to support, lift, and press heavy loads in industrial factory applications like agricultural and construction equipment. 

Tie-rod hydraulic cylinders are held together by threaded rods with reverse thread on the ends that are assembled with matching clevises. These threaded rods are called tie rods.

Small bore cylinders generally have four tie rods, while large bore cylinders may require as many as 16 or 20 tie rods in order to retain the end caps under tremendous amounts of force. 

Tie-rod hydraulic cylinders can provide power both while extending and contracting. They are generally easy to maintain, repair, and assemble.

Welded Body Cylinders

Welded body hydraulic cylinders do not contain any tie rods. Instead, the barrel is welded directly to the end caps, the ports are welded to the barrel, and the front rod gland is usually threaded or bolted into the cylinder barrel. 

That way, the piston rod assembly and the rod seals can be removed when they need to be serviced. Welded body hydraulic cylinders have a narrower body and a shorter length, which allows them to fit easily into tight spaces within machinery. 

Their welded design also makes it possible for customization, and special features like additional ports, custom mounts, and valve manifolds can be easily added to their body. 

Welded body hydraulic cylinders are commonly used in construction equipment like excavators and bulldozers, as well as in material handling equipment like forklifts and tail lift gates.

Telescopic Cylinders

When a single- or double-acting hydraulic cylinder contains five or more tubings nested inside of each other, it can be referred to as a telescopic hydraulic cylinder. 

These kinds of hydraulic cylinders are often used in dump trucks and garbage trucks, allowing the trucks to be lifted up and making it possible for them to handle extremely heavy loads.

How Great West Equipment Can Help You Purchase the Right Hydraulic Cylinder for Your Needs

Great West Equipment understands that every part of each piece of heavy machinery and equipment is vital. 

That is why we have every possible part that you could need available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, including various types of hydraulic cylinders. 

Our well-trained and qualified personnel would be happy to help you find the exact hydraulic cylinder that you are looking for and would be glad to offer their expertise and advice to ensure your satisfaction with the one you choose. 

We carry a huge selection of heavy equipment parts from various industry-leading brands, each of which is of the highest quality and is manufactured to meet OEM standards. 

Since our team is made up of product experts that are as familiar as can be with the equipment these parts are used in, we can also answer any questions you may have about specs or compatibility. 

As well, our full-service solutions can help increase your uptime, thus guaranteeing a positive return on your investment.

For more information about the hydraulic cylinders we have in stock or to request a consultation with regard to purchasing equipment from our extensive stock, call Great West Equipment at 1-833-730-0613 or contact us here.

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  • Posted on 14-02-2023 by Sam Andrews

    Hey! When I read this article, I could only think of my brother who wants to install some hydraulic devices to operate his garage. Thank you so much for making it clear that telescopic hydraulic cylinders may contain multiple tubings altogether. I’ll make sure he notices this info so he can purchase suitable equipment afterward.