Hydraulic Cylinders Explained: An Overview Of The Main Types

Hydraulic cylinders are also known as linear hydraulic motors. These are used to create a force and direct it through a single-direction stroke. Their applications are numerous, among these being vehicle engineering and machine manufacturing. The power comes from hydraulic fluid pressure.  Have a look below to understand the main types:

  1. Plunger cylinders

These normally don’t have a piston, but when they do, it’s got no seals. The type is used as a pushing cylinder and the total force is given by the piston rod area being multiplied with the pressure. Almost all such cylinders have thick piston rods.

  1. Low weight cylinders

A low height hydraulic cylinder is compact and therefore is employed where all other cylinders don’t fit. They’re easy to carry around and most have handles. Corrosion resistance is a very important feature when selecting such cylinders. These low profile parts are extremely suitable to confined spaces.

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  1. Differential cylinders

When it pulls, this cylinder acts just like the normal type. However, when it pushes, the oil does not return to the reservoir, but moves towards the bottom of the cylinder in question. This allows is to work much quicker. The force stays the same as with a plunger cylinder. Differential cylinders are not much different in design, they just have additional controls.

  1. Telescopic cylinders

In many applications, the total length of the whole cylinder is too big for the room available. In this case, a telescopic solution provides the ideal fit with hydraulic bolt tensioning pump greatly reduced cycle time. There may be too piston rods, one of these being employed as a piston barrel. The telescoping type is also known as a multi-stage unit (it can have two or more stages). Compared to normal cylinders, these are also much more expensive but are fairly easy to use.

Hydraulic cylinders are also differentiated based on their mounting method. The strongest have flange mounts, but these will also fail when slightly misaligned. Side mounted types are easy to install and maintain but the load requires careful and precise handling, plus support. Pivot mounts are more tolerant in terms of alignment but are not suitable to all systems. A centerline lug mount will allow for alignment changes in one plane. At higher pressures, any movement must be prevented through additional methods. The same goes for shock loading.