Hydraulic Cylinder Types

Hydraulic Cylinders


At Neilson Hydraulics we design, manufacture, and repair all hydraulic cylinder types. We offer quick, efficient turnaround on repairs of general hydraulic cylinders, providing a detailed quotation, test certificate and serial number.


Throughout the hydraulics industry you will discover a wide variety of hydraulic cylinders. The most common differences between all types of hydraulic cylinders range from the material used to manufacture, the operating pressure and temperature, onto the wall thickness of the tube or end caps but also the methods used for connecting the end caps.


The most commonly used types of hydraulic cylinders though are single-acting and double acting cylinders.


What is the difference between single-acting and double-acting cylinders?


The most noticeable difference between the two is the number of connection ports. For a single acting cylinder, the oil flows into the single port and this is used to extend the plunger. The plunger is retracted then by spring, load, or gravity.


For a double acting cylinder, the oil flows into the bottom port and this extends the plunger. The plunger is then retracted by oil flowing into the second port.


Benefits of Single-Acting Hydraulic Cylinders


  • It is of simpler design than the double-acting hydraulic cylinder
  • Lower maintenance due to it being manufactured using fewer parts, therefore less problems to potentially arise.
  • If control and quick retraction is not required or essential, then the single-acting cylinders are perfect for these tasks
  • Requires only 1 hose per cylinder


Disadvantages of Single Acting Hydraulic Cylinders


  • With only one port uses, this means less controlled retraction
  • The cylinder can only push in one direction
  • The spring can become suspectable to quicker wear and tear.


Benefits of Double Acting Hydraulic Cylinders


  • Due to the connection ports being situated at both ends this allows the piston rod the ability to move forwards and backwards.
  • By utilising the extra port, control of the plunger is far greater during retraction, and thus ensuring that it returns to its starting point every time.
  • For tasks that requires accuracy and repeatability then these hydraulic cylinders are the choice over single-acting hydraulic cylinders.


Disadvantages of Double-Acting Hydraulic Cylinders


  • They require 2 hoses per cylinder
  • Are more complex in design and manufacture
  • The cost is greater in comparison due to the greater complexity.
  • The hydraulic cylinder will also require a pump with a 4-way valve



Other Types of Hydraulic Cylinder


Tie-Rod Cylinders


A large majority of manufacturing and industrial applications use tie-rod cylinders. They use high strength, threaded steel rods and nuts that run the length of the entire cylinder tube, to hold square or rectangular end caps to each end of the cylinder barrel. Seals are placed between the barrel and end cap to prevent leakage. Smaller hydraulic cylinders usually use 4 tie-rods, but larger bore cylinders can use up to 20.


A great benefit of Tie-rod cylinders over welded cylinders are that they are less complex than welded body cylinders and can be completely disassembled for service and repair.



Welded Cylinders


Welded cylinders have end flanges welded to the barrel and an end cap attached to each flange. End caps are secured in place by bolts that slip through holes in each end cap and thread into tapped holes in each end flange. Therefore, they are difficult for assembling and disassembling.


However, this construction is lighter and more compact than the standard tie-rod configuration. The compact construction therefore does make it more suitable for mobile applications.


At Neilson Hydraulics we manufacture and repair hydraulic cylinders.To speak to our technical team to help with your hydraulic requirements, please call 01709 821 002 or email sales@neilson-hydraulics.co.uk.

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