Hydraulic Cylinder

Hydraulic cylinders are ubiquitous all around us, we see them so often in our daily life, and if we don’t pay special attention, we may not even realize it: in excavators, trucks, forklifts, tractors, aerial work platforms, mining equipment – Everything you need. A hydraulic cylinder is one of the four main components of a hydraulic system, and hydraulics is a technology in which a fluid (most commonly hydraulic oil) is used to move energy from a motor to an actuator: the most common is a hydraulic cylinder.

Hydraulic cylinders or hydraulic actuators are used in various industries, including manufacturing, construction, civil engineering, and aviation. These cylinders generate mechanical force in linear motion and are suitable for various applications. They are usually used to press, pull, push or lift something that requires special force.


What is a Hydraulic Cylinder?

In its most basic form, a hydraulic cylinder is a mechanical actuator. It provides unidirectional force and can be used in various applications, including elevators, manufacturing machinery, civil engineering, and construction equipment. Here are some of the more common uses for hydraulic cylinders. These cylinders are the key to many mechanical systems.
Different cylinders operate at different pressure levels. Their working pressures and wall thicknesses differ, as do their materials and procedures for attaching end caps. 

Hydraulic cylinders use hydraulic fluid to create pressure that forces pistons to extend or retract. Stress is created by Pascal’s Principle, a mathematical formula that produces stress. This combines with the pressure of the fluid itself, which is then applied to the piston and creates a mechanical force. This force is used to power the machine. Hydraulic cylinders work by pushing and pulling. Unlike air, hydraulic cylinders do not require a hydraulic pump.

How does a hydraulic system work?

The hydraulic system consists of five elements: drive, pump, control valve, motor, and load. The engine can be an electric motor or any type of engine. The primary function of the pump is to increase the pressure.

The hydraulic system consists of many parts:

The electric motor powers the hydraulic pump.

Hydraulic cylinders convert energy back into mechanical energy.

Hydraulic pumps push fluid through the system and convert mechanical energy into hydraulic fluid power.

Valves control the flow of liquids and relieve excess pressure in the system when needed.

Hydraulic cylinder configurator

With our online cylinder configurator, Rexroth cylinders can be adjusted to your specific requirements. You can complete your standard cylinder using the interactive catalog system with just a few mouse clicks. The Hydraulic Cylinder Configurator is quick and comfortable and offers a selection of the current range of hydraulic cylinders. This allows the use of type codes according to your requirements for replacement products or other hydraulic cylinder accessories. Or you use technical methods and configure your cylinder by specifying force, stroke length, and mounting position. Buckling length calculation is also integrated.


Single-acting or double-acting hydraulic cylinder?

There are two types of hydraulic cylinders: single-acting and double-acting. As the name suggests, single-acting cylinders work in only one direction; hydraulics move the rod in one direction, while the reverse movement occurs either by itself or by mechanical structures or by external loads. In a single-acting cylinder, there may be no piston at all, just a piston rod, and the oil pressure acts on the cross-section of the piston rod, causing it to move outward. Forklift trucks are an example of the use of single-acting hydraulic cylinders.

Double-acting hydraulic cylinders operate in both directions; the cylinders are moved in both directions by hydraulics, such as back and forth or in and out. Pistons separate the chambers, and when oil pressure acts on the pistons, the pistons move the connecting rods—oil acting on the front or back of the pistons—as the cylinder rod moves in both directions. Double-acting cylinders are used, for example, in excavator booms; excavator coops need to move back and forth, both of which require a lot of force.

The hydraulic system benefits are: 

  • The hydraulic system is self-lubricating
  • good power-to-weight ratio
  • relatively small components
  • Transfer energy quickly and flexibly with hydraulic piping
  • The actuation of hydraulic power generation can be eliminated due to the easy transfer of hydraulic energy
  • The hydraulic system can be controlled manually or using modern electronics.

The hydraulic system weaknesses are:

  • Transmission fluid cleanliness
  • Temperature-dependent properties of fluids
  • Transmission of electricity over long distances leads to system power loss
  • Components and hydraulic fluid require regular maintenance

What is the main function of the hydraulic cylinder?


Hydraulic cylinders derive their power from pressurized hydraulic oil. Hydraulic cylinders are also known as hydraulic plungers. The cylinder consists of a cylinder barrel and a piston. The barrel and head are sealed at the ends to prevent fluid from escaping. The piston contains slip rings and seals that divide the interior of the cylinder into two chambers. Once hydraulic pressure acts on the piston, the cylinder expands or contracts.
The cylinder of the hydraulic cylinder is made of steel or stainless steel and is coated with hard chrome plating. This type of coating is generally non-corrosive, but food-grade cylinders may require a different kind of material. For example, stainless steel is often used in food packaging, but this may require the use of coatings or special types of fluids. If you use water as your hydraulic fluid, you may want to consider cylinders made of stainless steel or Inconel.

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