What is a hydraulic cylinder?

Hydraulic cylinders are used to create mechanical force in a linear motion. They are used to lift something, push something, press something, and many other types of work. When you take your car to a mechanic and he raises it on a lift to inspect or work underneath, it is usually a hydraulic cylinder that accomplishes that. A hydraulic cylinder is made up of a steel tube, a piston with a rod attached that sticks out of one side (can be both sides for a double rod cylinder), and mounting accessories. There are several different styles of cylinders including welded, tie rod, telescopic, and industrial NFPA tie rod cylinders.

Hydraulic cylinders can be double acting (where pressurized oil moves it in either direction) or single acting (where pressurized oil extends the rod and then once that oil is exhausted, gravity and the load return it to its natural position).

To properly select a cylinder there are several factors to consider:

Bore size (tube diameter) which determines how much force can be developed at a given oil pressure

Required stroke of the cylinder (how far the rod extends)

Piston rod diameter which is critical since it must apply that force without bending or buckling

Required speed must be addressed since that determines the gallons per minute needed from the pump and determines the correct inlet and outlet port sizes.

How the cylinder will mount 

There are formulas and calculations to make sure the cylinder is sized properly. You may access them here. We here at Bailey Hydraulics want to be your trusted source for hydraulic products, system design help, as well as education and general support. After the sale, it’s the service and support that count!