• Home
  • Types of Hydraulic Cylinders

Types of Hydraulic Cylinders

Bailey designs, manufactures and sources the highest quality hydraulic cylinders available for any mobile application. There are different types of cylinders that will work best for your specific application. Below is a brief explanation of the most common cylinders along with some specialty cylinders that are available from Bailey.

The Basics

A hydraulic cylinder is an actuator that creates linear movement by converting hydraulic energy back to a mechanical movement. Cylinders are made up of a steel barrel, a piston connected to a piston rod that moves back and forth, and mounting accessories. They are used in equipment to lift, push, pull and press loads that require exceptional force.

Available in several different body styles, including tie-rod, welded and telescopic, hydraulic cylinders can be single-acting or double-acting.

Single-acting cylinders vs double-acting cylinders

In a single acting hydraulic cylinder, piston force is applied in a single direction when pressurized oil extends the rod. Once the oil is exhausted, gravity and the load return it to its natural position.

Double-acting cylinders can exert force in two directions. The piston cylinder is divided into two pressurized chambers that enable the rod to achieve both outward and return strokes. Pressurized oil allows the rod to move in either direction.

Single-acting cylinders are best for simpler applications, where you only need to push in one direction. Double-acting cylinders are more expensive to operate and maintain but offer both push and pull forces, have more precise control, and are better for repetitive actions.

Body Styles

Tie-rod Cylinders

Tie-rod hydraulic cylinders use high strength threaded steel rods to hold the two end caps to the cylinder barrel. They are held together by four or more threaded tie bolts that run the length of the entire cylinder tube. These bolts hold the baseplate and head together. They usually have static seals to prevent leakage between the barrel and end-cap interface. Tie-rod cylinders are best for medium to light-duty mobile applications. Their cost of ownership is lower, since they are easier to assemble, maintain and repair.

Rephasing tie-rod cylinders incorporate an internal bypass for synchronizing the cylinder in a series circuit. They are ideal for construction and agricultural applications where you need to lift independent loads plumbed in series.

Welded Cylinders

In a welded hydraulic cylinder, the barrel is welded to the end caps rather than using steel rods. Static seals are used to seal the head or gland of a welded cylinder.

Welded body cylinders have many advantages over tie-rod cylinders, including a compact design that usually can withstand higher pressures, often greater than 5,000 psi. Because of this, they are often used on mobile machinery where space is at a premium. Their rugged design not only makes them ideal for extreme weather and operating conditions, but also contributes to much longer service life than tie-rod cylinders because they do not fail due to tie-rod stretch at high pressures and long strokes.

Telescopic Cylinders

Telescopic cylinders are several individual cylinders (like the sections of a telescope) nested together in order of decreasing size. Because this style of cylinder is able to extend from its compact design, it provides an exceptionally long stroke. The collapsed length of a typical telescopic cylinder varies between 20% to 40% of its extended length.

Specialty Cylinders

Bailey's own Chief AT welded cylinders are a reliable alternative to tie-rod cylinders for lighter duty construction and agriculture applications. Unlike a tie-rod, there are no bolts -- they feature a snap on the rod end gland for easy field repair.

Rephasing cylinders are ideal for construction and agricultural applications where you need to lift independent loads plumbed in series, most commonly used for the steering function on equipment.

Bailey provides hydraulic cylinders designed for specific applications, including light-duty loader cylinders, snowplow cylinders, hoist cylinders specifically designed for use on dump truck bodies, dump trailers and other general hoist applications, and top-link cylinders that simplify 3-point hitch operations.

We also offer heavy-duty electric linear actuators that can be used in a variety of outdoor and indoor applications. They are perfect for applications that demand complex motion control for multiple variables, such as position, velocity, acceleration/deceleration, and output force common to many agricultural and mobile off-road applications, including lawn and garden equipment, dump trailers and scissor lifts.