04 Feb

Our current blog looks at Hydraulic Cylinders and acts as a guide to help you choose the correct type of cylinder for your hydraulic system.


As system layouts and sizes vary greatly, it can be a bit of a trial and error process to get the correct measurements for fitment. Luckily some manufacturers, such as ourselves, offer a bespoke cylinder option which can be tailored to specific power units with additional options also available, if required.


We will start with the most common type of cylinder, sometimes known as a catalogue cylinder, as they typically come in a range of pre-set measurements so you can browse through the standard sizes to find the best fit for your system. These are especially popular for smaller systems where the operational length of the system isn’t a big concern.


Standard cylinders can be a cheap, cost effective solution, but you have to bear in mind that if you have cut corners to get a non-bespoke cylinder, you may lose some of the extra efficiency and reliability a custom built cylinder could offer.


Next up are the bespoke cylinders themselves; the advantage of these is that they can be factored into the design of a system so form and function are perfectly suited to your custom build.


There are a number of key areas to look at when designing your bespoke cylinder. These include:


·     Space limitations – A crucial area to take into account when designing a bespoke system, as the cylinder will have to have ample room to be able to fit correctly and offer easy access when maintenance and servicing is carried out

·     Application type – The type of application that the cylinder will need to work with can play a large part in design, as for example, an offshore based unit could need the cylinder to be built from different materials, i.e. corrosion resistant materials and coatings etc.

·     Design – Dependant on what function you want the cylinder to perform, you can opt for either a single or double acting cylinder for your system, with the double working on both the extension and retraction of the piston. They are typically used where an external force is not present to retract the piston under its own power

·     Bore size – Another typical area that is looked at in the design process, cylinders normally come in a small or large bore configuration to suit your applications forces

·     Pressures – Cylinder pressure is a crucial area to factor in, as you will have to decide what pressure the cylinder will need to have to work well with your system. High pressure cylinders are more costly than low, however, if there isn’t a cylinder for your exact required pressure it is recommended to aim slightly higher than lower, as the effects of too low a pressure can greatly affect system performance. It is important not to go too high though, as this could put too much strain on components and potentially cause system issues


Servicing and maintenance plays a big part in ensuring that your cylinder is in prime working condition and with standard cylinders where ports and other components come pre-positioned, being able to service the cylinder easily could become a problem, whereas with bespoke versions the layout of componentry has been optimised to work closely with the system, thus maintenance is more straight forward.