How to Choose the Right Hydraulic Cylinder for Your...

How to Choose the Right Hydraulic Cylinder for Your Industrial Needs


Hydraulic cylinders can lift, push, pull, and perform many other tasks. Choosing the right one depends on your application and the force you must create.

The cylinders are usually made of steel to withstand hydraulic fluid pressure. The outer surface is often coated to prevent corrosion. Specialist seals are also used.


The material that the cylinder is made from will determine its performance. It must be strong enough to hold the weight of the load but not so heavy that it limits its flexibility and speed. It must also resist corrosion, as it will be exposed to the hydraulic fluid passing through it.

The cylinder tube must be machined and coated with a hard, wear-resistant material. It may be protected by paint, chrome, or a coating suitable for the operating environment and the corrosive chemicals used in hydraulic fluid.

The piston rod is another component that needs to be carefully selected. It will be subjected to intense stress and high temperatures, so it must be manufactured from a rigid, durable material. It must be carefully sized, as a rod that is too small for the bore size can cause damage and reduce efficiency. It must also be carefully designed, as a weak spot on the rod can create a dangerous leak under pressure.


The design of the hydraulic cylinders must consider many factors. These include the size of the load and whether it needs to pull as well as push. Other considerations are the geometry involved. For example, lifting a load that moves vertically requires more force than pushing it across the ground.

The cylinder must also be designed to withstand the environment in which it will work. Extreme hot and cold temperatures add to the demands on the system and could cause it to break down prematurely. Hydraulic cylinders must also be resistant to corrosion.

The cylinder must have ports to receive and discharge fluid. These ports must be sealed with specialist seals. These are often PTFE or Zurcon, and they must be capable of handling intense pressure. They must also be able to accommodate various-sized piston rods. The cylinder is usually connected to the piston rod with either a center line mounting or foot mounting.


Hydraulic cylinders are linear actuators engineered to create pushing or pulling forces in a straight line. Choosing the right hydraulic products for your application requires understanding various factors.

The first step is to determine the mass that the cylinder must move. This will affect the amount of force required to achieve the desired movement and the geometry of the action. For example, lifting a load up or down will require different staff than pushing it across the ground.

Once the mass is known, it’s time to select a cylinder size. This is done by measuring the cylinder’s bore or internal diameter. It’s also important to measure the cylinder’s extended and retracted lengths. This will help you calculate the cylinder’s required stroke length. Always use the proper lockout tagout procedures when measuring an active cylinder. This will prevent the possibility of an oil spill, which is highly hazardous to your workers and equipment.


Whether it is dust, dirt, or foreign material that finds its way into the rod seals or internals of a hydraulic cylinder, these particles can cause damage that reduces the lifespan of the hydraulic cylinder. Particle contamination and harsh operating conditions add to the maintenance needs of a hydraulic cylinder and may even require specialist seals with backup rings to accommodate extreme pressure levels.

A cylinder’s material must suit the environment and work with the type of hydraulic fluid used. Hydraulic cylinders also have different designs based on their intended use. For instance, a cylinder designed for a push motion has one chamber that receives pressurized hydraulic fluid; the opposite side is spring-loaded to cater to the retraction.

When a hydraulic cylinder needs repairs, following lockout tagout procedures and plugging the hydraulic hoses and ports is essential to avoid oil spillage or contamination. Cleaning the cylinder is also necessary to keep it free from any rust that could increase the force required to operate it.

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