How are Hydraulic Cylinders Made and what are they used for?

If there is a tool that gets a lot of use across various industries, it’s definitely the hydraulic cylinder. Hydraulic cylinders find use in a wide variety of fields, including firefighting and offshore drilling. Hydraulic cylinders can do all kinds of incredible things, and do so all over the world each day.

They find use just about anywhere where strong; linear force is a requirement to get a job done. They hugely benefit mobile technology and likely will be with us for years and years to come.

But how are hydraulic cylinders made, and how exactly are they used across these many industries? We can’t blame you for being curious. Read on, and we’ll walk you through what you need to know.

What is a Hydraulic Cylinder?

A hydraulic cylinder is a mechanical mover that provides strong force in one direction. Hydraulic cylinders typically get their power from a pressurized hydraulic liquid, usually oil.

The cylinder creates pressure and then uses that pressure to move the piston piece of the cylinder forward. Such a device finds use in a variety of applications but is perhaps most well known for its use in construction machines.  We’ll discuss the use of a hydraulic cylinder in more detail later.

How is a Hydraulic Cylinder Made?

Hydraulic cylinders take on a lot of work and power. But it also takes a lot of work and power to produce this kind of impressive machinery.

First and foremost, hydraulic cylinder manufacturers use very sharp drills to work through steel and create the piston of a hydraulic cylinder. Workers place different sealing devices to ensure that fluids do not leak away from the piston and that debris or dirt stays clear of the piston rod.

Much of the hydraulic cylinder creation process is actually done by hand. Machines do some part of the process, but such sealers are usually put on carefully by human workers. Their care and attention to detail allow the piston to remain undamaged. Any sort of damage to the piston can ruin the effectiveness of a hydraulic cylinder, so workers take great care down to the final screw.

The Parts of a Hydraulic Cylinder

Understanding the various pieces that make up a hydraulic cylinder can help us to understand the construction.

The Piston & Piston Rod

The piston, as we discussed, is one of the most important pieces of a hydraulic cylinder. The piston has the core function of the device, which is separate the two sides of pressure that become created in the barrel. This causes the extension and contraction of the cylinder itself.

The piston attaches to the piston rod by a series of bolts, nuts, and threads. These are all placed in a fashion that allows for the transfer of linear motion.

The piston rod is a connector that works between the hydraulic actuator and the machine thread or mounting attachment. The piston rod is a piece of steel that extends from the cylinder to the rod-end head.

Cylinder Barrel & Head

The cylinder barrel itself is in place to ensure that the created pressure of the machine stays contained within the chamber. To do this, the inner portion of the barrel is ground down to an incredibly slim 4/16ths of an inch. This fine surface allows the piston to make free movement through the chamber as it moves up and down.

The cylinder head is then attached to the body by a similar series of bolts and threading. The head encloses the pressure into the cylinder with the assistance of various sealers.

Seals & Cylinder Caps

There a wide variety of seals, and which kind will be used on a particular seal will depend on the conditions and circumstances at hand. Factors such as cylinder speed, climate, working pressure, and so forth will determine what kind of seal needs to be used during construction of a cylinder.

Piston seals can be single acting or double acting depending on what is needed. Most seals are made from rubber and offer some elastomeric properties, though these sometimes don’t hold up to incredibly high temperatures.

For hydraulic cylinders that will be used in high temperatures, metallic seals made from cast iron are often used.

The cylinder cap ensures that pressure is kept in the chamber when the piston moves in and out. It also serves to help with cylinder mounting.

What is a Hydraulic Cylinder Used For?

Hydraulic cylinders find use in countless different applications. Essentially, anywhere that pushing, pulling, lifting, or lowering takes place, a hydraulic cylinder might be used.

These devices are most commonly used in construction machinery, where they help to control the movement of large cranes, trucks, and packing machines. But they are also a key part of the design of lifts, drill rigs, and dump trucks.

Hydraulic cylinders allow large machinery a level of movement flexibility that would be otherwise impossible. Any industry that benefits from such machines, including agriculture, drilling, firefighting, and more, has the power of the hydraulic cylinder to thank.

How are Hydraulic Cylinders Made?

You might use machines with hydraulic cylinders every day and still not know much about them. ‘How are hydraulic cylinders made?’ is a common question for many people, but the above information should give you a proper picture of how such a device gets made.

Understanding the function, parts, and creation of a hydraulic cylinder can help lead you to a better understanding of hydraulics in general.

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