Tie rod cylinder
Tie rod style hydraulic cylinders use high strength threaded steel rods to hold the two end caps to the cylinder barrel. They are most often seen in industrial factory applications. Small bore cylinders usually have 4 tie rods, and large bore cylinders may require as many as 16 or 20 tie rods in order to retain the end caps under the tremendous forces produced. Tie rod style cylinders can be completely disassembled for service and repair, and they are not always customizable.
The National Fluid Power Association (NFPA) has standardized the dimensions of hydraulic tie rod cylinders. This enables cylinders from different manufacturers to interchange within the same mountings.
Welded body cylinder
Welded body cylinders have no tie rods. The barrel is welded directly to the end caps. The ports are welded to the barrel. The front rod gland is usually threaded into or bolted to the cylinder barrel. That allows the piston rod assembly and the rod seals to be removed for service.A Cut Away of a Welded Body Hydraulic Cylinder showing the internal components
Welded body cylinders have a number of advantages over tie rod style cylinders. Welded cylinders have a narrower body and often a shorter overall length enabling them to fit better into the tight confines of machinery. Welded cylinders do not suffer from failure due to tie rod stretch at high pressures and long strokes. The welded design also lends itself to customization. Special features are easily added to the cylinder body, including special ports, custom mounts, valve manifolds, and so on.
The smooth outer body of welded cylinders also enables the design of multi-stage telescopic cylinders.
Welded body hydraulic cylinders dominate the mobile hydraulic equipment market such as construction equipment (excavators, bulldozers, and road graders) and material handling equipment (forklift trucks, telehandlers, and lift-gates). They are also used by heavy industry in cranes, oil rigs, and large off-road vehicles for above-ground mining operations.
Special hydraulic cylinders
The length of a hydraulic cylinder is the total of the stroke, the thickness of the piston, the thickness of bottom and head and the length of the connections. Often this length does not fit in the machine. In that case the piston rod is also used as a piston barrel and a second piston rod is used. These kinds of cylinders are called telescopic cylinders. If we call a normal rod cylinder single stage, telescopic cylinders are multi-stage units of two, three, four, five or more stages. In general telescopic cylinders are much more expensive than normal cylinders. Most telescopic cylinders are single acting (push). Double acting telescopic cylinders must be specially designed and manufactured.
A hydraulic cylinder without a piston or with a piston without seals is called a plunger cylinder. A plunger cylinder can only be used as a pushing cylinder; the maximum force is piston rod area multiplied by pressure. This means that a plunger cylinder in general has a relatively thick piston rod.
A differential cylinder acts like a normal cylinder when pulling. If the cylinder however has to push, the oil from the piston rod side of the cylinder is not returned to the reservoir, but goes to the bottom side of the cylinder. In such a way, the cylinder goes much faster, but the maximum force the cylinder can give is like a plunger cylinder. A differential cylinder can be manufactured like a normal cylinder, and only a special control is added.
The above differential cylinder is also called a regenerative cylinder control circuit. This term means that the cylinder is a single rod, double acting hydraulic cylinder. The control circuit includes a valve and piping which during the extension of the piston, conducts the oil from the rod side of the piston to the other side of the piston instead of to the pump’s reservoir. The oil which is conducted to the other side of the piston is referred to as the regenerative oil.
Position sensing “smart” hydraulic cylinder
Position sensing hydraulic cylinders eliminate the need for a hollow cylinder rod. Instead, an external sensing “bar” using Hall Effect technology senses the position of the cylinder’s piston. This is accomplished by the placement of a permanent magnet within the piston. The magnet propagates a magnetic field through the steel wall of the cylinder, providing a locating signal to the sensor.