A hydraulic cylinder has the following parts:

Cylinder barrel

The main function of the cylinder body is to contain cylinder pressure. The cylinder barrel is mostly made from honed tubes. Honed tubes are produced from Suitable To Hone Steel Cold Drawn Seamless Tubes (CDS tubes) or Drawn Over Mandrel (DOM) tubes. Honed tubing is ready to use for hydraulic cylinders without further ID processing. The surface finish of the cylinder barrel is typically 4 to 16 microinch. Honing process and Skiving & Roller burnishing (SRB) process are the two main types of processes for manufacturing cylinder tube. The piston reciprocates in the cylinder.The cylinder barrel has features of smooth inside surface,high precision tolerance, durable in use etc.

Cylinder base or cap

The main function of the cap is to enclose the pressure chamber at one end. The cap is connected to the body by means of welding, threading, bolts, or tie rod. Caps also perform as cylinder mounting components [cap flange, cap trunnion, cap clevis]. Cap size is determined based on the bending stress. A static seal / o-ring is used in between cap and barrel (except welded construction).

Cylinder head

The main function of the head is to enclose the pressure chamber from the other end. The head contains an integrated rod sealing arrangement or the option to accept a seal gland. The head is connected to the body by means of threading, bolts, or tie rod. A static seal / o-ring is used in between head and barrel.


The main function of the piston is to separate the pressure zones inside the barrel. The piston is machined with grooves to fit elastomeric or metal seals and bearing elements. These seals can be single acting or double acting. The difference in pressure between the two sides of the piston causes the cylinder to extend and retract. The piston is attached with the piston rod by means of threads, bolts, or nuts to transfer the linear motion.

Piston rod

The piston rod is typically a hard chrome-plated piece of cold-rolled steel which attaches to the piston and extends from the cylinder through the rod-end head. In double rod-end cylinders, the actuator has a rod extending from both sides of the piston and out both ends of the barrel. The piston rod connects the hydraulic actuator to the machine component doing the work. This connection can be in the form of a machine thread or a mounting attachment. The piston rod is highly ground and polished so as to provide a reliable seal and prevent leakage.

Seal gland

The cylinder head is fitted with seals to prevent the pressurized oil from leaking past the interface between the rod and the head. This area is called the seal gland. The advantage of a seal gland is easy removal and seal replacement. The seal gland contains a primary seal, a secondary seal / buffer seal, bearing elements, wiper / scraper and static seal. In some cases, especially in small hydraulic cylinders, the rod gland and the bearing elements are made from a single integral machined part.


The seals are considered / designed as per the cylinder working pressure, cylinder speed, operating temperature, working medium and application. Piston seals are dynamic seals, and they can be single acting or double acting. Generally speaking, Elastomer seals made from nitrile rubber, Polyurethane or other materials are best in lower temperature environments, while seals made of Fluorocarbon Viton are better for higher temperatures. Metallic seals are also available and commonly use cast iron for the seal material. Rod seals are dynamic seals and generally are single acting. The compounds of rod seals are nitrile rubber, Polyurethane, or Fluorocarbon Viton. Wipers / scrapers are used to eliminate contaminants such as moisture, dirt, and dust, which can cause extensive damage to cylinder walls, rods, seals and other components. The common compound for wipers is polyurethane. Metallic scrapers are used for sub zero temperature applications, and applications where foreign materials can deposit on the rod. The bearing elements / wear bands are used to eliminate metal to metal contact. The wear bands are designed as per the side load requirements. The primary compounds used for wear bands are filled PTFE, woven fabric reinforced polyester resin and bronze

Other parts

There are many component parts that make up the internal portion of a hydraulic cylinder. All of these pieces combine to create a fully functioning component.

  • Cylinder base connection
  • Cushions
  • Internal Threaded Ductile Heads
  • Head Glands
  • Polypak Pistons
  • Cylinder Head Caps
  • Butt Plates
  • Eye Brackets/Clevis Brackets
  • MP Detachable Mounts
  • Rod Eyes/Rod Clevis
  • Pivot Pins
  • Spherical Ball Bushings
  • Spherical Rod Eye
  • Alignment Coupler
  • Ports and Fittings

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