A cylinder is a mechanical device with a tubular barrel on the outside and a piston rod on the inside. A device as such can be used as a part in a power system to translate energy or force from one end to the other. It can also be used as a shock absorber or a cushion on a machine to protect the mass of the machinery. A cylinder used to absorb impacts usually has a coil spring set inside the tube. The miniature cylinders are not much different from the standard cylinders; they are in fact the device with identical composition for similar purposes except that the miniature cylinders are compact in size. The miniature cylinders are also known as the mini cylinders or compact cylinders.
A cylinder is a round barrel that contains several moving parts and seals. There is a capped end of the tube and an opening on the other. There is a rod that is able to travel inside the cylinder across the capped end and the open end. The rod is referred to as the piston. When the piston moves inside the cylinder, it divides the hollow space into two separated cavities. The piston rod, in different applications, serves as the medium to translate energy from one end of the cylinder to the other, or as an object to withstand the direct impact from one end of the cylinder. The miniature cylinders have the identical internal structure and components to a standard cylinder except that they are smaller in size.
The shock absorber is one of the applications of a cylinder. It is the key component in the suspension system of automobiles. The goal of a shock absorber is to damp and to absorb the shock impact from the ground when a vehicle is running on the road. By doing so, the integrity of the engine and other parts of the vehicle can be protected. Without the shock absorber to dampen the impact, the entire machine can be damaged.
The internal structure of a shock absorber is much alike to a regular cylinder, except that there are usually spring coils and fluid inside a shock absorber. When a force is exerted to one end of the absorber, the piston rod will be compressed and pushed into the cylinder. The spring coil and fluid inside the cylinder serve as a resistance force to damp the shock. Therefore, the piston rod will be forced back to its previous position. The size of the absorber varies based on the size of the vehicle it works with. Miniature cylinders are less common in such applications.
A pneumatic cylinder is also called the air cylinder. It is the cylinder that applies compressed air to initiate the linear movements of the piston rod inside the device. In this type of application, the anatomy of the air cylinder is slightly different from a general cylinder. There is also a piston rod that can be compressed into the barrel and extracted out of it. However, there can be a side opening on one end or both ends of a pneumatic cylinder. The side openings are the channel for the compressed gas to enter or exit the cylinder. The air cylinder with only one side opening is the single acting cylinder while the cylinder with openings on both ends is the double acting cylinder.
With a single acting cylinder, the compress gas is introduced into the cylinder from one end. When the gas enters the cylinder, it forces the piston to move toward the other end of the cylinder and the rod is pushed out of the cylinder. An external force is needed to push the rod back to its previous position. With a double acting cylinder, the compressed gas can enter the cylinder from both ends. When the gas enters the cylinder from one end, the piston is forced to the other end. The piston will be pushed back by the entrance of the gas from the other end of the barrel. This is called the double action. The miniature pneumatic cylinders are applicable for applications such as manufacturing and engineering automation.
Hydraulic cylinders are also known as the linear hydraulic motor. Instead of attaining the power from compressed air, the hydraulic cylinder applies pressurized hydraulic fluid to form the force. In most cases, the hydraulic fluid inside this type of cylinder is oil. The hydraulic cylinders also have a piston which connects to a piston rod inside the barrel. There is also one capped end and one open end for the piston rod to move on a hydraulic cylinder. The hydraulic cylinder works with a pump which supplies the necessary fluid for the cylinder. When the pressurized hydraulic oil is introduced into the cylinder barrel, it forces the piston to move outward of the barrel.
There are also single acting hydraulic cylinders and double acting ones. The way they work is similar to those pneumatic cylinders except that it is hydraulic oil that drives the piston inside the hydraulic cylinders. The hydraulic cylinders are efficient machines that are ideal for heavy duty applications in extreme environments such as in construction equipment, engineering vehicles, and manufacturing machinery. The hydraulic miniature cylinders can be used in general manufacturing processes such as assembling, clamping, feeding, lifting, lowering, positioning, sorting and more.
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