Round Hydraulic Cylinders Guide

What are round hydraulic cylinders?

The round hydraulic cylinders, also called the round hydraulic actuators, are mechanical motion driving devices with the hydraulic fluids as the power source. The round hydraulic cylinders are linear devices and covered by round coatings, which thus makes the name of the round hydraulic cylinders.

A cylinder or an actuator is an important component on the mechanism of a device, since it facilitates the movements of the device by pushing or releasing the piston rod on the inside, in order to drive the moving equipments on the device. In other words, on the devices that are driven by the hydraulic systems, they are not able to work without the cylinders or actuators.


What is a cylinder?

By means of the back and forth movements of the piston that is arranged inside, a variety of cylinders are widely adopted for different applications depending on the materials, sizes, design, and different power sources that are provided for the cylinders to work. The most obvious variation is in the power sources of the cylinders, including the pneumatic cylinders, hydraulic cylinders, and electric cylinders.

The pneumatic cylinders are driven by pneumatic forces, which are usually compressed air or gas. These pneumatic cylinders work as the compressed air or gas, which is provided from the compressor or manual pumps, is fed into the cylinder with one or two ports. As the compressed air or gas is delivered into the cylinder, medium causes the piton to drive the connected mechanism. Once the cylinder is about to stop the operation, a spring or the compressed medium from the other side help the releasing of the piston.

The hydraulic cylinders, their working principle is similar to the pneumatic cylinders, while the media are replaced with the hydraulic fluids instead. As for the electric cylinders, they are equipped with electric motors, which utilize the electric power to transform into the kinetic energy, and send the energy to the applications.

In addition to the difference in the power source, the direction of the motion is another parameter that can be taken into account to understand the functions of the cylinders. For instance, for the machine tools on press machines, which commonly apply the cylinders in the motion transmission system, perform linear motion on the workpieces, the transmission of the motion is straightforward.

In other cases, for the rotary table on a lathe, the table is required to rotate along with the workpieces, in order to allow the cutting tools to perform angular cuts during one operation. At that time, the linear motion of the piston in the cylinder should be converted into the rotary motion with the help of the special design of the cylinder.


What comprises a round hydraulic cylinder?

A round hydraulic cylinder consists of a cylinder barrel, a piston and piston rod, the end caps on the two sides, and the oil seals.

● Cylinder barrel
The cylinder barrel is the body of the cylinder, which contains other components on the inside, and is able to withstand the pressure that is given from the hydraulic fluids, or oil, to flow along with the movements of the piston and piston rod during operation.

● Piston and piston rod
The assembly of the piston and the rod is the moving part of the round hydraulic cylinder, which means the motion of this assembly is driven with the supplying of the hydraulic fluids.

● End caps
The end caps that can be seen on the two ends of the cylinder barrel are used to enclose the chamber of the cylinder. There are some methods that can be applied to achieve the enclosing of the cylinder, including welding, threading, or fixing these parts with bolts or tie rods.

 Oil seals
The oil seals, as the name implies, are used to seal around the piston rod, in order to prevent the leakage of oil, and thus eliminate the possibility of the cylinder to malfunction even if the supply of the oil is sufficient.


How does a round hydraulic cylinder work?

The round hydraulic cylinders can be divided into two types depending on the operation methods, including the single-acting round hydraulic cylinder and the double-acting round hydraulic cylinder.

 Single-acting round hydraulic cylinder
This type of cylinder has only one port for the hydraulic fluids to be fed into, and allows for only one direction of the piston movement. As the hydraulic fluids flow into the cylinder, the fluids would push the piston to move, and thus drives the moving part of the connected application. Once the operation of the application is supposed to stop, a spring would help return the piston to its initial position. 

 Double-acting round hydraulic cylinder
As for the double-acting type, there are two ports for the hydraulic fluids to enter the cylinder. One is for pushing the piston and the piston rod, and the other is in charge of the retracting of them.

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