There are two different types of hydraulic cylinders that can be used on all types of equipment, machinery and in different types of operations. These including the single action and the double action hydraulic cylinder.
Both can be highly effective, but the choice of one over the other needs to be carefully considered as the single acting cylinder and the double acting option to have some differences.
It is essential to address one misunderstanding with the single action cylinders. They can be used to both pull and push, but they have to have a force in the opposite direction greater than the pressure in the cylinder to return the rod to the retracted position.
There are also some of these cylinders designed with a spring system to act as a counter force, returning the piston to the retracted position without the need for force from the hydraulic system itself. When the hydraulic system is used to create the lifting or the pulling action, it compresses the spring. Once the load is released the spring naturally expands, creating the push to return the rod into the cylinder.
Customized Options and Cost
It is possible to have both double and single acting cylinders custom built, but the cost of producing the single action cylinder is typically lower than the double action cylinder. This is because with a single acting cylinder there is only one connection to the hydraulic line and from the line to the pump, and it is used to create the pressure to create the force to move the cylinder rod and the load. Gravity is used to retract the cylinder and move the hydraulic fluid through the line and back into the system for the next cycle.
Additionally, it is important to keep in mind there is less space required for hoses with the single action option, which can be important when the actual physical space for hoses, pumps, fluid reservoirs and other components are a factor.
Less Power Required
While this may not be the first consideration, with the use of a single-acting cylinder, there is less power required to operate the equipment. There is only power required on the lift part of the cycle as gravity will be used to retract the cylinder.
This is ideal in situations where there may be a DC power source or when the equipment is used under battery power. On remote work sites or even in some types of applications this may be an essential consideration.