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Single vs. Double Acting Cylinders

At Best Metal Products we offer both single and double acting cylinders for your application needs. A single acting cylinder uses hydraulic pressure that actuates the rod in one direction: extend or retract, while the double acting cylinder both extends and retracts. The single acting cylinder is available in piston or ram type, and gravity or spring returned, based on your application. The double acting cylinders we produce are all piston type. In addition to these differences, you will need to look at what else your application requires to choose the correct hydraulic cylinder.

Single Acting Cylinder

Single acting cylinders cost less than double acting cylinders and are simpler, making them easier to maintain. Single acting hydraulic cylinders mount in any position and are ideal for rugged industrial and mobile applications that need to be reliable.

Single acting piston cylinders commonly use fluid power to generate force in one direction, while gravity and the weight of the load being pushed or pulled, produces movement in the opposing direction. With our piston types, the hydraulic pressure is pushed against a sealed piston in one direction. Single acting piston cylinders can also incorporate a spring to facilitate movement in one direction. Hydraulic force moves the cylinder in one direction, which compresses the spring; the spring (not gravity), then creates the pushback. Once the pressure stops, the spring returns the cylinder to its resting position.


Double Acting Cylinder

In the double acting cylinder, there’s fluid on both the base and rod sides of the piston, so the force is delivered in both directions. Even for applications where gravity or weight can assist retraction, hydraulic pressure is still used so that it can control acceleration speed and soften the stop.

All double acting cylinder products that are manufactured by Best Metal Products are piston type. So, the hydraulic cylinder pushes against a piston while the seal prevents bypass of the fluid. We build four types of proprietary safety valves into our cylinders. These are what we call the “cartridge valves,” and they include pilot-operated check valves, flow control valves, internal bypass valves and counterbalance valves. We also have invested heavily in cylinder cushioning technology. Stopping fast travel in a precise, vibration free and repeatable way has significant advantages. It is a must for applications such as manually controlled man lifts, but also a perfect way to reduce mechanical stressors and lengthen the service lives of the cylinder and its components.

No matter the cylinder you need, Best Metal Products has you covered! Contact us to request a quote today!

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