There seems to be as many places to buy hydraulic cylinders as there are types of cylinders. Whether you’re looking at industrial or mobile hydraulic cylinders, searching for tie rod, telescopic or non-repairable types, the choices can seem pretty confusing. Here’s a look at ten websites that offer hydraulic cylinders, with a description of their options, features and ease of use. Click the company name to visit the website.
This site has its own cylinder configurator. It does require registration, but it is free and pretty easy to do. Once logged in, you select bore size, mounting style, stroke length, piston rod diameter, piston rod thread size, port type, front and rear port locations, front and rear end cap cushions, and whether you need a double rod end cylinder. There are also other options, as well as NFPA cylinder accessories and seal kit fields. Along the way, there is a nice “Helpful Hints” button that gives details on each possible selection. (Beware, I was confused about how to get back to the configurator—there is a large gray button at the top you have to use, the browser back button doesn’t work here.)
Once you enter all the data, the configurator allows you to generate the product specs, download a 2D drawing or download a dimensioned PDF … though technically, the PDF is later emailed to you (it only took a few minutes to get mine). You can also start with one of their standard products and tweak it to your exact specifications. All in all, a pretty straightforward and easy-to-use site.
Eaton has what they call a Cylinder CAD Configurator, which is free to use but requires you to create an account if you want to download CAD files of what you create. As you select bore, model series, rod type, mounting style, key plate specs, stroke, rod position, rod size, etc., it builds up a part number for you. The 3D plugin didn’t seem to like my my Mac browser, but the other aspects of the site worked. I was impressed that it also gave the normal shipping time for the cylinder I created—a very reasonable 5 business days. My only frustration was that when I clicked on the “Price Configurator Home,” link (which I thought would be a different area, with pricing info), it reset all my values, so I had to rebuild my cylinder … but even then, I was not able to immediately see how to get the site to tell me what it would actually cost.
This cylinder configurator was run by the same software that runs the Eaton site’s configurator, so there’s really no difference between the two, that I could tell.
While this site doesn’t seem to have any sort of online configurator, there is a fair amount of technical information on the cylinders they do offer. If you click on the Request A Quote link, it takes you to an RFQ page that asks for pretty detailed information on what type of cylinder you need, including: Single or double acting, telescopic or single stage, bore size, rod size, overall length, stroke length, mounting method (both rod and cap end), temperature range, operating pressure, maximum pressure, port type/location, fluid type, and number desired. It also allows you to attach a file, if you need to. So all in all, it seems like this form would get you talking with them at a fairly advanced stage.
We checked out the mobile cylinders section of the site, and then chose a custom-built tie rod style. But although the site gave specs, it wasn’t obvious how to actually craft my own version and get delivery or pricing information. I backed up a bit and navigated over to the WHD Series standard build piston rod cylinders, but same thing. “Where to buy” got me to a handy find-a-distributor-by-zip-code type page, but still nowhere to build my own. Honestly, a bit frustrating.
This site, while not particularly what I would call a configurator, was pretty straightforward. Choosing a cylinder product takes you to a page where you enter the bore size, and it returns a catalog-like list of all the cylinders offered, each with a “BUY” button next to it. There’s also a dropdown menu at top center with a link to the Custom Cylinder Worksheet. This extremely detailed form prompts you to enter a great deal of information about both the cylinder required and the application you will be using it for. You can even choose among three paint colors!
This site, like some others, seemed limited to catalog-like page listings for the various cylinder families that are sold. While you could click to download RC Duo drawing files, it wasn’t obvious to me how to actually order one of their cylinders, until I noticed the “Distributor Search” button at upper right … which many people might confuse with the simple keyword search tool that so many sites put in that location. When I went to my local distributor’s site, I basically found a link back to the Enerpac site when I looked for more details.
On this site, clicking on a product takes you directly to a catalog PDF, but there is a product configurator, accessible in the top menu bar. The configurator, which contains several pages, is very easy to follow, with the first page asking for model, mounting type, cushions, bore size, piston seals, stroke, ports, rod diameter, rod seals, etc. Subsequent pages address special options and accessories. To access the CAD download, the site does require you to register.
This site seemed to be catalog-based, with downloadable spec sheets. I couldn’t find a configurator until I tried typing the word into the site’s Search bar. That got me as far as a pneumatic cylinder builder, which was more of a page-by-page, step-by-step approach, entering one piece of data at a time, and then going to the next step (here is the configurator). As you build the cylinder, the part number at top grows to reflect your choices. At the end, it gave me a price in Euros, so obviously, I’d migrated to the European version of the site.
A pretty straightforward site, where you can view catalog-type data on their different lines, but no configurator to be seen. You can find pricing and availability for some products. There is a distributor finder and also some options (like inventory) that require a user name and password.
Murray Clark says
I would be very interested from a user perspecitve what features are required on the website to help select the correct cylinder.
If you are looking for an easy tool to search for high pressure hydraulic cylinders, please try http://www.cylinderfinder.com
Barry Whitehouse says
Great to be linked to the IFH Group!
When choosing a cylinder/linear actuator, It has to fit into your equipment or design, it has to comply to specs… all that we all understand. More important are the parts you don’t see or specify. The piston head design, bearing surfaces, seal material and design, and the fits and finishes will determine the MTBM. Easily replaceable non-metallic bearing bands spares cylinder wear with sacrificial bearings. Bearing length is important, proper fits and narrow tolerances, proper finishes for the medium, liquid or gas, are all important considerations. Most critical is seal material and design. Become educated in these aspects of cylinder design and performance to move toward a lower maintenance and an extended leak-free equipment plant environment.
I wrote a book on it.
Aaron Smith says
My company recently launched a configurator for ITT Compact Automation that you can try out at http://config.compactautomation.com/cfg/itt.ca/inch. They require a simple user registration prior to access.