Cylinder Division - Europe

Cylinder Division - Europe - Solutions
Cylinder Division - Europe - Solution
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Lightweight Hydraulics - Delivering Higher Productivity

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Lightweight Materials vs. Steel – the Trade-off

Traditionally, hydraulic cylinders have been manufactured from steel. In arduous applications such as presswork, heavy duty, all-steel designs deliver reliable performance year after year. Where lighter designs are required, significant weight savings can be achieved by removing metal in low-stress areas or by centre-drilling the piston rod. Further weight reduction can be achieved by using light alloys for components such as manifold blocks. Where greater weight reduction is required, replacing steel with modern carbon fibre composite materials and light alloys achieves dramatic savings

It is generally true, however, that as the weight of a hydraulic cylinder falls, its price rises. With almost twenty years of experience in the development of composite materials, Parker has engineered hydraulic cylinders and other components which offer a range of weight savings to suit different application demands and price points.


Offering a significant weight saving at moderate cost, hybrid designs combine weight-optimized steel or light alloy tie rod cylinder components with a composite cylinder barrel - see 2 in the chart, and the illustration below. For greater weight savings, roundline designs are available which feature light alloy heads and caps and a composite cylinder barrel with a metal liner, as shown at 3. For ultimate weight reduction in most day-to-day applications, the greatest savings are achieved by using a fully composite barrel - 4 - which incorporates a unique diffusion barrier. For the most exotic applications, custom hydraulic cylinder and actuator designs incorporating materials such as titanium are available - see 5 in the chart above.

With weight savings of up to 60% compared to a steel cylinder and working pressures up to 700 bar, Parker’s lightweight hydraulic cylinders with fully composite barrels combine dramatic weight savings with exceptional burst and fatigue strengths.