The Telescopic Cylinder: A Variation On a Theme

If you are familiar with hydraulic cylinders, you understand that they are, to a very large extent, created equally. They are basic and essential workhorses, being employed in a wide variety of industries to perform various functions. Without their small but vital part in the workday world, so much lifting, toting and moving would not be accomplished. Among the various types of hydraulic cylinders, one is a bit more unique than its family members. This is the telescopic cylinder.

The “Abnormal” Telescopic Cylinder

The telescopic cylinder is known also called the multi-stage cylinder or a telescoping cylinder. Both names apply to its assembly. While most cylinders are constructed in a very similar fashion, with a piston and a cylindrical container, the telescopic cylinder presents a slight variation. It is sectional in construction.

The cylinder contains not one, but several collapsible units. These are several cylindrical rods. They are referred to as stages or sleeves and handle the telescopic cylinder being given the name telescopic. They fit inside each other in a uniform fashion with the sleeve at the bottom being the largest and the one at the top the smallest.

When pressure is exerted on the largest stage, the extensions start to extend. The largest one, he barrel or main, emerges first. It is then followed as demanded by each consecutive stage. The final stage to end the extensions is the smallest one called the plunger. The number of stages or sleeves that usually emerge ranges between 4 and 5 with 6 being the maximum allowable. In the retraction, the entire process repeats itself only with each stage falling into the other, the largest or barrel leading the charge.

The amount of pressure that results in an extension of the telescopic cylinder relies on the size of the load as well as the effective region. This is why the barrel extends first. If the pressure and flow remain constant, the movement will proceed from the barrel with the largest force but the slower speed to progress through the stages until it ends the movement of force with the smallest force but the greatest speed.

A telescopic cylinder can be single or double acting with the former representing the simplest design of this type of cylinder. In both instances, the extension pattern is identical. The largest barrel always returns first to provide a point of landing for the other stages or sleeves. The reasons they are also used is the same:

* Space: A telescopic cylinder can easily work within a limited amount of space where retraction demands it
* Stroke: It can provide the same strength or force of stroke as other cylinders can
* Cost-Effective: It proves to be cost-effective for what it delivers

The Telescopic Cylinder: Purpose Built

Those who employ the telescopic cylinder do so with a specific purpose in mind. They have a need to fit into a more confined space and perform correctly. For aerial platforms and dump trucks, the pack-ejector on garbage trucks and transfer trailers, the best performance is accomplished by a telescopic cylinder. A telescopic cylinder, after all, can reach for the sky without fear of crashing the load or piece of equipment harshly and catastrophically back on the earth.

If you are searching for the highest quality and most durable hydraulic cylinders in the industry, make sure you check out the products of Southern Hydraulic Cylinder, Inc. Founded in 1989, we continue to adhere to our original vision – quality and innovation in our line of cylinders, including the Telescopic Cylinder. To discover how we are there to ensure you only get the best, visit our site at


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