Skip to main content

The Complete Guide to Single Acting Hydraulic Cylinders

In the industrial world, cylinders are an essential component to any high-powered job.

Bulldozers, dump trucks, tow trucks, and everything in between require a reliable and effective hydraulic system to make any job run smoother. Hydraulic cylinders are manufactured into single-acting, double-acting, or custom fabricated models. How does one decide which cylinder to use?

In the content below, we provide the complete guide to single acting hydraulic cylinders and their applications, helping you decide which best suit your needs.

Single Acting Hydraulic Cylinders: An Overview

Single acting hydraulic cylinders are precision-manufactured from special pressure-rated ASTM A-53 Grade B pipe. Each cylinder plunger/rod is turned and polished to a 16 to 32 RMS
finish for optimal function and sealing performance. The casing, or cylinder barrel, is welded together using thick end-head plates and special welding wire to ensure leak-free pressure rated performance. Once all the components are produced and final assembly is conducted, each cylinder is 100% hydraulically tested for smooth operation and proper performance before shipping.

How Single Acting Hydraulic Cylinders Work

The simpler design of a single acting hydraulic cylinder creates fewer components to maintain. For equipment and projects needing an effective and reliable hydraulic cylinder, single acting may be your best option. Single acting cylinders have only one acting port that allows the hydraulic fluid to enter. This single line of action is calibrated by pressure, often with a spring or push to retract the piston rod that occasionally relies on pressure to again push the spring back in place.

DUSL-Style Cylinders

DUSL-style cylinders feature two replaceable glass-filled nylon wear rings in the upper bearing housing that provide superior load bearing capabilities. The seal and wiper are made from a high-performance thermoset polyurethane compound for long life and ozone and abrasion resistance.

SUSL-Style Cylinders

SUSL-style cylinder is made using a cast-iron upper bearing housing that is easily replaceable and will perform ruggedly for many years. The seal and wiper are made from a highly abrasion-resistant buna N compound that has proven itself for decades.

Benefits of Single Acting Hydraulic Cylinders

Lower Costs

A benefit to single acting hydraulic cylinders is lower manufacturing, installation, and repair costs. With only one port to support instead of two, piping and valve purchases cost much less.

Compatible with Compact Systems

Due to their single port and small housing, single acting hydraulic cylinders work well with smaller equipment. In most cases, if smaller equipment design allows room for the ports, fluid transfer, and venting, this cylinder will be highly compatible.

It is important to note that the spring mechanism in single-action cylinder interiors requires venting, giving the assembly an outlet to the outdoors. However, if not monitored properly, particles can enter the cylinder and cause potential breakdowns or gradual decline in performance.

Custom Hydraulic Cylinders for Lift Applications

When a standard cylinder model fails to meet your specific needs, consider specialty fabrication or custom hydraulic cylinders. All SVI cylinders can be purchased with a choice of optional fiberglass coating or in five standard finish colors. For harsher applications, industrial hard chrome is available for the plunger surface to prolong life and prevent corrosion.

Upon deciding which hydraulic cylinders to incorporate in your custom lift application, you need to then specify the size lift for your industry needs. Below, we discuss common custom lift applications.

Semi-Hydraulic or Full Hydraulic Applications

Before selecting the best-suited custom hydraulic lift for your business needs, decide if you will require a semi-hydraulic or full hydraulic cylinder application. Cylinders are available in many stroke lengths and up to five different diameters to suit your capacity or force requirements.

Custom SESM Lifts

Small Equipment Shop Maintenance (SESM) lifts can effectively engage in the sale, service, and use of smaller equipment. Because SESM lifts can be customized according to your niche applications, they often increase business productivity and overall employee safety. Exploring the custom SESM lift options allows you to highlight the selling or servicing of your equipment safely and efficiently in motorcycle shops, ATV dealers, golf cart dealerships, landscape equipment maintenance shops, and other small equipment businesses.

Custom LESM Lifts

Finding the right hydraulic lift for your large or heavy equipment can be challenging. However, Large Equipment Shop Maintenance (LESM) lifts provide a perfect solution for lifting your heavy objects such as skid steers, agricultural equipment, tractors, or any other equipment weighing over 100,000 pounds. To ensure safety and efficiency, you need a custom, reliable hydraulic lift guaranteed to complete a project with ease. When ordering your customized LESM lift, you can specify additional functions and dimensions to best suit your industry needs.

Custom Showroom Lifts

Every dealer providing top quality equipment could use a showroom lift to help increase sales of mowers, golf carts, ATV’s, or any other equipment, while demonstrating platform lifts to clients who are conscientious about improving their own productivity. Implementing a platform-style showroom lift will raise your best equipment to a height more palatable for customer viewing and interaction. As a result, fewer customers will be forced to bend over while examining controls or other significant features.

Custom Hydraulics for Your Application at SVI International

Are you in the market for a custom made, low-pressure, high capacity, single acting, hydraulic cylinder? Finding a reliable custom hydraulic manufacturer with high-quality products doesn’t have to be difficult. At SVI International, we are the industry’s leading supplier of high capacity, single acting cylinders for all types of applications.

Besides traditional, every-day parts, SVI is known in the industry as the problem solver – tackling specialty lift concerns with innovative products. Our supply of high-quality products can play a significant role in protecting your auto lift investment.

We are just a phone call away. If you have questions, concerns, or need help placing an order, please reach out at (800) 321-8173 or via our online contact form.

Related posts


Frequently Asked Auto Lift Questions: Part 1

When it comes to auto lifts, there is no good, single source for answers out…

tire changer parts

Choosing the Best Tire Changer for Your Auto Shop

The sheer amount of tire changer and tire changer parts that exist can make choosing…

All names, numbers, symbols and descriptions are used for reference purposes only. It is not implied that any part or product listed is the actual product of these manufacturers. SVI does not represent and is not associated in any way with any other companies.

Have any questions?

We’ll get right back to you — Contact us now.
Contact us

Quick Reference

Easy Access to Products, Resources, and More