Telescopic cylinders are special hydraulic cylinder or pneumatic cylinder which provide an exceptionally long output travel from a very compact retracted length. Telescopic cylinders are also referred to as telescoping cylinders and multi-stage telescopic cylinders.
Typically the collapsed length of a telescopic cylinder is 20 to 40% of the fully extended length depending on the number of stages. Some pneumatic telescoping units are manufactured with retracted lengths of under 15% of overall extended unit length. This feature is very attractive to machine design engineers when a conventional single stage rod style actuator will not fit in an application to produce the required output stroke.
Heavy duty telescopic cylinders are usually powered by hydraulics.
An application for telescopic cylinders commonly seen is that of the dump body on a dump truck used in a construction site. In order to empty the load of gravel completely, the dump body must be raised to an angle of about 60 degrees. To accomplish this long travel with a conventional hydraulic cylinder is very difficult considering that the collapsed length of a single stage rod cylinder is approximately 110% of its output stroke. It would be very challenging for the design engineer to fit the single stage cylinder into the chassis of the dump truck with the dump body in the horizontal rest position. This task is easily accomplished using a telescopic style multi-stage cylinder