Know the Language of Hydraulics: Hydraulic Cylinder Positions on Earthmoving Equipment

This article describes the hydraulic cylinder positions on different types of earth-moving equipment including, TLBs, excavators, loaders, graders, dozers, forklifts, telehandlers.
Know The Language Of Hydraulics Hydraulic Cylinder Positions On Earthmoving Equipment

Know the Language of Hydraulics: Hydraulic Cylinder Positions on Earthmoving Equipment

This Kappa Engineering article describes the hydraulic cylinder positions found on different types of earth-moving equipment such as TLBs, excavators, loaders, graders, dozers, forklifts, telehandlers, dump trucks and side tipping trucks.

Every operation scales and grows differently. Procurement managers and buyers have to know hundreds of OEM catalogues and thousands of parts with their corresponding part numbers to keep a mining or earth-moving operation functioning. 

This article aims to make jargon that is commonly used in the hydraulic industry available to everyone. Kappa Engineering specialises in manufacturing high-pressure 250 Series Hydraulic Cylinders and Tipper Series Hydraulic Cylinders used by the earth-moving equipment above.

250 Series Hydraulic Cylinders in TLBs, Excavators and Loaders

The typical 250 series hydraulic cylinders found in these machines are:

  • Bucket/Scoop Tilt Cylinder
  • Bucket/Scoop Lift Cylinder
  • Boom Lift Cylinder
  • Steering Cylinder
  • Outrigger Cylinder

TLBs, excavators and loaders can be used for construction, demolition and excavation. TLBs are a tractor-like vehicle with a backhoe at the rear and front loader. Backhoe loaders and TLBs (Tractor, Loader, Backhoe) are equipped with outrigger cylinders. Outrigger cylinders extend the outriggers that prevent the machine from falling over when the backhoe of the machine is being used. The section of the arm closest to the tractor is called the boom and that contains the boom lift cylinder which is usually the heaviest of all the hydraulic cylinders on the earth-moving machine. 

Excavators are especially, but not exclusively, used in open-pit mining. The tilt and lift cylinders of excavators are double-acting for increased control and strength because tilt cylinder and lift cylinders bear the most strain. See the diagrammed image below pointing out all the above-mentioned hydraulic cylinders on a TLB which indicates their positions and name.

TLBs, Excavators and Loaders labeled

250 Series Hydraulic Cylinders in Graders and Dozers

The typical 250 series hydraulic cylinders found in these machines are:

  • Blade Lift Cylinders
  • Blade Rotation Cylinders
  • Steering Cylinders

Graders are used in the construction of roads. Their large blade is used to flatten area before it is paved or tarred. Some graders will have rear attachments like rippers or a compactor. The hydraulic cylinder on the ripper attachment will allow the operator to control the angle and height of the attachment. The blade lift cylinders for a grader is usually compact and precise. 

Bulldozers are basically tractors mounted with a very large blade. Dozers are used in construction to move building rubble and sand. The blade is used as a support to stabilise the dozer as well. The dozer blade is usually mounted with two 250 series hydraulic cylinders to lift the blade. Dozer tilt models will usually have two hydraulic cylinders controlling the forward and backward tilt of the blade. Power angle tilt models will use only one cylinder for the tilt of the blade. Below is an image of a grader indicating the hydraulic cylinder positions and their names.

Graders, Dozers and Rollers labeled

250 Series Hydraulic Cylinders in Forklifts and Telehandlers

The typical 250 series hydraulic cylinders found in forklifts and telehandlers are:

  • Lift Cylinder
  • Tilt Cylinder
  • Steering Cylinder

Forklifts, or also known as a forklift truck or a Jitney,  are commonly used to lift objects and materials for short distances in manufacturing facilities and warehouses. Most forklift trucks are equipped with two tilt cylinders mounted between the fork carriage and mast. The hydraulic cylinders are usually double-acting. 

Telehandlers, also known as telescopic handlers, are very similar to a forklift but the long extending boom gives it the function of a crane. It is called a telescopic handler due to the use of a telescopic hydraulic cylinder that extends the boom of the telehandler. Telehandlers are very versatile because of the many attachments that can be mounted on the end of the boom. The image below of a telehandler with a forklift attachment points out all the 250 series hydraulic cylinders, indicating their positions and names.


Tipper Series Hydraulic Cylinders in Dump Trucks and Side-Tipping Trucks

The typical tipper series hydraulic cylinders found in dump trucks and side-tipping trucks are:

  • Front body tip cylinder
  • Drop-side tipper cylinder

Sloper or sloping cylinders are usually found on dump trucks. Dump trucks, sometimes called sloping trucks, are mostly used in earth-moving and mining. These hydraulic cylinders are typically multi-stage telescopic cylinders which allow the body of the trailer to tip the payload backwards at maximum height when unloading and then to retract into a small space while driving. Sloping trucks are generally used to carry heavy payloads over shorter distances, and when more precise off-loading is required. 

Side tipper cylinders are typically used in side-tipping trucks for the transportation of ores and coal as well as grains, especially over longer distances. See the image below of a dump truck with a side tipping carriage which points out all the above-mentioned cylinders, indicating their positions and names.

Side Tipper Truck

Side Tipper South Africa

Dropside Tipper Truck

Dump Trucks and Side Tipping Trucks labeled


We trust you have learned something about hydraulic cylinder positions and functions of capital equipment used in the mining and earth-moving industries. Kappa Engineering is dedicated to providing high-quality hydraulic cylinders to Africa. Contact us for assistance or with any suggestions regarding industry-related articles you would like to see.

Order your 250 Series Hydraulic Cylinders and Tipper Series Hydraulic Cylinders from Kappa Engineering. We manufacture hydraulic cylinders with any mounting type or port position you require. We manufacture every component of the cylinder in-house and we design and build custom hydraulics for specialised applications.

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