Understanding Hydraulic Cushioning Valves

Written by andrea stein
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Understanding Hydraulic Cushioning Valves
Hydraulic cushioning valves reduce pressure on the hydraulic electrical circuit. (hydraulic machine image by Heng kong Chen from Fotolia.com)

Hydraulic cylinders, or motors, are mechanical actuator devices that produce force through piston strokes. Hydraulic cushioning valves reduce harmful pressure caused by this process.

Cylinder Pressure

Pistons exert power by creating pressure. As pistons thrust up during a stroke, they build maximum pressure, producing a shock wave that flows through the hydraulic electrical circuit. Valve cushioning reduces the shock caused by the piston stroke.


The cushion comprises a spear and sleeve. The cylinder moves back as fluid leaves the cap end, or bottom of the cylinder. The cushion spear closes, which forces the fluid to pass through the needle valve, a valve containing a needle-shaped plunger and a port that enables a precise regulation of fluid flow.

Needle Valve

The valve adjusts the size of the opening and sets a limit for the pressure allowed in the bottom of the cylinder. The force from the pressure causes the piston to slowly reduce speed, thereby limiting shock to the hydraulic circuit. When the cylinder extends, the cushion sleeve closes the cylinder opening, again forcing fluid to pass through the needle valve.

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