A steady supply chain is vital to any manufacturer’s daily operations. Consequently, new supply chain options have been created to reinforce their chains against the various unprecedented environmental, economic and political problems.

Despite the events of the past few years, many companies have managed to maintain their crucial supply chains by exploring new methods of fulfilment. This involved re-evaluating every aspect of the chain, from discovering local suppliers to new transportation methods and investigating more environmentally friendly options.

supply chain graphic

Supply chains have been stabilised for many manufacturers, but this is no guarantee for the future. The only sure way to ensure a robust supply chain is to constantly work on improving your connected chain.

Results of Supply Chain Disruptions

Unprecedented world events have put a significant strain on supply chains and threatened the productivity of many suppliers.

Supply chains have two sides, upstream and downstream, with manufacturers in between. Upstream refers to receiving items such as raw materials, and downstream involves passing on your manufactured goods and fulfilling your client’s orders.

The main challenge that harmed various supply chains was the erratic nature of upstream. Many international companies rely on raw materials from countries like China. As a result, unexpected delivery disruptions would extend lead times, increase costs and affect the chain downstream.

The transportation of goods is still struggling to recover from these disruptions. Ship shortages, port shutdowns, and shipping container shortages create potential delays for supply chains. Whether a Chinese port in a quarantined province or delays at UK’s Felixstowe port, manufacturers need to assess their resources routes for their time and cost efficiency.

These challenges revealed the importance of the international supply chain to the economy. The ripple effect of a supply chain disruption will affect every element of its connected chain and have potentially dire consequences for associated businesses.

Effective supply chain management is crucial for spring manufacturers who wish to avoid as many disruptions as possible and maintain their productivity.

supply chain harbour

3 Supply Chain Management Phases

Maintaining a solid supply chain involves employing management methods and customising them to best suit your specific operations.

International supply chains are not as reliable as they used to be. Managers can no longer assume the estimates they once did and must reassess the situation with every order. Fortunately, three straightforward techniques will build a resilient supply chain.

  • Design is the initial planning stage. An essential time when you’ll create a plan for sourcing the raw materials needed from suppliers and how best to transport them.
  • Planning has a similar sounding function as design but with a unique difference. The design will create a detailed plan for a durable supply chain, but planning will add necessary contingencies so you can adapt to any unforeseen changes. Supply and demand is a fluid element of business that changes throughout the year. Therefore, an adaptable supply chain is far more successful than a rigid one resistant to change.
  • Execution is how your planned designs will be enacted and their progress. Manufacturers will need to monitor the progress of their sourced materials and distribution to their clients. Any potential disruptions should be identified early and compensated for to prevent the supply chain from weakening.

managing supply chain

Supply Chain Management Benefits

As an international springs and pressings manufacturer, we deeply understand how vital a robust supply chain is to maintain high productivity. Every link in the chain needs to be relied upon to create the most robust supply chain possible and not interrupt your planned daily operations.

One valuable technique is diversification. Diversification helps compensate for any erratic behaviour along the supply chain and limits the collateral damage of any disruptions. By committing your upstream materials to a single route, any disruption will be catastrophic to your plans. Diversifying your materials across various transportation routes (or from several suppliers) will guarantee that you receive at least a portion of your raw materials without delay.

Another method is to explore closer suppliers. International logistics are an increasingly complex operation to monitor; the farther your goods travel, the likelihood of problems increases. The distance can also affect the financial cost of delays that will compensate for the problem. With less distance to travel, your chain will encounter fewer obstacles and be more reliable.

A managed supply chain is a strong one. Doing so can increase your chain’s visibility and improve your collaboration with suppliers up and downstream. In addition, persistent corrections to agreed-upon deadlines will lower your business partners’ trust in your company. Effective management will also reduce additional costs and help you maintain an open, honest dialogue with your clients regarding lead times.

European Springs are one of the leading manufacturing companies in Ireland, producing the highest quality springs, pressings and wire forms for a broad range of clients globally.

 

Mechanical springs are well-known components essential for effective machine design, a crucial engineering design element.

This vital function is important for creating manufacturing machines, construction tools and vehicles. Here, we explore several spring designs chosen during the machine design process.

Train springs

What is Machine Design?

This design process defines how energy is handled internally to meet the requirements of the machine. You can use this design to create new devices or upgrade existing ones to meet unique needs.

An example of this process’s importance is a vehicle’s gearbox. This collection of components needs to manage your vehicle both in motion and as a static load. Both these parts need components with appropriate specifications to work efficiently internally and externally, or the car will not function correctly. In addition, the gearbox must work with the engine to operate the car fully.

Machine designers will create plans with particular requirements covering specific materials and finishes, accurate dimensions and comparisons of individual parts and the whole machine’s needs.

So essentially, machine design is a very apt title; it is the process of designing machines. Once the design is confirmed, the depth and detail required for this process are passed on to the assigned manufacturing companies.

What is Mechanical Spring Design?

Spring manufacturers will be tasked with creating high-quality springs, which can involve assisting with mechanical spring design. Mechanical springs are an essential component in various mechanical applications, including even the CNC machines we use to make them.

European Springs have an expert team of engineers that assist our clients with their spring designs. We will match all your specifications, including surface treatments, so you get the perfect piece in small or large batches. Additionally, knowing the function of each spring is essential when picking the right one for your machine design.

springs

Compression Springs

Compression springs store energy when compressed. The basic concept is that they will release that stored energy to expand to their original shape.

Many different compression springs are available, such as conical and hourglass. This resistant spring design is used in various applications, from automotive suspension, industrial equipment and aeroplanes.

Torsion Springs

Torsion springs are coiled springs with extended legs branching from their coils. The resulting force comes from the opposite direction and is proportional to the angle of the twist. This spring is the best choice for twisting motions, and they store rotational energy.

Tension Springs

Tension springs are the opposite of compression springs. These will want to retract to their original tightly wound coil once the force is removed.

The main factor to consider is which direction the force is going concerning the spring itself. Towards will need a compression spring, and away will require a tension spring. These springs are attached to the intended application to limit movement; they are used for counterbalancing or level-based mechanisms.

spring manufacturing

Spring Design Terms To Consider

Spring Rate: Otherwise known as the spring constant, this is the relationship of the force to compress a spring by a unit of length. This measurement can be compared to any given load to calculate the estimated spring travel (how far the spring will compress). The further the spring compresses, the increased stress it endures. Generally, 20% of travel space should be left during regular operation.

Spring Stress: This is the primary cause of spring failure. A spring overstressed by forces it wasn’t designed to handle will not function correctly and will soon break.

Shock Loading: This is similar, except widely different weight values are changed compared to the original parameters. Consistent speed is also essential. The risk of spring failure is significantly increased as loads are added suddenly. Shock loading can be mitigated by vibration-dampening devices or internal damper coils added to the machine design.

OD: This is the acronym for the outer diameter of your spring. An OD measurement relates to the width of your spring when measured from outside the coil. This applies to many spring designs and is essential when your design needs springs in a hole or tube.

ID: This is a similar acronym for the inner diameter. This measurement relates to the width of the area inside the spring.

Choosing the correct spring specification is essential when dealing with mechanical moving parts. For example, the strength of a spring’s design generally depends on the volume of the wire used. This volume is dictated by the wire diameter and the length of the wire.

The best spring design will provide long-lasting function and can be relied upon to work effectively with the other components in your design.

As leading spring manufacturers in Ireland, European Springs supplies the most acceptable range of springs, so machine designers can be confident we’ll meet their specifications exactly.

The modern world runs on machinery that is getting increasingly complex every year to meet the needs of our advancing society. And in turn, every piece of machinery or electronics depends on reliable, high-quality components to function. For example, gas springs are a popular choice to suit the needs of many applications and provide a valuable service that few people know.

Gas springs pair

Gas Spring Features

One of the most prominent features that make gas springs popular for application is that they require very little maintenance. Usually, a device with multiple parts would be more susceptible to wear and require regular maintenance checks but gas springs avoid this issue by sealing their collection of components within an enclosed cylinder. Gas springs have an increased lifecycle over many other spring designs. For example, springs like tension springs rely on a mechanical method of operation. Additionally, traditional springs such as compression springs consist of coiled metal, which will wear down over time and slowly reduce the amount of energy stored. Gas springs work with a gas-filled cylinder that supports their operation and prevents premature wear. This makes gas springs a device that can be relied upon to function effectively for its entire lifetime.

An experienced spring manufacturer will offer locking and non-locking as a feature of their gas springs. Non-locking gas springs are the most common as the piston rod will automatically retract as pressure is exerted and return once removed. This provides an increased level of ergonomics compared to traditional springs, as the spring will give a smooth, consistent action when weight is applied. Locking gas springs have a valve system that can provide force-dampening and keep the gas spring locked.

These features make them popular across a broad range of applications. For example, slow-dampened gas springs can be used for heavy windows and doors, whilst quick gas springs have been installed into sport air guns. In addition, powerful gas springs can be used as a power pack as the high-pressure levels can be translated into usable energy. But where people come across the most commonplace application for gas springs is the regulated opening and closing of car boots and hospital beds.

hospital corridor

What Is a Gas Spring?

Gas springs generally consist of a cylindrical body filled with nitrogen gas, a piston rod and a seal, along with a guiding function for compression and extension. A pushing force created by the gas inside will extend the rod; the exact amount of pressure will be determined by the dimensions of the spring and the specific internal pressure.

These vital components rely on using compressed gas to achieve their desired force and can be compressed by a piston when a dynamic effect is needed. The key to this variability is the Schrader-type valve employed. This valve is a brass tube that is threaded along its exterior and has a metal pin found along the axis of the tube, and the valve body and a lip seal around the rod work with the valve. Compressed gas is injected through the tube using either a mechanical gasket (O-ring system) or high external pressures.

Some springs can be designed with an interior plunger that possesses a diaphragm sufficient to extend to the end of its housing tube. In this case, the gas spring will be immobile once consistent force is applied and will result in the spring performing more like a traditional spring. The gas volume and internal pressure are reduced inside the tube by either a sliding mechanism or an end stop. This enables gas spring manufacturers to adjust the properties of the spring to suit the application’s specific needs.

Are Gas Springs Also Gas Struts?

 

Gas springs and struts seem very similar, but a few key differences are present due to the internal designs. Gas springs are designed for motion control applications, such as doors, windows and other equipment. In comparison to gas struts, gas springs create higher force with shorter strokes. Gas struts are mainly used in vehicle suspensions and contain a coil spring that supports the vehicle’s weight; these work in conjunction as a shock absorber that limits the effects of vibrations.

single gas spring

Benefits of Gas Springs

High-quality gas springs provide several benefits that have led to their increased popularity in many applications. These can provide:

  • A higher force in a smaller space
  • Built-in damping for improved control with movement
  • Energy storage, as gas springs don’t need power
  • They can work independently
  • Variable pressure to suit tasks
  • Can work in various environments, including contaminated or corrosive areas.

Gas springs are varied components widely embraced as a superior alternative to many other spring designs. At European Springs Ireland, we stock hundreds of gas spring designs as well as dozens of various end fittings and other accessories to ensure we can supply the most effective results for our clients. If we don’t stock a specific specification, you require us to provide a bespoke service for designing and manufacturing unique gas springs.

If you have any questions about our gas spring manufacturing services, you can contact our team directly and get all the answers you need.

Springs are a vital component in a broad range of applications. Due to the many different designs and specifications available, these integral pieces have been used in thousands of unique applications spanning every industry and commercial sector. As a result, you’d be hard-pressed to find a product that doesn’t utilise a spring somewhere.

When assembling your components into the final application, you need to know that each part is of high quality and has an appropriate specification to fulfil its role sufficiently. Therefore, a significant decision is to choose a spring supplier you can trust to meet your exact requirements. We have spent decades manufacturing high-quality springs, wire forms and pressings for clients in various sectors. Due to this experience, we feel there are certain integral factors that a reputable spring supplier needs to meet.

team meeting in board room

Open Communication

If you have little experience communicating with manufacturers, it can be challenging to know which company to trust. However, as expert spring suppliers, we understand that each client will have unique requirements that must be met. We establish this by developing an open line of communication with our clients to create a positive working relationship.

For example, we offer a bespoke manufacturing service that covers many spring designs, including torsions springs. In addition, we encourage cooperative communication between our expert team members and yours to ensure that your springs are precisely how you need them, from initial designs to prototyping and final production. This process is something that we believe is only possible through open, honest discussion.

collection of springs

Bespoke Spring Specifications

Springs are an extremely varied component to suit the many roles they need to fulfil. Different kinds of springs have unique purposes. For example, you’ll find small compression springs inside pens and switches and large ones in automotive suspension systems, but extension springs are used for garage doors and trampolines. However, even with the many different designs to choose from, the demand for customised bespoke springs designed is growing.

Whilst stock springs are helpful, most applications will have unique requirements not readily accounted for by stock components. Relying on stock parts will leave your application open to potential faults. This is why it is essential to choose a spring manufacturer that can quickly adapt its existing processes to suit your needs and offer a bespoke spring design and manufacturing service. At European Springs Ireland, we can manufacture an extensive range of spring designs, including compression, torsion, and tension, along with many other spring designs.

die springs collections

Wide Range of Materials Available

Our modern world creates increasingly more complex products and machines every year, and all of them will have exacting requirements for their internal components, including any springs. As a result, different materials will provide unique advantages but only when used appropriately; substitutions are not recommended as this will harm the integrity of your compression spring design. For example, some metals provide an increased malleability, and other materials are more suited for wave springs. In addition, some materials are prepared for use outdoors with corrosion resistance, whereas others are not. We can manufacture bespoke springs in a broad range of metals, including stainless steel, copper, titanium alloys, Inconel, Hastelloy and Nimonic.

When choosing which spring supplier to select out of the wide range of compression spring manufacturers available, you need to avoid choosing one that only stocks a limited range of materials, thereby reducing the possibilities available for your desired components. Instead, you need a spring manufacturer with expertise with a broad range of materials so that they can get the right design you need and the most effective material for it, ensuring the most extensive longevity possible for your application.

CNC spring manufacturing

Reduced Lead Times

Time between the start of a commission and its completion must align with a client’s needs for their application. For example, suppose a supplier is providing a discount on their manufactured products, but it means the lead times will be considerably longer. In that case, this may conflict with your established deadlines and create increased logistical costs for you. It would be best to consider a spring supplier who is honest and realistic about the lead times so you can always be aware of the situation and make the best decisions for you accordingly.

The time it takes to fulfil your orders will have many factors attached. For example, the number of units in your batch, their specifications and the availability of the materials they require will all affect this predicted deadline. Therefore, we recommend that when you are making these initial exploratory enquires to spring suppliers, ask if they have flexibility on lead times. In addition, If they can achieve variably sized batches of units and if any supply chain disruptions could affect your commission. Many spring suppliers (including us as European Springs Ireland) have adopted automation to decrease lead times whilst producing cost-effective results. To maintain our position as a leader in spring manufacturing, we invest in the latest equipment, including high-end CNC machinery and automation, as part of our smart factory improvements.

Long-Term Experience in Spring Manufacturing

When looking for your spring supplier, don’t settle for anything less than the best. As leaders in the spring manufacturing industry, we understand the factors that matter to clients and have implemented them into our client-centric approach to daily operations. At European Springs Ireland, we are continuously working to adapt to the ever-changing requirements of our clients. Our team members provide a high level of experience and can supply innovative solutions for your needs. You can learn more about our processes and manufacturing facilities here.

At European Springs, we are proud of our role in manufacturing high-quality springs and pressings for a broad range of applications. We strive to develop new innovative processes and methods to maintain our status as one of the UK’s top manufacturers. Part of our work is to understand the causes of spring failure and prevent any such losses from occurring in our products with superior techniques.

pile of springs

Spring Design Considerations

With so many applications that require some spring to function, spring failure at any time will be at best a hindrance and, at worst disastrous. As spring manufacturers in Ireland, we understand that spring failure is not an option. However, we believe that by understanding why a spring fails, you can work toward avoiding it for yourself.

Spring Stress is a primary cause of spring failure. Overstessing your spring by applying stress or force that exceeds its specifications indicates a breakdown in the design process. For example, an extension spring will not have much elasticity if designed for strength, so by overextending this spring, you will put it under extreme stress, and it will most likely break.

Wrong Material Choice is also a common cause of spring failure. With so many materials available for your spring manufacture, you need to be sure that you select the best material for the function it needs to perform adequately. For example, Stainless steel is a good choice for clock springs but may not be for other spring types such as valve springs.

Shock loading and other misuses of your spring will lead to spring failure. Shock loading is when the weight of the load increases suddenly or speeds up. Dropping your spring from a significant height is an example of accidental shock loading. The more times the spring is shock loaded, the higher the risk of failure. You can mitigate this with friction devices such as vibration dampening devices or internal damper coils.

The key to our spring manufacturing process is to source specific high-quality materials to meet even the most exacting of production standards. Combined with our in-house contemporary CAD and CAM software and systems, we can help realise a comprehensive range of prototype ideas so you can be sure your specification will work in your required application.

two broken springs

Preserving Your Springs

Even with the best materials, manufacture and design, no spring will last forever; fortunately, as experienced gas spring manufacturers, we know of ways you can increase your spring’s life and prolong replacing it for as long as possible.

Several factors can shorten your spring’s lifetime, but you can ensure your product lasts longer than you expect with careful planning and a reputable manufacturer.

Friction – A spring touching the sides of a shaft (for example, a compression spring inside a gas spring), with repeated friction, will cause increasing damage to both components until one fails.

Environment – A spring that doesn’t have the correct finish will be less likely to function. It will continue to degrade until it fails. In addition, heat or extreme humidity will negatively affect an untreated spring and potentially cause spring relaxation. By keeping these springs cool, you can prolong the life of your spring and reduce the chance of spring relaxation

Stress – This is linked to the overstressing mentioned above. Applying too much pressure to your spring is unlikely to compress as far as it is designed. This will lead to overstressing and breaks. We recommend choosing a larger wire diameter to reduce the chance of spring stress. Additionally, lowering the final load and allowing more room for the spring will enhance longevity.

Prestressing to Prevent Spring Failure

Prestressing is the process where the spring is loaded to the point where the wire is under controlled stress. A spring designed to be prestressed will benefit from withstanding higher pressures and increasing its load-carrying ability while lighter than its equivalents. When spring is prestressed, the changes will increase its lifetime and provide you with a better product.

compression spring

Shot Peening Improving Operating Life

Shot peening is a method where the surface of the spring is hit with small spheres. It is used on clutch springs, coil springs and compression springs. These impacts will create small indentations, which will overlap as they are repeatedly struck. As a result, the whole exterior of your spring will have a layer of metal in a state of increased residual compressive density. Shot peening essentially increases the tensile strength of your material and makes it far harder for fatigue cracks to start to form. Shot peening is beneficial for:

  • Preventing corrosion
  • Cracks and fatigue
  • Hydrogen embrittlement

pile of springs

High-Quality Bespoke Spring and Pressings from European Springs

By choosing a world-renowned gas spring manufacturer such as European Springs, you can be confident that your required springs will be the highest quality choice with high durability and customised for whatever you need them for.

If you’re interested in any springs, pressings or wireforms, then please browse our stock catalogue to see what we have readily available.

Sustainable manufacturing is an important goal for the manufacturing industry, with significant strides already being made. The nickname the ‘green industrial revolution’ has become commonplace as an increasing number of environmentally friendly changes are implemented across the manufacturing industry.

green facility

The Goal of Sustainability

Sustainable manufacturing aims to improve current manufacturing processes and create a far more ecologically friendly system without sacrificing productivity. This increased sustainability is not focused on just the manufacturing processes themselves. These positive changes involve the entire supply chain process around the actual manufacturing, both upstream in sourcing new materials and downstream regarding the finished products and waste management.

The environmental element of improving sustainability is related to:

  • Less resource consumption
  • Less waste
  • Lower emissions

By achieving these goals, the industry’s effect on the environment is immensely lowered. True sustainability is about balance. In context, balancing the industrial sector means companies considering the impact of their current working methods throughout the entire supply chain process. by monitoring this impact in relation to the environment, it becomes easy to find those processes that can be improved and eventually significantly improve all your companies impact as a whole.

Support for Irish Manufacturing

facility graphic

The United Nations Environment Program’s International Resource Panel assessed that if there were no change in the way industry worked, greenhouse gasses would build to 43% by 2060. This and other reports inspired significant changes in the industry worldwide, including the UK’s implementation of a NetZero 2050 strategy and the recent hosting of COP26.

The NetZero 2050 strategy is the UK government’s plan to decarbonise all sectors (industrial, commercial and domestic) nationwide and create a nation that is producing no excess emissions by the year 2050. It involves a road map of smaller targets that must be met to accomplish this goal.

As a metal pressing manufacturer, the COP26 conference held at the Scottish event campus in Glasgow was an event we were very interested in. This latest meeting of representatives from the United Nations was of particular importance to manufacturers as they planned to address areas of combating climate change that was lacking. The results were to increase the demand for companies to embrace decarbonisation as a more sustainable method and embrace limiting waste and renewable energy sources.

Ireland once stood at 46th on the CCPI (climate change performance index), with a high rating in the implementation of renewable energies and a medium-low rating in energy usage. In addition, manufacturing contributes approximately 10% of the total national emissions in Ireland, creating a significant opportunity for companies to find innovations that will significantly improve their environmental impact. A new climate change act was passed in 2021 to serve as a framework to cut emissions across industries by 51% by the next deadline for the NetZero 2050 strategy, in this case, in 2030. The Climate Action Plan inspired a surge in green innovation predicted to support significant changes in the nation’s industries. This plan aims to contribute to the world’s effort to limit the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees and maintain the environment in other ways.

An R&D tax credit is available for manufacturing companies in Ireland. This incentive for research and development enables Irish manufacturers to explore more sustainable operating methods and alternative energy sources, such as investing in solar panels or carbon offset schemes. This tax credit provides 25% on qualifying R&D expenses in science and technology.

Circular Models Are the Future

supply chain graphic

Many different elements make a sustainable manufacturing company. They include the acquisition of the required materials, the source of the energy to run your facility and what you do with the waste materials afterwards. All these elements can be improved upon to create a truly sustainable process.

All these disparate elements can be collected under the term ‘circular economy. This is the name of a business model for production and consumption that plans to re-evaluate previous linear processes. The essential concept is similar to recycling. For example, spring manufacturers would employ a system of reuse for unused materials to prevent them from becoming waste.

Positive Effect of Sustainable Manufacturing

Green factory image

One element that everyone in the manufacturing industry can agree on is that we have a responsibility to future generations. This is the most significant reason why increasing sustainability is essential, and decreasing the industry’s environmental impact will help ensure that. There isn’t just one primary way to achieve sustainability; many smaller steps can be taken that will combine to have an immense impact.

More sustainable industries will also ensure that habitats remain liveable. In addition, maintaining a high standard for air and water quality and preventing toxins from entering the water table helps the environment and humans. Landfills are one the most significant contributors of harmful toxins to the environment. By recycling as much of our waste as possible, landfills become less necessary. It’s easy to forget that any problem that affects the environment will inevitably become a problem for humans if left unchecked. By protecting the planet, we are also protecting ourselves and the future generations to come.

Sustainable Manufacturing Is the Future

At European Springs, we are constantly working towards discovering new ways to improve our working process for efficiency and environmental impact. As experienced manufacturers of gas springs in Ireland, we have a great deal of experience adapting our work to be the most sustainable it can be.

You can browse our entire selection of springs and pressings in our online stock catalogue.

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