The world of engineering has impacted the way we work in our everyday lives. Everything we take for granted was invented by successful individuals and did not exist once upon a time. Can you imagine if we now lived without some of the world’s greatest inventions, such as the automobile? From ancient tools to the latest digital advances, humans have been inventing and engineering items which have been transforming our lives since we can remember.

Here are just some of the engineering inventions that have not only changed the way we live our everyday lives but have shaped the entire industry and have paved the way for a greater future.

The First Airplane

If it wasn’t for the invention of the first ever plane, would we now be able to travel across seas, venture to new countries or even carry soldiers, assist the injured and rescue mountaineers? On December 17, 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright achieved the first ever powered, sustained, and controlled plane, which has been evolving and changing ever since.

While these flying contraptions have been more than an idea ever since da Vinci’s time, the Wright brothers were the ones to make it a success! It’s fair to say that these siblings kickstarted the foundation for modern aeronautical engineering.

On December 17, 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright achieved the first ever powered, sustained, and controlled plane

Compass

The invention of the compass can’t be traced back to a specific date; however, the earliest compasses were most likely invented by the Chinese around 1050 BC. Created for spiritual and navigational purposes, the first compasses were said to be made of lodestones as this is a naturally magnetised iron ore.

With the advancement in technology and the invention of the electromagnet in 1825, the compass was then developed into what we know today. If it wasn’t for the engineering marvel that is the compass, modern navigation wouldn’t have received the push it needed.

The first compasses were said to be made of lodestones as this is a naturally magnetised iron ore

Automobile

Although the basic foundations for the car were laid early in 1866 by German engineer and inventor Karl Benz, cars didn’t become widely available until the early 20th century. Mass production techniques for automobiles were invented by well-known engineer Henry Ford and are now standard practises with Ford, General Motors, Chrysler and more.

This evolution reflects a worldwide effort – it influenced other technological advances such as petroleum refining, steel making, plate-glass manufacturing, and other industrial processes.

Empty car body shells on production line

Light Bulb

Indoors right now? There’s most likely a light bulb powering the room. The energy we use today and use to light up our offices and homes with was a bright idea from way over 150 years ago. Pioneered by Humphry Davy, he set off on his journey in the 1800s and ended up being one of the most influential and greatest inventors of all time. While Davy began this invention, the first light bulb was patented by Edison and Swan in 1879 and 1880. The invention of the lightbulb electrified new business and led to numerous exciting breakthroughs such as electric transmission lines, home appliances and power plants!

The energy we use today and use to light up our offices and homes with was a bright idea from way over 150 years ago

Small Tools and Components

We may consider planes, trains, and automobiles to be some of the greatest accomplishments from the world’s engineers, but do we ever stop to think about the smaller parts? Everything from tools, such as hammers and spanners, to small components, such as springs and hinges, are just as important, perhaps even more! The first ever coiled spring was invented by R. Tradwell in 1763 and was a British patent.

This stems from the research British physicist Robert Hooke carried out in 1676 on Hooke’s Law, which explores the force which a spring exerts.

When you think about how many products, machines, and household items we couldn’t have if it wasn’t for the nuts, bolts, wire forms, screws and springs, we would have very empty homes and businesses!

 Everything from tools, such as hammers and spanners, to small components, such as springs and hinges, are just as important

This list is by no means comprehensive; these are just a few of the marvellous inventions which have shaped everything we do in our day-to-day routines. You are probably reading this on a PC or phone; both which wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for an engineer or inventor who conjured up the idea.

As spring manufacturers, we are in awe of these engineers – and, of course, the ones we haven’t been able to mention. If you would like to know more about our products and services, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with European Springs Ireland today.

[button url=”/contact-us/” class=”scbutton”]Enquire Now[/button]

There’s no argument that springs are everywhere; they play a major role in many items we use on an everyday basis – from our cars to prosthetic limbs.

But while we may use the modest mechanism more than you think, have you ever stopped to consider how compression springs are made?

As spring manufacturers, we’re quite well placed to answer this query, so sit back, relax, and read all about the process.

how are springs made

The Materials

Springs are generally used of hardened steel, and spring manufacturers do have the option to either use pre-hardened steel or to harden the steel in their own process.

The most commonly used materials include stainless steel, chrome silicon, chrome vanadium, music wire and oil tempered wire; all of which are ideal for several spring projects.

However, other materials can be used, such as plastic. It all depends on what the purpose of a spring is for the material required to be determined.

The Design Process

While it’s interesting to find out the scientific process of spring making, it’s equally important to remember that various mathematical equations and processes are used to design the spring needed.

Factors such as wire composition, size, diameter, the number of coils needed, force and its application all need to be considered in minute detail.

Coiling

The process of creating a spring begins with coiling. This can be done with either a heated or cold wire but the metal needs flexibility to be shaped.

Cold winding starts with a wire at room temperature and involves winding the wire around a shaft. Hot winding is more often used for wire that is thicker. The metal is heated beforehand which increases the flexibility. It is then coiled around a shaft while still piping hot.

After the wire has been coiled it is immediately taken off the shaft or mandrel so it can cool and harden to its new form rapidly.

Hardening

Whether the material has been coiled hot or cold, stress is created for the material. Heat effects the strength, so to relieve this the spring must be tempered by heat treating.

The spring is heated in an oven and held at the appropriate temperature for a specific time and then placed aside to cool down.

An example of this is a spring made from music wire; it should be heated at 260 degrees Celsius for one hour.

how are springs made from European springs

Finishing Steps

Before a spring can be used, there are usually five more steps to go through before being placed in an application.

1. Grinding. If the design needs flat ends, then these need to be ground. The spring will be mounted to a jig and held against a rotating wheel until the desired flatness is achieved. An appropriate fluid will be used to cool the spring.

2. Shot Peening. This process helps to resist any fatigue or cracking. The entire spring is exposed to many tiny steel balls that hammer it smooth and compress the material below the surface.

3. Setting. The spring will be fully compressed so that all the coils touch each other. This fixes the length and pitch firmly. Some spring manufacturers will even repeat this process several times.

4. Coating. This protects corrosion. The spring is protected by painting, plating it with a further metal, or even goes through mechanical plating. There is also an alternative process of electroplating.

5. Quality Control

Of course, this is not the end of the process for spring manufacturers, such as European Springs Ireland. The spring goes through various testing devices and quality control steps to ensure the highest of quality.

Through using specific materials and extremely advanced manufacturing processes, all our springs are uniformly strong and of a high quality. We manufacturer a variety of springs – from disc springs and die springs to clock springs and torsion springs and many more.

Get in touch today to find out more about our processes and services.

[button url=”/contact-us/” class=”scbutton”]Enquire Now[/button]

Constant force springs are ideal for many uses and are especially useful where constant force is required. For any application which needs a smooth return and retrieve, counterbalance applications, tensioning and loading applications, constant force springs are a perfect choice. Industries which make use of the constant force spring include healthcare and automotive; however, the space industry also uses these specialist springs, mainly to work with the changes of force within the atmosphere. So, what exactly does this industry use constant force springs for and how does it benefit them?

Constant Force Springs Offer:

  • High force output with very small space requirements
  • Long linear reach with minimal force build-up
  • Storage of indefinite power when extended

An extension type of constant force spring could be seen as the most basic, as it is the most versatile.

constant force1

It is usually a pre-stressed flat strip of spring material formed into a constant radius which coils around itself or on a drum. When the strip is extended or deflected, the stress resists the loading force, though at a nearly constant (zero) rate. A constant force is obtained when the outer end of the spring is attached to another spool and caused to retract in the reverse or same direction as originally wound. Due to the full load being reached after being deflected to a length equal to 1.25 its diameter, it maintains a constant force no matter the length of the extension.

Much flexibility is available with constant force springs, as the load capacity can be varied by factors and configurations such as cavity mounts, multiple spring mounts, sizes and various design specifications.

Wherever constant load is required, a constant force spring is perfect for it, whether this be a hair dryer, gym equipment or a space shuttle.

Why Are Constant Force Springs Used in Space?

Most springs are bound by the principles of Hooke’s Law (F=Kx); however, there is usually an exception to this rule, which is what constant force springs represent. The spring itself takes its name from the fact that their force of motion is always at a consistent point of exertion.

Resembling a wound coil, their independence from Hooke’s Law allows them to produce perpetual force through their deflection and gives them little to no restriction on the speed of extension or acceleration.

constant force2

Constant force springs offer an excellent mechanism where a constant load is required. The force, due to gravitational acceleration, causes massive bodies to exert a downward force on the earth. This may also be referred to as microgravity. Unlike the springs present on earth, there are varying factors and forces working against the products which are using the springs.

Any springs and components used need to be adapted to sustain the effects of the environment, especially as gravity is not the same.

Constant force springs work best when in static or more dynamic applications where space is critical, or where other circumstances such as radial or axial tolerances are tight.

Constant Force Springs from European Springs

Here at European Springs Ireland, we design and manufacture constant force springs for many industries, one being the aerospace industry. We can fit the components in numerous fashions to ensure the widest possible range of uses, and we are well aware of the requirements and tolerances of this industry.

constant force3

Our bespoke approach to our products, including our constant force springs, makes sure your project only has the highest quality of springs. Whatever your needs, European Springs and Pressings Ltd can efficiently manufacture constant force springs for you.

Simply get in touch for further information.

[button url=”/contact-us/” class=”scbutton”]Enquire Now[/button]

We have been fascinated with space exploration for many years, and as we make our way further into space, more and more interesting questions are raised about how to solve particular problems that come with being in zero gravity. One of the things that we are interested in, however, is how springs such as constant force springs and pressings incorporated into the machinery and devices which use springs work in space. So, do springs work in space?

Astronaut on Spacewalk

How Do Springs Work?

Before we can answer whether springs work in space, we must first look at how springs actually work.

Springs can store or absorb energy, and they work with the application of force. Depending on the type of spring, they will work in different ways, but typically, springs, whether they are compression springs or tension springs, want to return to their original shape. This may mean that they spring back when they are extended or when they are compressed. The extent of the force applied will determine how far the spring is extended or compressed.

Do Springs Work in Space?

So, with the previous question answered, we can now address the question of if and how they work in space.

Despite the fact that in space, we are dealing with conditions of zero gravity, springs can still work just as they would on earth. As springs do not use gravity, but the application of force, they can provide useful functions in space.

Jupiter

How Are Springs Used in Space?

While astronauts may be on the International Space Station (ISS) for six months at a time, it is important that they have technologically advanced equipment and solutions to a range of things that they will encounter during their lives. Many of these items will feature springs in order to work.

One example of the use of springs in space is in the Juno probe which was launched to learn more about the planet Jupiter. Only a few months ago, Juno sent pictures back which showed a storm the size of earth on the surface of Jupiter.

Amongst other key components, Juno relies on over 60 different springs which enable it to carry out a range of tasks, from opening and latching doors to deploying the arms which are used to measure the structure of Jupiter.

Without the use of these springs, many of the tasks carried out in space, and therefore the discoveries we are making in space would be impossible.

Springs have an incredibly important role to play, both in space and on earth, and we understand just how important it is that they are perfect for your project. That’s why we are dedicated to providing high-quality springs and pressings which match your requirements perfectly.

If you would like to find out more about any of our products or services including torsion springs, compression springs and wave springs, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with a member of our team by calling us on 048 9083 8605, emailing us at ieinfo.bec@europeansprings.com or by filling out our online contact form and we will be more than happy to help.

[button url=”/contact-us/” class=”scbutton”]Enquire Now[/button]

All over the world, there are groups of knowledgeable individuals and teams on a constant search for new and innovative solutions in science, engineering and technology. Here at European Springs Ireland, we love to keep on top of it. We have a great piece of news for all those interested in related news and research, and this one is sure to put a spring in your step. That’s right… Energy recycling stairs which are spring-loaded! But what is this innovative technology and how will it work?

stairs1

Research from the US

Researchers in the US have built energy recycling stairs that can store the user’s energy during their movement, returning the energy to the user during the ascent. This ultimately makes their trip easier and could be a potential way to improve health and help certain injuries and mobility issues.

Easy on the Knees and Ankles

The invention of these stairs can not only save energy through impact but can brake forces from the ankle by 26%. When a person is ascending the stairs, the technology will give the user a boost as it releases the stored-up energy from the descent. It will make it 37% easier on the knee compared to conventional stairs. This lower power device doesn’t require a complete separate staircase but can be placed on an existing one. It also doesn’t have to be permanent.

stairs2

Spring in Your Step

When we thought going up stairs was a bit too difficult, springs come to the rescue! It works through each and every step being tethered by springs and also equipped with pressure sensors on each step. When the walker descends the staircase, each step will slowly sink until it locks and is level with the next step. The stair then stays this way until someone walks up the stairs.

When someone then goes to ascend the staircase on the sensor, the latch on the lower step releases and the energy which has been stored in the springs are released, lifting the back leg.

The research was published in a journal in the US in PLOS ONE, where the author explained their initial idea to use energy recycling prosthetic shoes to assist in going up stairs. Karen Liu, an associate professor in Georgia Techs school of Computing, states:

“Unlike normal walking where each heel-strike dissipates energy that can be potentially restored, stair ascent is actually very energy efficient; most energy you put in goes into potential energy to lift you up”

 “But then I realised that going downstairs is quite wasteful. You dissipate energy to stop yourself from falling, and I thought it would be great if we could store the energy wasted during descent and return it to the user during ascent.”

She worked alongside a professor in Biomedical Engineering at the same university to develop the research and prototypes.

stairs3

The Story and The Benefits

When conducting the research, they didn’t expect, prior to the design, that their invention would actually see ease of impact. The professor initially got the idea when she attended an industry conference where she saw an ankle brace that did a similar thing using springs, to store and release energy. When she thought about her 72-year-old mother and her difficulties upstairs, she knew that she would never wear the brace. Then came the idea of smart stairs.

The researchers believe that the stairs could have numerous health benefits and also be extremely helpful to anyone recovering from surgery or for pregnant women. It could be useful for people who only need assistance for a short amount of time.

This is proof that with innovative thoughts, an engineering mindset, some springs and some research, you can conjure up an engineering marvel!

[button url=”/contact-us/” class=”scbutton”]Enquire Now[/button]

 

The connection between engineers and mechanics can sometimes be unclear, and although they work together to put all the pieces of industry puzzles together, they are both very separate entities. In terms of automotive engineers and mechanics, engineers work on vehicles in a broader sense and are involved in everything from designing and developing new vehicles to improving performance. On the other hand, mechanics diagnose and repair vehicles, typically in a garage or workshop.

But what are the main differences and how do they work together to complete the entire process?

Engineer Teaching Apprentices To Use Tube Bending Machine

What are the Responsibilities of an Automotive Engineer?

Engineers in the automotive industry tend to not only work for auto manufacturing companies, but for engineering firms, governmental agencies and other industries and firms that require the skills and expertise of an engineer. Many engineers work on the actual creation of vehicles, assisting in the act of designing the systems and all components involved. Some engineers assist in analysing the systems and any problems that may occur to hope for improvements or changes.

Engineers are vital to the manufacturing industry and all the processes that connect to it, from ongoing oversight to ensuring the automobile is safe for public use. As a branch of vehicle engineering, not only do automobile engineers work in the conventional car design and manufacturing, but they are equally as important in aerospace and marine engineering, which can incorporate skills and elements of safety, electronic, mechanical, electrical and software engineering. These skills are all assets of an automotive engineer applied from design to manufacturing, and operations of trucks, motorcycles, trains, and all subsystems within.

engineer2

What About the Responsibilities of an Automotive Mechanic?

Automotive mechanics usually aren’t involved in the design side of the industry and usually work in repair shops or garages, either at a shop which repairs vehicles or with a dealer that works with a specific brand. Mechanics in this sense usually work in direct correlation with drivers – in the way that engineers don’t.

Mechanics work to identify a source of a problem with aim to fix the issue. They can discuss the operations of a vehicle, and use their knowledge to ensure the vehicle operates to optimum level. A part of an automotive mechanics job is to also make sure that the vehicle is safe for road operation, which is similar in certain ways to the responsibilities of an engineer. Many mechanics can specialise in a certain area, but with the advancement in technology, the job role of a mechanic has evolved to needing a wider spread knowledge, including electronical technology knowledge. Vehicles now possess modern technology which gives extra demand to the workers in this industry.

 engineer3

Does the Training and Education Differ?

Engineers tend to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in a related industry, but many will progress onto further education to allow them to specialise more closely in the industry. Mechanics in this industry usually need to have a minimum of high school education or equivalent, but unlike an engineer, they will receive extensive training in their area. This will require years of hands on training and tutoring to be ready to take on the industry fully.

How Do the Two Work Together?

Not only in the automotive industry but any type of engineer, whether electrical, civil or mechanical, technically needs the aftercare of a mechanic to keep the industry striving. An engineer could be said to be the backbone behind the automotive businesses, needed for design and specifics in creation of the technology, although mechanics will also know basics of their industry, and vice versa to synergise the entire process smoothly.  Although the two jobs are different, and some may complicate the two sometimes, they would not work without each other.

An engineer needs to apply skills and principles of physics and material science into the design, manufacturing and analysis of the mechanical systems, although the tradesmen in mechanics will utilise their skills to build or repair the machinery alongside.

engineer4

Without either of these job titles, the industry could not be what it is today, and both are equally as important as one another. At European Springs Ireland we are proud to be a part of the industry, and not only do we work in conjunction with the automotive industry, but in many related businesses, such as Electronics and Hydraulics. If you would like to know any more about our skills and services including manufacturing torsion springs, tension springs and compression springs, we would love for you to get in touch.

[button url=”/contact-us/” class=”scbutton”]Enquire Now[/button]

HOW CAN WE HELP YOU?

    Fields marked with an *are required

    This form collects your name, email, company name, phone number and your enquiry so that one of our team can communicate with you and provide assistance. Please check our Privacy Policy to see what we'll do with your information.