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.
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.
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.
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.
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 to clock springs, and many more.
Get in touch today to find out more about our processes and services.