Common Spring Definitions.

A broad range of spring related topics are involved with your manufacturing project.  Below are common spring definitions and a glossary of spring manufacturing terms.

Compression Springs

Compression springs are mechanical components typically used to apply and maintain pressure or return a component to its original position. These springs are coiled and designed to absorb and store energy, applying a force that can be used to control system motion.

Examples of their use include stabilizing the movement of small mechanical parts, such as those found within computer keyboards, and large assemblies, such as those found on garage door openers.

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Counter Balance Springs

Counter Balance Springs are mechanical components designed to hold a load in balance and dampen vibrational movement. They are typically seen in applications such as overhead doors, window balances and treadmill decks, and use a combination of a flat coil spring and a plunger to store kinetic energy.

By providing a dampening effect, Counter Balance Springs help reduce vibration, allowing the system to operate smoothly and safely.

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Clock Springs

Clock springs, also known as torque springs, are devices used to provide a rotational force over a period of time. These springs are typically used in applications that require tension for a specific task, such as rewinding a drum or spool. They are particularly useful for applications that require low torque on a regular basis, such as window regulators or door lock systems in cars.

Additionally, clock springs are often used in toys, electronic devices, and watch mechanisms.

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Die Springs

Die springs are compression springs that are typically used in metal stamping, die casting and injection molding dies. They are designed to absorb shock and provide a return force, helping to keep the die in the correct position. Die springs can also be used for other applications such as locks and latches, door strikers, valves, agricultural equipment and industrial machinery.

Examples of their use include providing cushioning for automotive door locks, forming metal stamping dies and providing tension for valve springs.

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Extension Springs

Extension springs are compression springs that absorb and store energy and create a resistive force as they are stretched or compressed. They are commonly used to provide tension in applications such as counterbalances, trampoline systems, and retractable devices. Extension springs work by increasing their tension when stretched and loosening their tension when compressed.

Examples of uses for extension springs include pull-down curtains, garage door openers, mobile phones, and bicycle brakes.

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Flat Springs

Flat Springs are compression springs that are characterized by their flat, rectangular shape. These springs are commonly used in a variety of applications, such as in automotive clutches, levers, and other similar mechanisms which require a flat spring structure. They are also frequently used in electronics components, where their flat shape allows for greater ease of assembly. Additionally, flat springs are often used to absorb shock and vibration in industrial machinery.

Examples of such applications include motor-mounts and suspension systems.

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Medical Springs / Medical Coils

Medical Springs and Medical Coils are specialty components used in medical devices. They offer a range of stiffness, flexibility and size options to meet the specific requirements of a wide range of medical applications. Medical Springs are used to provide compression and tension forces, absorb shock, or to act as a return mechanism. Medical Coils are used to activate and control switches, actuate mechanisms, and provide a safe, reliable form of energy storage.

Examples of their use include providing the force for defibrillators, powering pacemakers, and controlling the pressure of syringes.

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Torsion Springs

Torsion springs are coiled springs that store mechanical energy when they are twisted or subjected to torque. They are typically used as components in machines and mechanisms that require periodic rotation or pivoting. Examples of machines and mechanisms that utilize torsion springs include garage doors, counterbalances for windows and cabinet doors, clothespins, mouse traps, and mousetraps.

Some production equipment also utilizes torsion springs for tensioning and other various applications. Torsion springs can be found in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and materials, allowing them to meet the needs of many applications.

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Wire Form Springs

Wire form springs are mechanical components used in a variety of applications. As their name implies, they are formed from a single piece of wire, typically coiled around itself in a variety of shapes and sizes. Due to their flexibility and ability to hold tension, wire form springs are widely used in a variety of industries, including automotive and aerospace.

Wire form springs can take on a range of shapes, depending on the application. Common shapes include coils, bars, bends, and hooks. The number of turns and their diameter depend on the amount of tension needed. In addition, the material used can be adjusted for different applications. Typically, metals such as stainless steel, phosphor bronze, and music wire are used.

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Constant Force Springs

Constant Force Springs, also known as Spiral Wound or Weihua Springs, are highly specialized, industrial springs designed to store and deliver uniform and consistent force output, regardless of how much material is wound onto the spring spool. Constant Force Springs are commonly used in applications such as retractable badge reels, cord reels, and medical syringe plungers. They are also used in the manufacture of electronic devices and other consumer products.

Constant Force Springs are able to maintain their output force regardless of the diameter of the spring, number of turns, or the tensile strength of the material used in their construction.

Belleville Springs

Belleville Springs are components typically used in engineering applications to help reduce noise, vibration, and motion, as well as providing an adjustable preload. They are available in a variety of sizes and designs, including conical and flat disc springs, as well as lighter duty and specialty Belleville Washers.

Belleville Springs are commonly found in applications such as point-of-load power supplies, actuators, pumps, and diesel engines, among others. They can also be used in tensioning systems, such as collars and threaded rods, to apply a preload to the joint assembly.

Drawbar Springs

Drawbar Springs are a type of spring that are commonly used in agricultural and off-road machinery. They are typically positioned between a tractor or other off-road vehicle and an implement, such as a plow or harrow, to provide stability and cushioning during operation. They are designed to absorb and dissipate kinetic energy, allowing for smooth operation in challenging terrain.

Drawbar Springs are typically made from steel, although other materials such as rubber can be used. They come in various sizes and load ratings, allowing them to work in different types of machinery.

Volute Springs

Volute springs are a type of compression spring that is constructed in the form of a cylindrical helix. They are commonly found in a variety of applications and are designed to store and release energy.

Volute springs are often used as energy sources in control systems, shock absorbers, and water pumps. Additionally, they are used to absorb impact in a wide range of industrial machinery and automotive applications.

Garter Springs

Garter springs are a type of mechanical spring that is designed to create a uniform tension in a system. They are typically used to control the tension in supplies such as cables, hoses, and chains. In many applications, garter springs are used in place of bands and clips to maintain the tension in a system as the components move or vibrate.

For example, garter springs are often used to keep hoses from kinking or becoming tangled in machinery. Garter springs can also be used in industrial applications such as belt drives, clutches, brakes, fans, and pumps.

Gas Springs

Gas Springs are a type of spring commonly used in a variety of industrial applications. They are comprised of a gas-filled cylinder and a piston. When the piston is pushed down, the resulting force is counteracted by the pressure of the gas, creating an opposing force. Gas Springs are typically used in applications such as industrial machinery, furniture, robotics, and automotive components, among others.

Examples of their use include providing counterbalance to open and close lids or doors, supporting the weight of an object, controlling vibration or shock, and adjusting seating levels.

Air Springs

Air Springs are a type of suspension component that provide improved handling, increased load capacity, and enhanced ride quality. They act as a cushioning layer between the vehicle’s chassis and the road surface and work by using compressed air to deliver a dampening effect. Air Springs can be used in a variety of applications including automobiles, buses, trains, and aircraft.

For example, Air Springs can be used to reduce suspension compression for improved road handling in cars, minimize shock transfer for better bus ride comfort, and soften landing impacts in aircraft.

Active coils:
Those coils which are free to deflect under load.

Angular relationship of ends:
The relative position of the plane of the hooks or loops of extension springs to each other.

Heating of electroplated springs to relieve hydrogen embrittlement.

Bowing or lateral deflection of compression springs when compressed, related to slenderness ratio (L/D).

Closed ends:
Ends of compression springs where pitch of the end coils is reduced so that the end coils touch.

Closed and ground ends:
As with closed ends, except that the end is ground to provide a flat plane.

Closed length:
see Solid height

Coiled with adjacent coils touching.

Coils per inch:
see Pitch

Deflection (F):
Motion of spring ends or arms under the application or removal of an external load (P).

Elastic limit:
Maximum stress to which a material may be subjected without permanent set.

Endurance limit:
Maximum stress at which any given material will operate indefinitely without failure for a given minimum stress.

Free angle:
Angle between the arms of a torsion spring when the spring is not loaded.

Free length (L):
The overall length of a spring in the unloaded position.

Frequency (natural):
The lowest inherent rate of free vibration of a spring itself (usually in cycle per second) with ends restrained.

see Rate (R)

Heat setting:
Fixturing a spring atelevated temperature to minimize loss of load at operating temperature.

The spiral for (open or closed) of compression, extension, and torsion springs.

Hooke’s Law:
Load is proportional to displacement.

Open loops or ends of extension springs.

Hot pressing:
see Heat setting

Hydrogen embrittlement:
Hydrogen absorbed in electroplating or pickling of carbon steels, tending to make the spring material brittle and susceptible to cracking and failure, particularly under sustained loads.

Mechanical energy loss occurring during loading and unloading of a spring within the elastic range. It is illustrated by the area between load deflection curves.

Initial Tension:
A force that tends to keep coils of a close-wound extension spring closed and which must be overcome before the coils start to open.

Formed ends with minimal gaps at the ends of extension springs.

Mean Diameter (D):
The average diameter of the mass of spring material, equal to one-half the sum of the outside and inside diameters. In a helical spring, this is the equivalent to the outside diameter minus one wire diameter.

Modulus in Shear or Torsion (G):
(Modulus of Rigidity G) Coefficient of stiffness used for compression and extension springs.

Modulus in Tension or Bending (E):
(Young Modulus E) Coefficient or stiffness used for torsion or flat springs.

Moment (M):
A product of the distance from the spring axis to the point of load application, and the force component normal to the distance line.

Natural Frequency (n):
Lowest inherent rate of free vibration of a spring vibrating between its own ends.

The process of heating carbon steel above its critical temperature and cooling at a controlled rate to achieve a fine pearlitic microstructure.

Pitch (p):
Distance from center to center of wire in adjacent coils in an open-wound spring.

Plain Ends:
End coils of a helical spring having a constant pitch and ends not squared.

Plain Ends, Ground:
Same as Plain Ends, except wire ends are ground square with the axis.

Rate (R):
Spring gradient, or change in load per unit of deflection.
Residual Stress: Stress mechanically induced by such means as set removal, shot-peening, cold working, or forming. It may be beneficial or not, depending on the spring application.

Permanent change of length, height, or position after a spring is stressed beyond the material’s elastic limit.

Set Point:
Stress at which some arbitrarily chosen amount of set (usually 2%) occurs. Set percentage is the set divided by the deflection which produced it.

Set Removal:
An operation which causes a permanent loss of length or height due to spring deflection.

Blasting the surfaces of spring material with steel or glass pellets to induce compressive stresses that improve fatigue life.

Slenderness Ratio:
Ratio of spring length to mean diameter L/D in helical springs.

Solid Height (LS):
Length of a compression spring when deflected under sufficient load to bring all adjacent coils into contact – no additional deflection is possible.

Spiral Springs:
Springs formed from flat strip or wire wound in the form of a spiral, loaded by torque about an axis normal to the plane of the spiral.

Spring Index (C):
Ratio of mean diameter to wire diameter.

Squared and Ground Ends:
See Closed and Ground Ends.

Squared Ends:
See Closed Ends.

Angular deviation, between the axis of a compression spring in a free state and a line normal to the end planes.

Stress Range:
Difference in operating stresses at minimum and maximum loads.

Stress Ratio:
Minimum stress divided by maximum stress.

Stress Relief:
A low temperature heat treatment given springs to relieve residual stresses produced by prior cold forming.

Torque (M):
See Moment.

Total Number of Coils (N):
The sum of the number of active and inactive coils in a spring body.

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