Springs are mechanical components that harness elasticity to perform various functions. They are widely employed in both the mechanical and electronics industries, offering a versatile means of converting mechanical energy into deformation energy and vice versa. Springs exhibit the remarkable property of elastic deformation when subjected to loads, reverting to their original state upon unloading. The stiffness of a spring, often referred to as its spring constant, is determined by the ratio of the load applied to the resulting deformation. Higher stiffness indicates a firmer spring.

custom spring

Functions of Springs

Springs serve a multitude of functions in various applications:

Cushioning and Damping: Damping springs beneath vehicles and trains, as well as buffer springs in different types of buffers, absorb and dissipate energy to provide a smooth and controlled motion.

Mechanism Control: Springs like valve springs in internal combustion engines and clutch control springs play a pivotal role in regulating the movement of mechanical systems.

Energy Storage and Release: Devices such as clock springs and gun latch springs are designed to store energy and release it as needed.

Force Measurement: Springs are utilized in force measurement instruments like spring scales and dynamometers.

Manufacturing of Springs

The manufacturing process of springs involves several key steps:

Rolling: Large-scale production often employs universal automatic roll spring machines for rolling.

Hook Fabrication: For small-scale or custom production, springs can be made on general lathes or crafted by hand.

Fine Finishing: Precision finishing is essential to ensure the spring meets the required specifications.

Heat Treatment: The spring undergoes heat treatment, typically including quenching and medium-temperature tempering.

Performance Testing: Quality control involves rigorous testing of the spring's surface, ensuring it is free from defects such as scars and decarburization.

For springs with wire diameters less than or equal to 8mm, the cold coiling method is commonly used. When the diameter exceeds 8mm, the hot coiling method is adopted, with the coils heated to temperatures ranging from 800°C to 1000°C.

tension spring

Causes of Spring Failure

Understanding the factors that can lead to spring failure is essential:

Plastic Deformation: When external loads exceed the material's yield strength, permanent plastic deformation can occur, preventing the spring from returning to its original shape and size.

Fatigue Fracture: Repeated alternating stress can lead to the development of surface defects and fatigue-induced cracks.

Rapid Brittle Fracture: Material or processing defects, heat treatment issues, or high-impact loads can result in sudden brittle fractures.

Corrosive Medium: Springs used in corrosive environments may experience stress corrosion cracking, while high-temperature applications can lead to creep and stress relaxation, causing permanent deformation.

Precautions for Springs

In practical applications, compression springs should maintain their working length even when subjected to forces beyond the material's elastic limit. To ensure this, the finished spring's length should equal the calculated length of the spring plus the initial compression volume. Additionally, during heat treatment, especially for springs requiring quenching and tempering, care should be taken to prevent spring shortening due to its weight.

Spring Deformation Applications: Spring Collets

One notable deformation application of springs is the spring collet, also known as a spring sleeve. Spring collets offer rapid and highly accurate positioning, facilitating the secure clamping of workpieces. Their advantages include:

Small Diameter Compatibility: Ideal for processing small-diameter workpieces.

Fast Loading and Unloading: Enables swift workpiece changes.

Short Replacement Times: Allows quick swapping of fixtures of varying sizes.

High Clamping Accuracy: Offers precision exceeding that of chucks.

Cost Efficiency: Reduces costs and enhances flexibility compared to chucks.

Enhanced Processing: Ideal for machine tools with internal interpolation spindle structures, providing greater processing space and rigidity.

Surface Protection: Safeguards workpiece surfaces and delivers superior cutting torque.

In conclusion, springs are indispensable components across various industries, performing an array of vital functions. Understanding their applications, manufacturing processes, and considerations ensures their effective utilization in mechanical and electronic systems. The spring collet, a deformation application, exemplifies how springs can offer high precision and versatility in specific applications.