Industries across the spectrum, from mechanical to electrical and chemical, are increasingly reliant on various types of springs in modern manufacturing. Springs have become indispensable to many industrial processes due to their versatility in applications like shock absorption, force exertion, and maintaining pressure.
Springs have become an integral part of a wide array of items, ranging from toys and mattresses to heavy engines, making their presence almost ubiquitous. There exist different types of springs, each meticulously crafted to fulfill distinct functions across various applications. This article aims to delve into some of the primary kinds of springs, exploring their manufacturing processes and specific uses. So, let’s start with something basic.
What are Springs?
Springs are simple mechanical devices crafted from elastic materials, often metal, designed to compress, stretch, or twist, and then return to their original form. The fundamental concept of a spring lies in its capacity to store energy when it is deformed (compressed, stretched, or twisted) and to release this energy as it reverts to its initial shape. Various types of springs are used in everyday objects like pens (coil springs) and watches (torsion springs) to provide functionality and ease of use.
The spring-making process involves shaping metal into springs using specific techniques. Types of spring mechanisms can be broadly categorized into cold and hot winding, each suited for different types of springs and applications.
In cold winding, the metal wire or bar is at room temperature. This method is typically used for smaller springs, where the wire diameter is relatively thin, usually up to about 3/8 inch. The process starts with feeding the wire into a spring-making machine. This machine coils the wire around a mandrel to form the spring. After coiling, the springs are often subjected to heat treatment. This process makes some types of spring-loaded hinges.
On the other hand, hot winding is used for making larger, heavier springs. In this process, the metal is heated to a high temperature, which makes it more pliable and easier to shape. This method is typically employed for wire or bars thicker than 3/8 inch diameter. The hot metal is wound into coils, and once the desired shape is achieved, the spring undergoes a series of heat treatments, including quenching and tempering. Hot winding is particularly used in heavy-duty springs, such as in industrial machinery, railway carriages, and large automotive components like truck suspensions.
Various Types of Springs and Their Applications
Springs come in dozens of types, each designed to meet specific needs and functions. In the industrial world, their usage is extensive and varied, reflecting the diverse challenges and requirements of different machinery and applications. Below, we have outlined some of the most common and widely used types of springs and their specific functions.
Types of Springs Based on Design and Geometry
1. Coil Springs
This type of spring, known for its distinctive spiral shape, stands out as one of the most adaptable and commonly utilized varieties. The design of open coil helical springs is highly customizable to meet specific requirements. Key aspects like the material of the spring, the diameter of the coils, the number of coils, and the spring’s overall length and shape are customized to fit its intended application.
Helical springs are crafted from high-carbon steel to lighter alloys, each chosen for specific attributes such as strength, flexibility, and durability, ensuring optimal performance in their respective applications. They are commonly used in automotive suspensions for shock absorption and in machinery for maintaining force and tension.
2. Torsion Springs
Torsion springs are the common type of spring used in door hinges because they are designed to exert torque or rotational force. Unlike types of coil springs, which compress or extend along the axis of the coil, torsion springs twist around their axis. This feature makes them ideal for limited space applications and requires a rotational force. Commonly found in clothespins, door hinges, and vehicle suspension systems, torsion springs are integral to the functionality of many mechanical systems. There are two types of torsion springs:
- Single Torsion Helical Springs
- Double Torsion Helical Springs
3. Leaf Springs
A type of spring made from several metal layers (commonly steel) stacked one above the other is known as leaf springs. The basic design of a leaf spring is quite simple yet effective; it consists of several flat strips of metal, called leaves, which are bound together to act as a single unit. The function of leaf springs serves a dual purpose by acting as a suspension unit and the axle’s locating device, simplifying the overall vehicle design. Leaf springs are traditionally used in the suspension systems of vehicles, particularly in heavy vehicles like trucks and vans, for their durability and load-bearing capacity. Here are some of the types of leaf springs,
- Elliptical Leaf Spring
- Semi-Elliptical Leaf Spring
- Quarter Elliptical Leaf Spring
- Three-Quarter Elliptical Leaf Spring
- Transverse Leaf Spring
4. Disc Springs
Disc springs, also known as Belleville washers, are conical-shaped springs that can be used individually or stacked in various configurations to achieve the desired spring characteristics. They are known for their high load capacity and small space requirements. When stacked, these springs can be arranged to provide different characteristics: in series to increase deflection, parallel to increase load capacity, or in combination.
The material used for different kinds of disc springs typically includes high-grade steel and alloys chosen for their strength and fatigue resistance. Disc springs are used in clutch and brake mechanisms, valve actuators, and bolted joints to maintain tension and accommodate thermal expansion.
5. Wrought Iron Gate Closer Spring
This lesser-known yet essential spring is used with wrought iron gates to ensure that the gate closes automatically. As the name suggests, these springs are often made from wrought iron or a similar durable metal, which complements wrought iron gates’ aesthetic and structural qualities. This type of spring is particularly common in garden gates, pedestrian gates, and other similar applications.
Types of Springs Based on Manufacturing
1. Extension Springs
Extension or tension springs are designed to absorb and store energy by resisting a pulling force. They are typically made from a high-strength wire coiled into a tight spiral spring shape. The most widely used type of tension spring is the garter spring, formed into a circular or garter shape used to maintain pressure in a radial direction, such as in oil seals or electrical connectors.
The manufacturing of extension springs often involves cold winding. The wire is coiled around a mandrel to the desired diameter and pitch. Different types of extension springs are found in various applications, including automotive interiors and exteriors, garage door assemblies, vice-grip pliers, trampolines, washing devices, and farm machinery.
2. Machined Springs
Machined springs are a modern type of spring that offers precision and versatility. Unlike traditional wire springs, machined springs are made from a solid material, typically metal, through a CNC machining process. These springs are produced using high-precision CNC milling or turning processes. The material is carefully removed to create a spring with the desired dimensions and characteristics. This process allows for creating springs with complex geometries and integrated features, such as flanges, threads, or special profiles, that would be impossible or difficult to achieve with traditional winding methods.
3. Gas Springs
Gas springs, often referred to as gas struts or gas shocks, are a unique kind of spring. They work by using compressed gas held inside a cylinder, which is then compressed further by a piston. This action allows the gas spring to exert force. They differ from traditional mechanical springs in that they use the force of compressed gas to provide a smooth and controlled motion. Gas springs are frequently used in automotive hatchbacks and hoods for smooth lifting and closing, in office chairs for height adjustment, and in machinery for controlled motion damping and cushioning. Here are some gas spring types listed below:
- Locking Gas Springs
- Stainless Steel Gas Springs
Materials Used For Making Springs
Below is a table that categorizes different types of springs based on the materials used and examples of their applications.
|Different types of Compression Springs
|High strength, flexibility, cost-effective
|Automotive suspensions, Industrial machinery
|Alloy Steel (e.g., Chrome Vanadium)
|Higher tensile strength, resilience to stress
|Garage door springs, Agricultural equipment
|Corrosion resistance, aesthetic appeal
|Marine applications, Food processing equipment
|Electrical Contact Springs
|Good electrical conductivity, fatigue resistance
|Electrical switches, Connectors
|High strength, electrical conductivity, heat resistance
|Aerospace components, Battery contacts
|Inconel (Nickel Alloy)
|Maintains strength at high temperatures
|Jet engines, Nuclear power plants
|Plastics (e.g., PEEK, Nylon)
|Non-metallic springs, types of plastic springs
|Non-magnetic, corrosion resistance, electrical insulation
|Medical devices, Electronic components
As we reach the end of our comprehensive exploration of springs, it’s evident that these components are foundational to countless mechanisms in every industry. From the smallest coil spring tucked inside a pen to the mighty extension springs that support massive industrial equipment, each type of spring has a pivotal role to play.
So, if you’re on the lookout for a trusted provider to supply top-quality springs tailored to your specifications, consider JIAHUI as your go-to source. Our selection of springs is matched only by our commitment to excellence and customer satisfaction. Don’t let the complexity of choices slow you down. Reach out to JIAHUI, where our expertise meets your needs, ensuring you get the perfect spring every time.