At Airedale Springs, we understand just how essential springs are, as many objects need them to work properly. As spring manufacturers, we have been producing compression springs for many years, and for many different applications.

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You can find these types of springs in a variety of industries, from manufacturing and automotive to construction and aerospace, and in a number of common objects, such as mattresses, pogo sticks, pens, button-operated devices and locks, just to mention a few.

Even though these springs are so popular, there can still be some questions about them and how they work. So, below you can find the most frequently asked questions about compression springs, which will help you to learn more about these vital springs.

What Are Compression Springs?

First of all, it’s important to define what compression springs really are, since they differ from other types like torsion springs or garter springs.

Compression springs are open-coil helical springs which offer resistance to a compressive force applied axially. Compression springs are the most popular types of springs and work by absorbing potential energy as they expand, which means they’re often installed over rods or into round holes.

The more pressure or weight that the spring suffers, the more energy it has to push back until it reached its initial height once more.

How Are Compression Springs Designed?

We take spring design very seriously, as we aim to ensure that our springs are always of the highest possible quality. When it comes to designing compression springs, we need to consider several elements, such as the spring material, the spring wire diameter, the diameter of the spring itself, the length of the spring, the number of coils, the type of spring end (not closed, closed but not ground, or closed and ground), and direction of wind (left-hand or right-hand).

What Are the Different Types of Compression Springs?

Compression springs are not all built the same. Some of the different types of compression springs include conical, barrel and hourglass – and they all each have their function. Choosing the right one for a specific project is crucial, therefore, in order to ensure the optimal performance of the object or machine the spring is used in.

So, what are some of the most popular compression spring configurations?

  • Hourglass, or concave, springs have a smaller diameter in the centre in comparison to the ends. They’re shaped like an hourglass and used in applications that require low solid height.
  • Barrel, or convex, springs are the opposite, as they taper to a larger diameter in the centre when compared to the ends. They are used to resist applied compression forces or to store energy and are one of the most popular configurations of compression springs. They’re often found in the automotive and consumer goods sectors.
  • Conical springs have one end smaller than the other and can be tapered in such a way that each coil rests wholly or partly into an adjacent coil. They’re designed to offer a near-constant spring rate (which means varying degrees of stiffness) and a solid height lower than other springs.
  • Mechanical springs are designed for compression and tension and are heavy-duty springs used to store mechanical energy.
  • Magazine springs are compression springs with oval- or rectangular-shaped coils placed inside the magazine of a weapon, so they’re commonly used in the defence sector.

What Are the Most Common Compression Spring Applications?

These types of springs are found in several different industries, as well as everyday objects. Some of these include valves, railways, turbines, wheelchairs, engines, toys and electronics – their popularity is due to how versatile they are, since compression springs can come in a range of different body sizes, diameters and pitches, depending on their application.

From the paper industry to the offshore oil and gas sector, as well as the medical industry, these springs can be found everywhere. Other common uses for compression springs include shock absorbers in vehicles, pacemakers and mobile phones.

What Are the Materials Used in Compression Springs?

Springs are used in many different sectors, so they will have to be able to withstand the conditions of the environment they’re placed in. For example, springs used in oil rigs need to not only be able to withstand the normal wear and tear but also be resistant to corrosion. Springs need to be able to bend but not break and release stored energy when needed, all of which will depend on several factors, including the materials used to manufacture the springs.

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At Airedale Springs, some of the materials we use include:

  • High carbon steels – Suitable for both lower and higher stress applications, due to their tensile strength.
  • Stainless steels – Ideal for environments where a high degree of corrosion and heat resistance is a concern.
  • Alloy steels – Chrome vanadium and chrome silicon are alloy steels ideal for chock loads, like engine valve springs.
  • Non-ferrous alloys – For applications where springs need to resist high temperatures and corrosion, as well as have great electrical conductivity, cold-drawn copper alloys are the best solution.
  • Hot temperature alloys – Materials such as nickel and chromium alloys are perfect for applications that require good resistance to corrosion at high temperatures.

How Many Cycles Do Compression Springs Last For?

While it’s impossible to say for sure how long the lifespan of a compression spring is, there are several factors that can contribute to a longer – or shorter – life cycle, since they impact the service life of the spring in one way or another. For example, it’s important to consider the environment where the spring will be placed in; the less corrosive or hot, the more a spring will last.

Other factors include whether the spring will operate with an uneven load, the surface treatment of the spring, its compression speed, if there is any wear and tear as the spring touches other objects, and whether it’s a hot- or cold-wound spring.

As specialist compression spring manufacturers, we operate the latest CNC equipment which can manufacture an extensive range of compression springs, as well as other types of springs, and meet the needs of our customers and the demands of their industries.

Get in touch to learn more about our products and how we can help with your next project.