The Most Common Reasons for Compressor Spring Failure
Compression spring failure can drastically affect the efficiency and effectiveness of an entire system, but many are not aware of what actually causes this failure.
Spring failure can disrupt expected output and establish frustrating maintenance issues and overtime for personnel.
Regular preventative maintenance, cleaning, and attention to environmental conditions can help avoid most of the common reasons for compressor spring failure.
Ensuring the spring is not a mismatch for the stresses it is expected to meet is also important.
Spring Failure: A Problem for Compressors
Compression springs have a wide variety of properties and materials that allow the compressor to function.
These springs have many aspects to them, including:
- Creep strengths
With careful attention to these matters, compression springs can perform reliably and effectively for their expected life span.
Reason #1: Ignoring the General Environment
The error of ignoring the environment in which the compressor spring operates can originate in the design phase.
By working with engineers, manufacturers can communicate a wealth of material a compressor design team should take into consideration:
- What kinds of materials or liquids will the spring come into contact with?
- How might these be different or similar to the conditions compressor springs in other systems might experience?
- In what ways might adherence to local laws or safety considerations affect the performance of the spring?
- To what degree can the environment immediately surrounding the spring be controlled?
Anticipating these matters can help eliminate problems before they start.
– What Is Environmental Temperature Variation?
Temperature variations are a common culprit when it comes to environmentally caused spring failure.
If the temperature around the spring is consistently too hot, it can create warping in the material, weakening it. Expansion may also occur.
On the other hand, constantly exposing the compressor spring to temperatures which are too cold for it to withstand is also a pending disaster. The spring’s material will likely contract.
Cold temperatures may encourage
- Tiny cracks
In either case, account for temperature variations when selecting the best kind of spring compressor for the job.
Reason #2: Corrosion
The fight against corrosion is a constant one for many engineers and manufacturers.
Designing systems which will resist it and yet perform efficiently is key, and operators are constantly on guard against its effects.
Compression springs are at the center of the compressor’s work cycle, and if corrosion is present, even the most finely tuned and robust manufacturing process can be brought to a screeching and costly halt.
No matter the environmental factors a metal compressor spring experiences, corrosion is always lurking.
– How Can You Prevent Corrosion?
Battling corrosion is difficult because it is a fight against nature itself.
It is the gradual degradation of refined metals into a less usable form. Most are familiar with corrosion in the form of rust.
If care is not taken, depending on the materials on hand, one can no more stop corrosion than the coming of the tide.
It is a simple matter of gases coming into contact with metal.
Because of the durability of metal, particularly stainless steel, it is often present in or near compressor springs.
Even if the spring itself is not made of an at-risk material, constant contact with a machine part that is can encourage a general weakening.
– Where Does Corrosion Occur?
Corrosion sometimes takes place locally or within an entire system.
Ignoring a compressor spring long enough in adverse environmental conditions may lead to corrosion with shocking speed.
For example, a compressor spring with iron as a component, if it constantly encounters salt water, will quickly fail; corrosion will have quickly eaten away at the metal.
However, corrosion on compressor springs is not always immediately apparent.
It can assume many forms; a spring suffering from corrosion will not necessarily look like an abandoned shipyard.
- Sometimes, the corrosion takes the form of pitting, or holes so tiny they are only viewable with a microscope. This, obviously, leads to a rapid weakening of the structure of the spring.
- In other instances, the compressor spring is subject to filiform corrosion, which is the seeping of water or other liquids beneath paint or a protective coating.
It’s possible to slow or avoid corrosion by paying attention to the kind of materials which comprise the compressor spring.
While stainless steel is strong and more resistant to corrosion than other materials, it still contains iron as a component, and is therefore at risk for corrosion.
Some forms of metal, known as the noble metals, are excellent choices when it comes to avoiding corrosion. Noble metals include the likes of:
Because of this, they tend to be quite expensive, and may require a strengthening alloy to avoid breakage.
Reason #3: Choosing the Wrong Types of Material
As compressor springs are employed in a wide variety of environments, there is no one perfect recommended material.
However, a few constants can point us in the right direction when it comes to choosing the right material for the job.The wrong kind of material in the wrong environment can quickly contribute to compressor spring failure.
For example, sometimes springs are from music wire, which provides for excellent tensile strength.
- Carry a high shock load
However, it is best for small springs. Trying to form a large spring of music wire might not yield an efficient performance over time.
Understanding the expected load of a compressor spring, as well as how often it completes a work cycle, is crucial in choosing the right material.
Reason #4: Choosing Incorrect Treatments
The surfaces of compressor springs may be treated to extend their service lives or provide built-in preventative maintenance.
Choosing the best form of treatment may help avoid spring failure.
It’s possible to heat treat or cover compressor springs with a surface coating to protect it from the elements.
Zinc plating is one such option.
– What is Cryogenic Treatment?
Cryogenic treatment is a modern possibility.
Cryogenic treatment involves incrementally cooling an item to the temperature of liquid nitrogen, or -315 degrees Fahrenheit, and maintaining the temperature for 24 hours.
The temperature is then slowly raised again. This process can provide a spring with more endurance and help its components to resist cracking and stress.
Since the most stress a spring experiences are at its surfaces, pre-treating the spring material in this manner can provide for far better durability.
These are four common reasons why your compressor springs fail.
Once we know the common reasons of spring failure, we can work to avoid these four problems.
Not only will it allow your compressors to function more efficiently, but it also increases the lifespan of your compressor.
Finding a high quality compression spring manufacturer is essential in this process.
KB Delta can assist you with all compressor spring questions, or concerns. Contact us today.
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