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Signs It Is Time to Replace Springs in Your Equipment

Replace Springs | KB Delta

The very last thing you want is to find out that you need replace springs in your machine while you are in the middle of a manufacturing project. As you know, springs are used in an absolute myriad of different pieces of equipment, including the compressors that we all use every day. That means that the failure of a spring could lead to critical equipment being out of use just when you need it, and so failing to replace springs just at the right moment can cause a real headache and maybe even effect your bottom line.

While keeping an eye on the springs in your compressor might be at the very bottom of the to-do list, realistically you should be regularly checking up on their current condition.


The Three Ways Springs Can Break

springs | KB DeltaThere are a number of different ways that springs can break. These ‘ways’ can broadly be broken down into three main categories.

1. High Levels of Stress – Firstly, the main reason that springs tend to fail is down to higher levels of stress being placed on them than they were designed to handle. When high levels of stresses are placed repeatedly on a spring not designed to cope, then this fatigue will develop into a failure.

2. Faults in the Manufacturing Process – Secondly, faults within the manufacturing process of the spring itself can lead to breakage and failures. These manufacturing faults can range from weaknesses in the material used to construct the spring through to insufficient heat treatment – including the temperature reached or the consistency of the treatment temperature.

3. Unfit Temperatures – Finally, the third way that a failure can be caused is also linked to temperature, though it is seen as unlikely. Environments in which the springs are ‘working’ that are too cold, can cause metal components in compressors to become brittle, while conditions which are too hot can cause the metal to become pliable.


The Problems Broken Springs can Cause

There are a number of problems that failing and broken springs can cause. In the content of an automobile, a spring failure will cause the compressor to lag behind the speed of the engine. This lag will lead to misfires and thus a decrease in performance output. That performance loss will be heightened by the vibrations caused by the misfire, and as we all know, any movement, noise or heat caused that isn’t supposed to be is wasted energy.

Underperformance means that you’re not getting the best out of your equipment. This lost performance can slow down what you’re working on, which isn’t good news. The end result might be that you will either need to invest in a new piece of equipment from an online store like Grays’ (buy here) or that your company will suffer lost profits or unhappy customers.

The problem is that once you’ve spotted these issues, it’s much like a patient recognizing they have a symptom, further investigation by a professional doctor is always needed before they can get to the route cause.


The Warning Signs before Breakage Occurs

Before a spring actually breaks and fails, there are a number of warning signs that you could – and should – be keeping a careful lookout for.

Your equipment is not working smoothly – If your equipment seems jumpy or as though it’s jerking in and out of working and not working, this a classic sign that you may be heading towards the breakage of a spring. That might be manifesting itself in a visible way, or you might be able to hear a grinding or crunching that shouldn’t be heard.

There is cracks in the spring – Depending on the piece of equipment you’re using, the springs themselves may or may not be visible. Prior to a complete failure of spring, you may be able to see cracking or missing pieces of that spring. To physically inspect a spring may mean that you have to take equipment apart in order to get a good look inside, but the effort is worthwhile. Any cracking, missing pieces or gaps where there shouldn’t be any are sure-fire signs that you need to replace springs as soon as possible.

However, it’s important to recognize that you can’t always tell when it’s time to replace springs just by looking at them, especially if you’re comparing two springs side by side. So, how can you be sure that both springs aren’t on their way to failure?

Top tip: Any springs that are shorter than the others are likely to have lost their tension, and so should be replaced.

Gaps around the housing – If the spring sits inside some form of housing or a pocket, then any gaps will lead to the spring jumping while the compressor is in use. Like passengers in a car going over a speed bump too quickly, the spring will jump up and may not sit back down in the exact place that it was before. This can lead to inconsistent stress being placed on the spring and, eventually, failure. Any gaps around the housing or the pocket will be a sure giveaway that you need to replace springs.

Similarly, a spring should fit into a retainer unit if one is being used. This may look like a tight fit, which is usually okay, but too tight and there will be too much stress placed on the top coil of the spring and cause a failure.

Misshaped springs should also be replaced, as should any that show any signs of nicks or corrosion, or even shiny worn areas. Nicks, corrosion and worn areas are classic signs that the spring is rubbing up against another component. It may be that this is to be expected, but it may also be a sign that whatever the spring is rubbing against has become out of place and may need looking at.


This article has walked you through the three main ways that a spring can break, the causes, the effects, and the warning signs to look out for before a failure occurs so that you will know when it’s time to replace springs in your equipment.

How many of the causes of failure did you already know about? Are you confident enough to know what to look out for when thinking about replacing springs in your compressors or other equipment?

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