How Spring Wire Affects Your Manufacturing Efficiency (and How to Choose the Right Wire)
A spring wire can affect your manufacturing efficiency in more ways than one, and that shows how important they are.
A selection of the right spring wire material will ensure that your manufacturing is cost-effective and successful.
Whether it is a torsion, extension, watch, or compression spring you’re designing, the wire that has been chosen will greatly determine the level of performance attained in a particular application.
As a result, you need to know how to choose the right wire since each has certain characteristics that uniquely differentiate it from others.
How to Choose the Right Wire
An important consideration to have as a manufacturer when specifying springs is the type of spring wire material that will be used for the spring’s design.
This consideration is essential because certain factors can determine the quality of material you settle for.
That being so, you need to prioritize the following when choosing the right wire.
Consider the Environment the Spring Will be Used
Environmental conditions can impact on a spring’s load capacity and lifespan whether it is a torsion, extension, or compression spring.
That is why you need to consider if your spring will function in environments that will expose it to:
- Harsh chemicals
- Other substances
Here’s what it looks like:
An environment including harsh weather conditions can lead to a spring’s corrosion.
Corrosion such as rust replaces the surface of steel with flaky powder, which reduces its strength.
In the same vein, the temperature range the spring can withstand will determine how long its mechanical properties are maintained.
For instance, the normal temperature ranges are:
- Carbon steel is -40°C tot +120°C
- Brass is -190°C tot +120°C
- Phosphor Bronze is -190°C tot +80°C
To that effect, the material you settle on as a spring manufacturer should be based on the environment it will be used and its usability in a particular application.
Types of Spring Wire Material
Spring wire material varies since they offer specific performance characteristics.
A wire may be more corrosion resistant, water-resistant, etc. than another, and in the end, the application it will be put to considerably determines your choice of which.
That being the case, the types of spring wire material are:
- Stainless Steel
- Hard Drawn MB
- Music Wire
- Oil Tempered
- Phosphor Bronze
We’ll look at these 6 materials in detail below.
1. Stainless Steel
Stainless steel is a general-purpose spring wire material that is used in precipitation and austenitic hardening.
This material is cold drawn and it has heat resistance properties.
It is also corrosion-resistant, which takes away the need to use protective coatings on them.
Therefore, they are the ideal material for springs in locations with high temperatures, and where maintenance and replacement might be difficult.
In the same vein, alloy steels that contain more chromium have better corrosion resistance in comparison to plain steels.
Some common grades of steel are:
a. 302 stainless:
302 stainless consist of 18% Chromium and 8% Nickel.
It has excellent tensile properties and high corrosion resistance, which makes it suitable as stainless wire for springs.
b. 316 stainless:
These steels have more Nickel content with an additional 2-2.50% of Molybdenum.
As a result, they have more corrosion resistance but lower tensile strength, than 302 stainless sheets of steel.
c. 17/7 stainless:
The Grade 17/7 stainless features 17% Chromium and 7% Nickel.
For this reason, their corrosion resistance is similar to 302 even though it takes it one step further to have more heat resistance and strength and heat resistance.
2. Hard Drawn MB
Hard Drawn MB (HDMB) material or High carbon spring steels have a 0.5% carbon content.
Due to this higher carbon content, they are stronger and suitable for parts that will undergo frequent stress repetitions and high stress.
HDMB is also a cold drawn wire that is not suitable for low or high temperatures, shock, or impact loading.
They are inexpensive and conducive to electroplating.
What’s more, they are still an excellent choice for spring wire materials and producing commercial quality mechanical springs.
3. Music Wire
Music wire, piano wire or spring wire is a high-quality cold drawn, high carbon spring steel which has made it reputable as one of the toughest of spring materials.
Their chemical composition includes:
- 0.70 – 1% of carbon
- 0.10 – 0.30% silicon
- 0.20 – 0.60% Manganese
- 0.030 max. of Sulfur
- 0.025 max. of Phosphorus
This spring material is also notable for its high elastic limit and high tensile strength, which makes it able to withstand high stress under repetitive loading.
Music wire is mostly employed in compression springs since these springs will be susceptible to heavy loads and will still need to maintain their shape and elasticity.
There is also an excellent surface finish that makes it a great choice among many out there.
Spring wires of this nature are usually employed in refractories, foundries, heat treating, and a wide range of applications with hot internal temperatures.
Some types of music wire material are:
- ASTM-A228 or AMS-5112
- DIN-17223 or EN-10270-1 or JIS-G4314 SWP-A/B or AMS-5112
In comparison to other spring wire materials, Brass is more expensive, and as such, it is not commonly used.
The Brass wire features a distinctive gold brass color, but it tends to tarnish and lose its color over time.
However, it has excellent corrosion and water resistance.
Brass can also store potential and mechanical energy in large amounts, which can be attributed to its sturdy flexibility.
5. Oil Tempered
Oil-tempered spring material is cold drawn, general-purpose spring wire.
It is best known for its strength, durability, and malleability; thus, it can support heavy-duty equipment.
This spring wire is heat-treated before fabrication, and it is suitable for springs that require large wire diameters.
In the same vein, it is best suited for designing torsion springs.
6. Phosphor Bronze
Phosphor Bronze is a copper-based alloy that is used for the production of springs.
Also, it is cold drawn and has good corrosion resistance as well as electrical conductivity.
They have a reddish copper color and are just as expensive, which is why it is not commonly used.
On the contrary, Phosphor Bronze is more cost-effective than copper (Beryllium).
It is also worthy to note that the chemical composition of this spring type includes:
- Phosphorus (0.03-0.35%)
- Tin (5.50-7.00%)
- Iron (0.10% max.)
- Zinc (0.30% max.)
- Lead (0.05% max.)
Common Questions About Spring Material
What Are the Different Types of Wire Material?
The six types of spring wire material are: Stainless Steel, Hard Drawn MB, Music Wire, Brass, Oil Tempered, and Phosphor Bronze.
How do You Choose the Right Material?
The material you choose should be based on environmental conditions, load capacity, lifespan, corrosion resistance, and temperature range.
What Are Types of Stainless Steel Wire?
The most common grades of steel for wire are 302 stainless steel, 316 stainless steel, and 17/7 stainless steel.
Spring wire can affect your manufacturing efficiency, and as such, the utmost care must be given when choosing the right wire.
However, it would’ve been challenging to determine the spring material that is suitable for an application.
The latter is no longer the case given our outline to how the environment can impact on a spring.
The same goes for the level of strength each spring can offer, which makes it a great choice over another depending on their cost and area of application.
It is now left for you as a manufacturer to use the methods for testing and identifying wire types to choose one that can enhance your level of productivity and delivery of high-quality springs.
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