The Basic Types of Helical Springs
Helical springs play an important role, which is why it’s good to know the basic types, their purpose, and what to look for when seeking the best quality design. Read on.
Compressors, like many other types of machines and devices, often require springs. Helical springs are great for use in compressors because they help to maintain even pressure and absorb vibrations. In addition, there are several important facts you need to be aware of before you replace any springs in your devices.
Helical springs come in four basic categories:
They are versatile, in that they are used in many different types of applications. You might find helical springs used by the medical industry, automotive, and construction industries. Industrial equipment often requires the use of precision and strength in the design and materials of their parts. Before you can begin the design of the components you need, you will have to determine which of the categories is most appropriate:
- Compression Springs
These springs have an open coil system that is designed to oppose compression along the axis of the wind. In other words, loosely wound coils resist the force of compression, the amount of force resisted can be affected by adjusting the tightness of the wind. This is the most common type of configuration and they are commonly used in combination with a rod or are fitted inside a cylindrical hole.
- Extension Springs
This type of coil is designed to absorb energy or store energy. In general, they will be used to create resistance to tensile forces. The degree of tension is determined by how tightly wound the coils are. These coils may be used in industrial robots, as door locks, or in perambulators.
- Torsion Springs
These coils are characterized by their twisting strength. The flexible wind of the object stores mechanical energy. As the coil is twisted more tightly, the force, or torque, becomes stronger in the opposite direction. Torsion helical springs are used to operate clothespins, garage doors, and suspension systems on automobiles. Naturally, these systems are available in many different sizes from very tiny to very big and powerful.
- Spring Guides
These guides are known by a number of different names, such as coil pipes, medical springs, and cable sheaths. They are long and slender and are used to provide flexible support within a project. They may be found in bicycle brakes, control cables on animatronics, or might be used as reinforcement inside of plastic tubing.
The use of helical springs is common, but should not be under-valued. This powerful and flexible tool handles a great deal of force in many different directions and with a variety of results.
Different Types of Springs for Different Uses
The main types of helical springs have their own important uses. Compressors typically use compression springs, but it is possible for the other types to also be useful in these machines. Compression springs absorb energy when compressed by a force. This is useful in a compressor when vibrations are common. Springs absorb the vibrations so that they don’t shake apart the compressor or cause other parts to become damaged.
- Store and Release Energy
The real importance of any type of helical spring lies in its ability to store and release energy. However, the way that energy is stored and released differs between the various categories of springs. For example, compression springs work differently than extension springs in a very fundamental way. Compacting compression springs forces them to absorb energy. When that spring is released from compression, energy is expounded. On the other hand, an extension spring is designed to work in a way that is completely opposite of a compression spring. It stores energy when stretched and releases that energy when it is allowed to compress back to its normal state. This fundamental difference shows that each type of spring has its own, unique uses.
With any machine, repair and maintenance are important. Maintaining and replacing springs is incredibly vital. Broken or failing springs can potentially result in disaster. Reduce the risk of injury or accident in the workplace by ensuring your helical springs are well maintained and in good working condition.
How to Obtain High Quality Helical Springs
High quality springs maintain a balance between sufficient elasticity to allow the desired degree of compression and the durability needed to keep their shape and not become stretched or deformed.
Depending on the specific application and working environment, the optimal materials for a helical spring can vary immensely. Experienced manufacturers typically offer a wide range of material types, including copper, stainless steel, and chrome silicon, as well as high-tech alloys such as Inconel, Egiloy, and Nimonic.
Additional treatments may also be necessary to optimize your spring’s function. Heat treating, painting, and magnetizing are just a few of the add-ons available.
- Custom Design
If you expect high performance from your compressor, be sure to pay attention to its helical springs. Look for a manufacturer who is willing to work with you and handle custom specifications; buying bulk-manufactured springs that do not fit precisely can throw off your compressor’s performance, lead to breakdowns and result in costly repairs and replacements that could have been avoided by obtaining high quality components in the first place.
- Measurements and Testing
Highly precise measurements are crucial to the proper function of your springs. For best results, ask your manufacturer to first create a prototype and run a simulation of you’re your spring design will work with your machine. Do not approve manufacturing until the testing process has been completed to your satisfaction.
A reliable company will also stand behind its product. You should be able to obtain answers to your questions and product support even after your order is completed. Developing a relationship with a qualified manufacturer is the best way to keep your compressor and all of its parts in great working condition. In the long run, ensuring that all parts are of high quality and fit well will save you time and expense.
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