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Spring Winding

The manufacturing process of springs

Technical springs are practically everywhere. From mattresses and consumer products to industrial machinery, the spring is ubiquitous. Springs store mechanical energy and provide tension and compression in various applications. While the average person knows what a spring is and what it looks like, most do not know how springs are made or what they are made of. Here we discuss the process of manufacturing springs, how this process varies and what springs are made of.

How are springs made?

The process of manufacturing springs is fairly simple, with some variations based on the type of spring being made. In their most basic form, springs are made through a process of coiling, heat treatment, grinding, coating and finishing.

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1. Spring winding

First, the spring wire is fed into mechanical spring machine. This semi-automatic machine first pulls the thread straight from the spool in which it arrived, resetting it to a standard straight line. From there, the machine rolls, forms or bends the spring wire into the desired shape. These processes are described in more detail below:

  • Coiling : uses a spring coiler or computer numerical control (CNC) spring coiler machine. The technician operating the machine sets it to prepare it for the specific type of coil being made and feeds the wire into a set of rollers, which pulls the spring wire to a series of guides. Eventually, the guides guide the wire to a coiling point or series of coiling points, which roll the wire backward to form a spring. This type of mechanism forms compression, tension and torsion springs.
  • Forming: This is done using a wire former or CNC wire former. In this type of machine, there are six to eight tool slides on the front, which allows it to perform various types of bends and shapes in addition to the spring coil. As a result, this process can create a series of spring shapes. Spring formers are often used to make tension springs, torsion springs, wire forms and sometimes compression springs.
  • Bending: Wire bending uses a CNC wire bender, a mechanical wire bending machine controlled by a computer. The machine works by feeding the wire into a set of rollers, which pull the wire to wire guides and push it to a movable tool head controlled by the computer. The tool head performs various bends and shapes. The wire bender is usually used to make wire forms.
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2. HEAT TREATMENT

Pass-through oven

Once we have formed a spring, it usually has to undergo heat treatment. This causes the spring to spring back when placed under tension.

During the heat treatment process, we treat the spring to a specific temperature for a certain amount of time. The temperature and time setting varies depending on the type and amount of wire used. After this process is complete, the spring may go through additional heat treatment steps, where the spring is quenched or cooled before entering another round. The exact process depends on the type of material and the manufacturing process we use.

In most of our modern manufacturing processes, heat treatment is carried out using a conveyor oven. When a spring comes out of our spring machine, it falls down a chute onto a conveyor belt, which transports the spring to the entrance of a furnace.

The spring is then fed by the conveyor through the furnace at a speed that ensures it stays in the furnace long enough. After the spring emerges from the furnace, it is transported to a receiving cabinet to cool.

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3. Grinding

Grinding can be applied to compression springs if the design requires it. During the grinding process, the ends of the spring are flattened, allowing the spring to stand stable when positioned vertically.

Spring grinding is accomplished using a spring grinder. This grinder has two horizontal grinding discs, spaced apart so that the length of the spring can get between the discs. A separate component called socket sleeve holds the spring and moves it slowly between the two grinding wheels.

As the plate moves, the ends of the spring come into contact with the grinding wheels, working the ends so that the end faces are perpendicular to the side faces of the spring. After this process is completed, the spring is released by the spring holder into a collection tray.

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4. Coating and finishing

As a finishing touch, springs are usually finished with some sort of coating, plating or finishing process. In finishing processes, the surface of the spring undergoes additional steps to combat erosion, impart new properties to the spring or simply improve the overall appearance of the spring. Some examples of common finishing processes include the following:

  • Shot peeining: Shot peening is a finish applied to cold-worked springs. In this process, spherical bullets are shot on the wire, resulting in compression stress and forming layers of compression pits. As a result, the surface of the material hardens, making it more resistant to fatigue, corrosion and cracking.
  • Powder coating: Powder coating is another option for wire spring finishes. Powder coatings are usually applied to hot-drawn springs and help prevent rusting on the spring surface. Coatings can also come in different colors for aesthetics.
  • Aftertreatment: Finishes add a final level of functionality to springs, provide new features or simply preserve the life of the spring for the end user.
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