Staying on top of trends is crucial for businesses in almost all sectors but is especially important for those, such as ourselves, in the manufacturing industry. There are constant changes happening all the time, and, as leading spring manufacturers, we must look at these changes and consider how we can implement them into our practices.

Manufacturing trends of 2023

We understand that trends come and go, and things we thought would stick around may not have lasted more than a few months before something bigger and better came and took their place. However, others start as trends and remain staples in the industry for years to come.

So, today, we’re exploring this idea by looking into the top manufacturing trends of 2023. We’re predicting what we believe will be popular over the next twelve months, as well as what we’re taking with us and leaving behind from 2022.

Which 2022 Manufacturing Trends Will Carry Over Into 2023?

Last year, the industry welcomed a wide range of technology that we have been proud to implement into our processes here at European Springs. Here are a few of the manufacturing trends (technological and not) of 2022 that we believe will carry over into this year and become industry standard in the not-so-distant future:

  • Big data. This improves efficiency, streamlines processes, and allows manufacturing companies to better their decision-making quickly.
  • Smart factories. Whilst this isn’t an entirely new idea, smart factories developed in 2022, becoming more accessible for those in the industry along with a surge of new cyber-physical technology.
  • Carbon neutrality. Again, this wasn’t new to 2022, but the ways in which it developed last year were impressive. Factories, warehouses, and workshops worldwide pledged to change their processes, use greener systems, and decrease their carbon footprint in line with industry standards.

Net zero manufacturing companies

Which 2022 Manufacturing Trends Will Be Left Behind?

2022 saw many significant changes to the manufacturing industry, and most of those developments were revolutionary, as discussed above. Because of this, there aren’t any stand-out trends that were found to be passing fads.

Trying and testing new practices is never a waste of time because it allows us to use an array of skills and helps us gain experience and develop ourselves and the company; however, we can’t help but feel relieved when no trends are left behind. Here at European Springs, this is always great news, as it means no time, money, or other resources were wasted in investing in trends that didn’t last longer than twelve months.

Manufacturing Trends to Look Out for in 2023

As mentioned, today we’re exploring some of the manufacturing trends we believe will significantly impact the industry in 2023. Whether it’s new technology, tech developments, or improved practices, we’re at the forefront of these changes that allow us to improve our services and products for our clients; let’s take a look.

3D Printing

3D printing has been a staple in the industry for years, but we believe that 2023 is when it will become even more popular. Recently, there have been significant advancements in 3D printing technology, with metal being used in the process in place of plastic. This means that items, such as hinges, screws, and other metal components that need to be durable, can be manufactured using 3D printing. This significantly increases the speed and efficiency of the manufacturing process, especially for bulk orders.

Who knows, perhaps one day we will be 3D-printing our compression springs?

3D printing machine printing metal

Increased Automation

Automation is a broad term used to describe automatic equipment, for example:

  • Robotics
  • AI
  • Sensors
  • And much more

It is designed to streamline processes and speed up manufacturing procedures which is beneficial for many reasons. For instance, we could use automation systems for our bulk orders, allowing our technicians to work on other manufacturing areas while AI or robotic technology completes the orders.

In 2023, we believe that advanced automation will be used more frequently across the industry. This is because it means skilled workers can complete more fulfilling roles while AI works on repetitive practices, such as the bulk orders mentioned above.

AI

To further explore the previous point, we believe AI will become huge in 2023. We have already seen evidence of what artificial intelligence can achieve and are excited to see it advance over the year.

With the speed at which AI is advancing, we could use the technology across our company to assist us with spring design, manufacturing, and testing. For example, instead of manufacturing physical products to test for durability, we could program AI with the materials we wish to test and use digital testing. This way, we’re not wasting materials, and, at the same time, we’re speeding up the testing process.

As mentioned, we’re always thrilled to try out new manufacturing technology and see what is trending throughout the industry to see how we could use it to our and our client’s advantage. European Springs is always at the forefront of these industry changes, and it’s exciting to see where technological advancements take us.

To stay updated, please check our blog, where we post the latest industry innovations, and, as always, get in touch with our expert manufacturers for all spring manufacturing queries.

Reducing the environmental damage of various industries in the UK is a challenge that manufacturing is rising to. The main focus is to reduce harmful ecological waste and make carbon emissions neutral through reduced output and offset compensation efforts.

Industries like manufacturing have significantly negatively affected the environment for many decades. Still, with new processes being developed often, the industry has a greener future.

sustainable manufacturing

UK Sustainability Challenge

It has been just over a year since the UK hosted COP 26 (United Nations Climate Change Conference #26) at the end of November 2021. This impactful conference addressed three main goals related to reversing climate change:

  • Revisiting the 2015 Paris Agreement for improvements such as limiting warming to 1.5°C
  • Phasing down unabated coal usage
  • Committing to financing climate change efforts in developing countries

There was also a pledge to increase countries to aim for Net Zero status. With over 40 countries already committed to reversing deforestation and electricity generated from coal, they adopted over 140 members into the Net Zero plan.

The UK government heavily supports the Net Zero 2050 plan as a road map for companies to improve their ecological status. It involves time-based targets that must be met to create a genuinely carbon-neutral economy in our country. However, rather than one single way, many smaller methods are helping spring manufacturers achieve their sustainability goals.

green skills in manufacturing

What Are Green Skills?

Green skills are an assistive framework that promotes a more sustainable approach in many areas, including manufacturing. In addition, these skills positively affect individual attitudes within the workplace regarding environmental care. Examples of these are already evident in many workplaces with recycling, but green skills develop it further with adaptable competencies that create a broad green mindset.

Competencies are the culmination of shared skills, knowledge and values that help workers act on a green mindset without distraction from their daily work. Using these green skills, minor ecological improvements can be made daily, building over time into significant, permanent change. The details of these skills will be dependent on your company’s focus, but there are three primary competencies:

Cognitive Competencies

Cognitive involves the company’s awareness of their effect on the environment and what green practices will reduce them to promote sustainability. This competency is relatively fluid, as it can change and grow as new innovations are discovered and applied to your working methods.

Interpersonal and Intrapersonal Competencies

Whereas cognitive is thought of as planning, development, and study, these two are about implementing the ideas to assess their effectiveness. Interpersonal involves creating strategies for your team to follow and establishing guidelines for long-term goals that will track progress. Intrapersonal addresses new skills that may be required but are also intricately connected to technological competencies.

Technological Competencies

Many new eco-friendly processes involve new machinery, technology or strategies that will help reduce harmful waste or carbon emissions. One already wildly successful example is the general elimination of paper correspondence in business, such as letters or printed emails. The increasing implementation of digital processes such as emails has drastically reduced paper waste. The same concept can be applied to other areas of manufacturing. Being more attentive to the sourced raw materials and choosing recycled sources reduces the industry’s effect on the environment immensely.

Sustainable Circular Models

Sourcing the required materials sustainably required significant changes across manufacturing processes. Circular models aim to eliminate the traditional linear method of product creation that leads to waste and link it to have the waste support new creation. Recycling supports a circular model, but the concept needs to be developed furth within industries. Improving the circular economy model to a remanufacturing plan means greater security and reduced costs relating to sourcing materials as the waste can be reused.

Manufacturing is a high-energy industry that uses many resources and electricity to operate productively. As a result, most facilities are contributing to carbon offset schemes for their power generation needs and supporting the increased development of renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and wave. The increased availability of these renewable sources has led many facility owners to invest in local generation with smaller wind turbines and roofs covered in solar panels. These sources will supplement some of the substantial energy needs of manufacturing parts and components, thereby simultaneously reducing energy costs and environmental impact.

renewable energy

A Sustainable Future for Manufacturing

European Springs is committed to supporting a more ecologically sound industry for future generations. Decreasing the industry’s impact on the environment will secure that future and maintain the integrity of habitats worldwide. Sustainable material use and manufacture also eliminate toxic by-products from waste entering nature’s systems and harming both plants, animals, and humans.

European Springs is a leading manufacturer of custom springs in the UK, and we are constantly working to improve our high-quality spring manufacturing processes, so they continue to have a minimal environmental impact. Contact us to discuss our working methods or any bespoke spring designs you need for your next application.

Many factors will help you make the final decision regarding finding a supplier. The task is important but challenging. Due to the continued global growth of manufacturers and the cheaper ability to import to reduce manufacturing costs, there are thousands of suppliers to choose from. Supplier and manufacturing companies need to be able to work hand in hand to offer the best of each service, but what should you consider as a retailer or supplier when choosing one to fit with your business?

Spring manufacturing suppliers in a warehouse

As a leading manufacturer of bespoke pressings, we appreciate and understand the importance of finding the right fit for your business. We explore some of the most imperative considerations when choosing a supplier and how European Springs could answer all your wire form and pressing needs.

Expertise and Reliability

Having a well-established expert skill set is one of the main reasons many companies will favour a supplier. As a spring manufacturer with 70 years of expertise in the industry, we understand the importance of providing excellent products and services. Choosing a supplier with many years of experience will offer you the peace of mind that your supplier will deliver what you need. In addition, a well-established supplier will have worked out any kinks in their product designs and will understand the trends that come with each industry.

This extensive knowledge will serve any business well and offer the confidence that the supplier will provide satisfaction in all areas of their services. For example, at European Springs, we pride ourselves in providing our clients with the highest level of services whilst working with them to ensure they receive designs bespoke to their exact needs and requirements. This element of our services offers continuous reliability and is why many of our customers have a long-term loyalty to us for many years.

Quality and Quantity

Although many services will mass produce your desired design, consistency is key to being an excellent supplier. When considering a supplier, they must provide you with the high-quality detail you require and the capabilities to produce the quantity you need to the same standard. This fact is something we take very seriously at European springs.

A wire form manufacturer and supplier

As wire form manufacturers, we use the industry’s latest CNC automated spring coilers and wire forming equipment. This equipment allows us to generate generic and bespoke pieces without limitation. We produce the wire forms manually for smaller quantities, whereas, for larger orders, we will utilise our highly advanced machinery, which will autonomously make the same high-quality standard.

Knowledge of Various Industries

Unless your business is unique, offering very niche products and services, choosing a supplier with a broad scope of various industries is advantageous. This expertise will allow suppliers to help advise you on designs and strategies which may not be customary for your specific industry but may have worked well in other sectors.

A broad knowledge of various industries helps us stand out as spring suppliers. We can continuously adapt our products and services to our customer’s needs, which has been a leading attribute contributing to our 70 years of high-quality service. It has also helped us to adapt to our customers. The ability to adapt helps to grow a business, so having a supplier that can adapt with you is essential. We provide high-quality spring designs for the following range of industries.

  • Electrical
  • Automotive
  • Agricultural
  • Defence
  • Medical
  • Telecom

However, we also have experience with many more. We are proud to supply a range of industries and always strive to continue to grow into even more fields where we are needed.

Supplier Ethos

Considering the ethos of your supplier may not be a common factor amongst companies, but it is growing with concern. Consumers are becoming more conscientious when making their purchases, so ensuring your products are ethically sourced could be essential to success as a manufacturer. From paying more than minimum wage for their employees to investing in future improvements for their business, an ethical supplier is guaranteed to offer the best products and services. At European Springs, we are proud of our many processes that strive for a better future, including our apprenticeship schemes and strict vetting within our suppliers.

Eco friendly manufacturing and spring supplying graphic

The entire manufacturing industry strives to improve its environmental impact within its supply chains. Many are choosing locally sourced recycled materials, which minimises the travel of products, reducing the carbon footprint. This can also help prevent disruptions with global issues and provide a more efficient service. For example, many manufacturers are utilising the benefits of heat pumps within their processes to help improve the sustainability of their services. This innovation is one-way manufacturers offer more environmentally friendly materials and products.

Finding the Right Spring Manufacturer

Although we have explored many elements of European Springs, which makes us a leader within our industry, there is so much more we can offer. We have complete in-house design facilities which provide the latest technologies for wire form and pressings and offer on-site powder coatings, shot peening, barrel rumbling and polishing. You can enquire online or speak to our team today about any needs, and our fantastic team will be sure to help.

smart factory

As leading spring manufacturers in the ever-evolving engineering industry, we are always looking for ways to improve our processes to provide the latest and greatest service for our customers. Industry changes occur rather regularly, especially with the ongoing digitisation, so it may seem overwhelming to those entering the field and joining a smart factory if you don’t know what to expect.

So, we’re taking a look behind the curtain of manufacturing and delving into some of the things you may find inside a smart factory. We’ll be looking into some of the high-tech hardware as well as the innovative software that has been developed over the years to help you get a better indication of the machinery and equipment you will be dealing with in this environment.

What Are Smart Factories?

A smart factory is a cyber-physical work environment where machinery and equipment are linked through an interconnected network of computers. Smart factories are indeed smart and have the best technology available and the highest advancements in AI, robotics, and incredibly intelligent hardware and software to enable their devices to talk to each other seamlessly. This technology allows humans to take a step back and let their machinery take over by transforming and streamlining processes to create a more efficient and productive workplace.

Smart factories are just one small part of Industry 4.0, which we have seen taking over the manufacturing and engineering sectors.

What Is Industry 4.0?

Industry 4.0 is the latest industrial revolution, in which digital transformations are plenty. The goal set by the industry was to improve digital manufacturing, such as:

  • Automation increases
  • Interconnecting digital and physical processes
  • Increasing productivity and efficiency
  • An increase in the use of smart devices
  • And, of course, an increase in smart factories

These are just a few examples of the goals of the industry. Still, many processes have been implemented to ensure these objectives are met, and we see many improvements throughout the manufacturing and engineering sectors.

Here at European Springs, we produce a long list of custom springs and bespoke pressings, and these digital transformations help us to improve the systems that allow us to create these specific items for our customers.

smart factory

So, What’s Inside a Smart Factory?

With so many digital improvements taking place all the time, it can be difficult to keep up with equipment changes and software updates. So, to help you better understand what to expect inside a smart factory and learn more about the technology included as part of Industry 4.0, we have compiled a list of some of the tech and equipment the industry uses today.

Robotics

Robotics helped tackle the Covid-19 outbreak, but even since then, they have come a long way. Now, robotics is standard machinery in smart factories, helping to make up the extensive range of equipment under the roof of these working establishments.

These robots are programmed with the latest software, enabling human-robot collaboration to take place before they are set up to automate processes once completed by human workers.

3D Printers

3D printers are used in smart factories to create high-quality prototypes of items that these factories produce. For example, as custom spring manufacturers, we could use this machinery to print a prototype of a bespoke spring for our clients. This allows us to showcase what we could produce for them, meaning we could alter parts, change sizes, and make other amendments freely without wasting materials.

CNC Machinery

CNC machinery, also known as computer numerical control machinery, can be found in almost all smart factories today. This software can be used to programme machines and hardware in smart factories, allowing efficient production without the need for constant human interaction.

5g

5G

5G eliminates the need for wired devices, meaning smart factories can remove almost all of their wiring and depend solely on a 5G network to run their systems. This comes with both advantages and drawbacks, the latter being connectivity issues, a halted production line if the network fails, and increased cybersecurity threats. However, the benefits often outweigh these risks; with impressive speeds and increased flexibility, more factory owners are implementing 5G into their businesses than ever before.

AI

We are seeing a lot of AI in the news right now, with this technology making its mark on the art industry, but it has been a staple in smart factories within the manufacturing sector for some time now. One example of AI used in smart factories is replicating objects that a factory may produce for customers. This allows for initial visual analysis tests to be conducted digitally, which saves money, time, and materials that would have been lost should they have conducted physical tests first.

Big Data

Big data is used in many aspects of manufacturing found within a smart factory. It is used to review large amounts of historical loads or alter major orders, both of which we could use here at European Springs. For example, if a customer approached us and asked to repeat an order they made with us several years ago, we could use big data to replicate their exact specifications and provide them with the same items. Additionally, suppose a customer wanted to make changes to a major order. In that case, big data could help us alter this quickly and seamlessly without affecting the rest of the production.

Here at European Springs, we are always excited by new technological advancements and industry improvements that allow us to streamline our services and offer our customers the very best. To keep up to date with the latest industry news, please check our blog for new posts.

Engineer looking at a tablet in a factory

The manufacturing industry is a vast sector with a range of paths to explore. Therefore, when you enter the field, it’s understandable that you may be overwhelmed by the choice of which route to go down without knowing too much about what each one entails. Because of this, it’s crucial that you thoroughly research your chosen career path to avoid disappointment and regrets over your choice further down the line.

So, to help you out, we’re looking into the career path of a manufacturing engineer. We have detailed the best ways to kickstart your fruitful career as well as what to expect in terms of progression once you have gained the necessary experience in your chosen area. So, read on to learn more and understand how European Springs can assist you in reaching your career goals.

Why Should You Consider a Career as a Manufacturing Engineer?

As industry-leading spring manufacturers, we may be biased when we say that manufacturing is a fantastic career choice that you will no doubt find your feet in quickly. Here are a few reasons why:

  • You will be helping close the skills gap. The manufacturing industry has faced a long list of difficulties, especially in recent years during the early effects of Brexit and, of course, the pandemic. This led to a significant skills gap, which you can help close when you join the workforce.
  • Fascinating, ever-changing career. Due to the constant improvements and advancements of technology, you will find that your work changes drastically over the years as the industry becomes more and more digitised.
  • Your work will always be needed. The world will always need manufacturing engineers, the brains behind the technology, product testers, mechanics, and more. As you become more skilled in your chosen area, your work will be even more appreciated and sought-after by employees.
  • Competitive pay. Because of the skills and experience required to be a successful manufacturing engineer, you can expect a competitive salary from many employers in the industry.

Young manufacturing apprentice and his trainer

How to Get Started as a Manufacturing Engineer

If you are considering a career as a manufacturing engineer, one of the best ways to get into the industry is through apprenticeships. This is because they provide you with a range of skills that help set you up for a successful working life. You will learn through a variety of disciplines, such as:

  • Shadowing
  • Supervised work
  • Studying
  • Assessments

Each area is designed to help you learn, gain valuable knowledge, and get hands-on experience practising what will become your profession after necessary evaluations from senior members of staff. What’s more is that as part of an engineering apprenticeship, you earn while you learn, allowing you to bring in a wage unlike other paths such as university or placements.

The Importance of Experience

Experience is incredibly valuable in almost all industries, but especially so within the manufacturing and engineering sectors. Even if you’re apprehensive about whether it’s right for you, you will regret it in years come when employees are askingwhen employees ask about your experience, and you have little to show. This is because much of the work completed within these fields requires highly technical skills and specialised knowledge that often takes years to obtain. If you’ve decided this is the path for you, then the best thing you can do is start now.

Choosing the Best Career Path for You

You have so much to choose from when selecting your area of expertise. An extensive list of job types is available, allowing you to pick something you enjoy and are good at. For example:

  • Equipment designers
  • Repairs and breakdown staff
  • Equipment installation
  • Efficiency researchers
  • Production line workers

Young female spring manufacturer checking machine

Although all under the umbrella of manufacturing engineers, each job role listed will have entirely different working days and require various skills. For example, our custom springs designers will need to work closely with our clients to discuss their needs and have a high knowledge of spring practices and technical design to produce the best results. This differs entirely from our repairs and breakdown staff, who will need strong practical skills and a high knowledge of our machinery to quickly tend to broken parts and get the production line up and running again.

Progression as a Manufacturing Engineer

Once you are comfortable with your chosen path, there will be plenty of progression opportunities. For example, you can specialise in a chosen area, focusing solely on one part of manufacturing and engineering, allowing you to develop your technical or practical skills where you work best.

Another route to progress to is training and mentoring. You can give back to the industry and assist young engineers in kickstarting their careers as apprentices, providing shadowing opportunities, delivering lectors and talks, and assessing their progress.

Finally, you could join the research and development side of manufacturing and engineering, helping the industry progress as a whole. This could include finding digitising opportunities, testing new production methods, and discovering ways to improve productivity, supply chain issues, and more.

How Can European Springs Help You Reach Your Career Goals?

Here at European Springs, we are dedicated to helping those starting their career as manufacturing engineers reach their goals. We have an incredible apprentice scheme and take on new starters every year, giving them a chance to earn while they learn and find their feet in the industry.

Many of our apprentices stay with us and progress in their careers, taking on full-time positions at European Springs and helping develop our company for the better.

We also have fantastic job opportunities for established engineers looking for a change in direction. Please get in touch today to discuss your options and join an industry that will look after you throughout your career.

Close-up image of a compression spring

Here at European Springs, we have over seven decades of experience designing, manufacturing, and implementing our springs in various sectors. As a result, we produce an impressive stock catalogue of springs and are familiar with every type, including the unlimited scope of custom and bespoke springs. This enables us to work closely with all industries, providing our expertise and high-quality products to the masses.

However, this world may seem complicated and somewhat daunting for those not in the spring manufacturing industry. So to shed some light on the importance of the sector, we’re exploring everything you need to know about springs in physics. We’re taking it back to basics by exploring the definition of a spring, the history of its design, the importance of spring durability, and so much more. Read on to learn about the fascinating past of springs and how we at European Springs use this knowledge to assist us in manufacturing high-quality, durable products for a wide range of industries.

What Are Springs?

Before we delve into the physics behind spring design, let’s take a look into what a spring actually is. There are many different wordings of the definition of a spring. Essentially, a spring is a flexible object that can store and exert force and mechanical energy simultaneously when subjected to force. While doing so, it deforms in shape before returning to its original form when the force has been removed.

Springs come in an extensive range of forms, including:

Compression spring machines

Each of these spring types provides the user with a list of benefits and capabilities suited to a different use. As a result, the use of springs is almost endless. They can be found in practically every industry, from farming and agricultural machinery to the medical sector and everything in between.

How Were Springs Invented?

Springs have been in use throughout human history, with some of the first recorded examples in use within the bow and arrow. From there, developments occurred globally, with the spring going from strength to strength and incorporating itself into a range of objects, such as tweezers.

It wasn’t until the late 15th century that the first coiled spring was documented. This documentation of use included springs in door locks and spring-powered clocks. The latter led to the implementation of springs within watch design, a manufacturing practice still in use today.

However, it was Robert Hooke who propelled the use of springs in 1676 with Hooke’s Law.

All About Hooke’s Law

In 1676, English scientist, mathematician and architect Robert Hooke made a discovery that would forever change springs in physics. In simple terms, his idea was that the more a spring is deformed, the more force is needed to further deform it. He noticed this when looking into the stress vs strain curve and how for many materials, they have a linear region.

When stretching a metal spring, the force required to deform it is directly proportional to the spring’s extension. In algebraic terms, this is written:

F = -kX

F is force, k is spring constant, and x is the deformation or extension length.

Of course, like with every rule, there are exceptions. For example, if a spring is stretched too far, it will not conform to Hooke’s Law, and when this happens, the measurements are taken, and this length is considered the elastic limit.

Hooke's law diagram

The Spring Constant

To further understand the importance of Hooke’s Law, let’s dive into the k within the formula, otherwise known as the spring constant.

This part of the equation refers to the exact force needed to deform a spring. For example, if you want a stronger spring, the spring constant must be high; the lower it is, the weaker the spring.

Various factors come into determining the spring factors, such as:

  • The diameter of the wire and the coil
  • The material used to manufacture the spring
  • The length of the spring when relaxed
  • The number of coils

Once you have determined this, you can work out what needs to be done to achieve your ideal spring constant for the usage of your spring.

Where Does Spring Physics Come Into Spring Design and Manufacture

As leading spring manufacturers, we understand that physics plays a significant part in the design and manufacturing of springs. Understanding Hooke’s Law, the spring constant, and the other physical elements of a spring allow you to customise a spring to your exact specifications, which is precisely what we do here at European Springs.

It’s essential for our designers and manufacturers to know how a spring will behave in different circumstances. For example, durability is crucial for many of our clients who need their springs to handle a significant amount of force. We know that in order to strengthen a spring, thus making it more durable, we need to increase the spring constant.

pile of springs with black background

A lot of the time, these things can’t be estimated and instead require precise numbers in order to get the desired result. Our experienced and knowledgeable engineers have been specially trained to ensure that the best results are achieved for every single spring designed and manufactured here at European Springs.

We are proud to produce an extensive range of specialised springs with this knowledge and can provide bespoke springs to your exact specifications considering the physics detailed above.

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