The manufacturing industry is constantly growing and changing to create the broad range of complex components our modern lives require. Metal pressings are an integral part of an almost incalculable number of applications as the metals used are highly versatile materials and can be shaped and processed in many ways.

Many manufacturers will have a stock of pressings that are known as standard (or catalogue), but more are embracing the benefits of choosing a bespoke solution.

metal pressings

What Are Metal Pressings?

Metal pressings (or stampings) are essential when a piece of sheet metal is formed (or pressed) with a pressing tool (or die). There are several names for the processes internationally, but they address the same method of creating the precision required for these critical metal components. The humble coin is the best-known example of a pressing, but it’s also a vital part of far more complex applications such as medical machines, electronics and defence.

Pressings are made with a flat metal sheet inserted into a specialised press and formed into the required shape with the previously mentioned pressing tool. The components created through this process may need additional treatments to meet the application’s specific needs. Punching, blanking, embossing, and flanging are all added processes to ensure the parts are precisely how they are designed.

Stock vs Custom Metal Pressings

Metal stamping

A standard method for metal pressings can create catalogue models, but we at European springs prefer to provide more processes to generate bespoke parts. As a result, standard parts will conventionally come in predetermined sizes, materials and designs that will only apply to a set number of applications.

We understand the importance of being in control of your bespoke design when commissioning metal pressings. That is why we provide an expert metal pressing design support team to assist with any decisions about the material, surface treatment or design of your pressings. In addition, our engineers can consider the working environment, repeatability and intended product life you desire to ensure that you get pressings of the highest quality.

The choice of material is essential to get the best quality pressings and something that can be chosen as part of our bespoke service. We produce our bespoke designs from metal strips made from carbon and stainless steel and copper, brass, phosphor bronze, beryllium copper, aluminium and superalloys.

Another benefit to choosing customised pressings is that we can offer these materials in flattened wire and non-metallic materials like Melinex. In addition, we specialise in maintaining a wide range of pressings processes, such as progressive die and multi-slide stamping, so we can adapt to suit the needs of our client’s applications in small or bulk batches.

Pressings Over Fabrication

Metal pressings

The demand for custom metal components leads manufacturers to two methods, pressings and fabrication.

When it comes to bespoke components, many believe the best solution is to choose fabrication, but this is mainly due to the misconception that it’s more effective than pressings. Metal fabrication can involve laser cutting processes that avoid the pressing stage. The disadvantage to this, however, is it’s a process more suited to prototyping or exclusively small runs as it’s a more labour-intensive approach to component creation. The increased work creates more costs making large batches significantly costly. Additionally, it’s a more complex process that makes creating particularly complex bespoke pieces increasingly challenging for manufacturers.

Even bespoke pressings are a cost-effective choice that can produce large batches of complex components with either high-quality sheet metal or durable flattened wire. In addition, these processes will provide uniform results that can be relied upon as well as reduce the waste created compared to alternative methods such as fabrication.

Benefits of Custom Metal Pressings

Metal pressing machine

Component compatibility is the most noticeable benefit of choosing custom metal pressings. However, every application will be unique on some level, so whilst finding existing stock components that will fit is possible, they will not be as effective as bespoke metal pressings, custom-made for your application alone.

Reliability is guaranteed with our bespoke metal pressing service. Our engineers can monitor the manufacture of your pressings from the finalised designs through prototyping and the final batch creation. Compared to choosing standard components from alternative manufacturers, this increased attention will ensure a higher quality product.

Increased durability is always desired when commissioning metal pressings and is provided when choosing to invest in bespoke designs. However, many factors need to be considered when creating your pressings, such as the application’s environmental conditions and the stresses it will endure. For example, aerospace applications put many demands on metal pressings as they provide dramatic variations in temperature, moisture and pressures while requiring a component that can operate effectively in them all. These challenges can be overcome with expert advice from our design team engineers on materials, surface treatments and design and supply you with a cost-effective solution.

As a leading pressing and spring manufacturer in Europe we at European Springs are proud of our team’s consistent abilities to adapt to new metal pressings processes and provide high-quality pieces for our clients. Contact us today if you have any questions about our bespoke pressing service.

Metal stamping has been an integral part of the design and construction of an immense amount of products and applications. High-quality stamping has been used in many sectors, from food and beverage storage, mining equipment, healthcare and aerospace, to name a few.

As the designs for these applications become more complex, they require more intricate parts. The level of detail and diversity of these components made it necessary to develop more stamping processes and machinery that could create these pieces to a sufficiently high level of quality. Hence, the development of progressive and multi-slide stamping.

Metal pressings

What Are Stampings?

Metal stamping (or pressings) is the creation (or forming) of a shape in metal, and this is commonly achieved with a stamping die (or a pressing tool). Pressings and stamping are so similar that the terms have become interchangeable as they both refer to the same process. Nevertheless, pressings and stampings are an essential part of our modern lives, with the number of items that need this process constantly growing. From humble objects such as coins to complex medical machines and automotive pressings, all require durable, high-quality products to work effectively. You can read more about these applications by reading our blog: imagine a world without pressings and stampings.

The general process of stamping involves adding a flat sheet of metal to a specialist machine, such as a stamping press. This flat sheet is then formed into the desired shape as a stamping die is pushed into the flat surface. This initial process can be further enhanced with additional treatments such as:

  • Punching
  • Blanking
  • Embossing
  • Bending
  • Flanging

Stampings can be made from various materials to suit any application. The variety of materials is to consider the different environments that pressings will need to handle. For example, stainless steel is considered to be corrosion resistant, but aluminium is not. Strips of flattened wire can be manipulated in stainless steel, copper, brass, beryllium copper, aluminium and more to provide the best result.

As mentioned previously, the immense variety of increasingly complex designs has made it essential that stamping manufacturers have multiple processes to make the stamping and the equipment match. Two examples we provide at European Springs are progressive die stamping and multi-slide stamping.

metal stampings

What Is Progressive Die Stamping?

Progressive die stamping machines focus on forming a single piece of sheet metal until the final product is produced. The sheet is fed through a series of stamping areas, each designed to complete part of the overall task. This automated feeding system translates the workpiece through several regions, potentially making dozens of small additions until it reaches the end and is complete. These changes could involve cutting, bending, stamping or pressing the piece. A pilot is installed to help translate the piece and maintain precision in the changes. This pilot is fastened to pre-cut holes.

There are many advantages to this method, including reduced set-up time. Progressive die stamping uses 38% less time to set up than alternatives. This enables manufacturers to generate their lots faster and with flexibility when scheduling their projects. The machine’s design and inclusion of a pilot make repeatability with high accuracy easy.

manufacturing facility

What Is Multi-Slide Stamping?

Multi-slide stamping (also known as Four-Slide) is a process that involves using a series of tools and stamping dies to create stampings from slit coil stock or coils of wire. The stamping dyes will be mounted on opposite sides, moving horizontally in several directions. These features enable engineers to create more complex designs.

The process begins with a coil of metal fed into the machine where a series of actuated cam mechanically stamp and form the material into the required shape. This is the main advantage of using multi-slide. The complex working process can maintain a consistent accuracy as the multiple slides work at right angles to perform multiple folds (including those larger than 90°) and add cuts, punches and bend in a single step of the process. Once that’s achieved, the finished component is ejected, and the subsequent production stage commences.

One of the advantages of using Multi-Slide stamping machines is they produce significantly less waste. As a pressings manufacturer dedicated to improving our sustainability, we embrace multi-slide stamping machines as they can limit the wasted metal to 31% of what progressive die stampings commonly produce.

CNC pressings and stampings

Our Multi-Slide department is operated by expert engineers using the best Finzer and Latour machines, which provide unparalleled flexibility of production, perfect for when intricate forming is required. Furthermore, as a manufacturer committed to being eco-friendly, we ensure that as many of the stampings we make are made from component-width material, thereby limiting any waste to minimal levels.

We design and manufacture all our tools in-house to offer our customers a low-cost solution when commissioning the creation of intricately pressed parts. If your next application requires complex pressing or stamping, you should contact our experts today and see how European Springs can help you acquire it.

At European Springs, we manufacture a wide range of springs for many different industries and bespoke pressings and wire forms, so you’re always getting exactly what you need for your project, no matter its specifications.

Our extensive catalogue includes die springs, which are considered a version of compression springs. In this article, we’re looking at what these springs are, how they work and their applications.

vault door

What are Die Springs?

First things first, knowing what die springs are can help you decide whether they’re suitable for the application you have in mind.

As part of the compression spring family, these products are made to withstand applied stress. However, unlike other compression springs, die springs are made from rectangular wire and designed to handle considerable pressure. As a result, they can take a higher load (around 30% more) and are resistant to high temperatures, as they continue to function well up to 475oC.

The use of rectangular wire makes all the difference since it boosts the efficiency of the spring by allowing it to store more energy in a smaller space when compared to traditional springs.

How Do Die Springs Differ from Other Compression Springs?

Die springs might be similar to compression springs, but they are purposefully created to handle a large amount of environmental stress, which is why they’re also known as high force compression springs.

These products are incredibly reliable and can be designed with various strengths, perfect for several different applications. Die springs can come with closed or open ends, depending on the product’s end use, and are also colour-coded according to strength.

This allows you to easily choose the correct spring for your project – we can also help you make a decision, so chat to us on 0208 663 1800 if you have any questions we can answer.

compression springs

Benefits of Die Springs

We’ve already touched on some of the advantages of using these types of springs, but they provide many other benefits, such as the following:

  • Excellent performance in high-stress settings
  • Resistance to high temperatures
  • Available in several materials, including steel and chromium alloys
  • Variety of designs and sizes
  • Cost-efficient
  • Handle higher loads when compared to other compression springs
  • Resistant to wear and tear
  • Have a great degree of flexibility when it comes to their applications
  • Perfect for heavy-duty environments
  • Increased fatigue life
  • Reliable load-bearing surface
  • Consistency when it comes to dimensional requirements

Where to Find Die Springs?

As we’re die spring manufacturers, we understand these springs are crucial in applications that require a high degree of force in a small space, which is why you can usually find them in industrial settings, such as heavy-duty machinery.

Die springs are also used in:

  • Vehicles, including brakes and clutches
  • Aircraft engines
  • Farm equipment
  • Drills, such as those found in the oil and gas sector

So, it’s clear that these high force compression springs are typically used in factories, warehouses, the transportation industry, the agricultural industry, and more. This range of uses shows how highly versatile they are!

Quality Die Spring Manufacturing

Everyone at European Springs knows the importance of quality manufacturing when it comes to springs, pressings and wire forms, and this is true of all types of products, such as die springs.

We have many years of experience in custom spring design, which allows us to understand our clients’ needs and requirements, no matter how difficult they are or how demanding their industry or sector is.

Not only do you always receive products designed to last, but you can also be confident that our springs will be delivered to you promptly so that you can take your products to market faster.

Die Springs

How European Springs Can Help

As bespoke pressings and spring manufacturers, we can produce both rectangular and circular wire springs, which are suitable for different applications. When manufacturing a product, we take into account factors like the material of choice, the diameter of the wire and the size of the spring, and also the environment the spring will be used in.

This helps us ensure that you’re getting the right product for your needs. Sometimes, this can mean opting for traditional compression springs instead, as they may be the better option depending on your situation – for example, die springs are not always able to compress as much as their circular counterparts. This means that if you require a spring that can travel a lot, then a compression spring is likely the better option in that case.

Our die springs are perfect for heavy-duty use, as they offer an additional degree of resistance to environmental stresses, so browse our spring catalogue or speak to us if you’re looking for a custom-made product to meet your heavy-duty requirements.

If you’re unsure whether these products are right for you, we can help by advising on the best springs for your project – just get in touch for more information. We also offer a variety of other springs from compression springs and tension springs to torsion springs.

It’s no secret that the world is not the same place as it was two years ago. The effects of Covid-19 swept across the globe and changed our lives in a multitude of ways. Our work lives changed as industries faced the unprecedented times and were forced to cope with the new way of living and working.

 

Happy engineers in a warehouse

 

One of the most affected industries was manufacturing; as supply chain issues built up, so did demand, which left companies all over the UK struggling to cope. Unfortunately, the industry lost many businesses during the pandemic – but it’s not all doom and gloom. Coronavirus gave the manufacturing sector the chance to show its resilience.

Here at European Springs, we’re firm believers that the manufacturing industry is built with strong people who can pull through the worst times. The way that many UK manufacturers, including ourselves, coped during the pandemic proved that.

Today, we’re looking into the resilience of the manufacturing industry and how it coped with the setbacks and changes.

 

How Did the Pandemic Affect the Manufacturing Industry in the UK?

One of the most significant impacts the pandemic had on the manufacturing industry was the supply chain. Materials were difficult to get hold of due to supply issues such as the decrease in materials produced by companies because of the covid restrictions and staff absences.

This had a knock-on effect and impacted the entire manufacturing line. For example:

  • Delayed deliveries. Even though delays were expected during the unprecedented times, it didn’t mean that they weren’t met with disappointed and angry customers. Not only were customer deliveries delayed, but all deliveries were delayed, which meant manufacturers had to wait for their suppliers.
  • Rising costs. Due to the disruption that the pandemic had caused to businesses, many were forced to up their prices. Again, this had a knock-on effect, and suppliers increased their costs, which meant manufacturing became incredibly expensive for both the customer and the production line.

 

Happy engineers in masks

 

  • Increased Risk and Uncertainty. The world stood still, and many of us were left questioning everything: when we could see family and friends again, when we could return to work when our businesses could re-open. Business owners had a high level of risk involved in their job as one wrong move, and their company could have collapsed.

 

Other Struggles the Industry Faced

As well as the setback of Covid-19, the manufacturing industry is still dealing with the effects of Brexit. Due to the long list of ever-changing rules and regulations, there was a lot of confusion surrounding deliveries, supply chain issues, customs, and frequent protocol changes. Because of this, the industry took a huge hit, and unfortunately, many manufacturing businesses shut down. This, however, did not help the situation, as although delays were aplenty, demand was higher than ever, so as more businesses closed and the labour shortage rose, more struggled under the weight of the ever-growing list of issues.

 

How Did the Manufacturing Industry React to These Struggles?

For companies who provide specialist products and services such as bespoke spring manufacturers like ourselves, resilience was at the forefront of our drive to push through and still deliver our fantastic service and high-quality products despite the struggles.

 

Engineer mentoring an apprentice

 

As spring manufacturers, our products are required in a long list of various industries, from defence to agriculture to the medical sector and everything in between. At first, it was difficult for manufacturing companies like ourselves to adjust to this high demand, so many companies did not recover.

On top of this, as mentioned, due to illness and covid restrictions, many companies were understaffed. The labour shortage was something that many businesses struggled with and meant that remaining staff members were under pressure, resulting in stress and frustration.

 

How Did the Industry Recover?

At multiple points over the last two years, it has seemed like it has been one thing after another, which meant it has been challenging to see how the situation was ever going to improve. However, in early 2022, we can finally say that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and recent surveys amongst the manufacturing industry have proven just how resilient the sector can be.

Output balance reached a peak and have risen by 42%, which was a huge relief to the industry. In addition to this, jobs are continuing to grow by 23% – a fantastic indicator that we are continuing to inspire people to join our resilient industry and become part of a sector they’re proud to be in.

We, too, are proud to be part of the manufacturing industry here at European Springs. We’re not just torsion spring manufacturers, tension spring manufacturers, or providers of pressings and wire forms; we’re part of a bigger picture and are living proof of the strength of manufacturers in the UK.

To join our team as one of our apprentices or learn more about our work, please don’t hesitate to get in touch, and we will be more than happy to point you in the right direction.

STEM teacher conducting engineering lesson at college

To commemorate National Apprenticeship Week, we wanted to give some inspiration for those lucky enough to teach STEM subjects such as engineering. Teaching is a fascinating and rewarding career, but despite this, it can be challenging at times, especially when it comes to finding fresh new ideas to inspire the younger generations.  

Engaging students in engineering is crucial, as it gives them a better understanding of the science and how it’s beneficial for society. Nurturing and developing students’ interest in engineering should begin in classrooms at an early age. Additionally, it’s vital to make it clear to students that university isn’t the only path and that, as young people, they should keep their options open.  

That is why we’re looking into some engineering activities you can use in your classroom to help with lessons and hopefully spark some inspiration in your students to encourage them to continue with their engineering studies and participate in an apprenticeship. We’ll explore various activities that you can do with students of all ages – let’s take a look. 

 

Team Building Activities 

Group activities have the advantage of teaching students how to work together and use their strengths for the benefit of the team. It also allows them to develop interpersonal skills and self-confidence. For instance, you could have a paper plane contest. Students can create a design of their own or choose an existing one that they think is the fastest; they can then test this, and the plane that flies the furthest wins. Exercises like these help students develop their critical and spatial skills. It’s also an excellent activity for all ages. Primary school-age children will enjoy the excitement of testing their planes and watching them fly, whereas A-Level or high school-age young adults may see it as more of a competition and want to create the most successful design. 

 

School pupil completing engineering activity

 

Another group activity that often proves successful is an escape room. This trend started with computer and phone games but has evolved into physical spaces. The idea is to place students in a closed room, and they have to solve clues and puzzles to get out. You can even divide students into teams, and the group that escapes the room with the fastest time is the winner. Not only is this a fun activity, but it allows students to think rationally, make decisions on the spot, grow their analytical skills, and become more confident in expressing their opinions. So get creative and design the escape room yourself in the classroom, or take it as an exciting opportunity to get out and go on a trip. 

 

Experiments 

Engineering can be a very practical science, so it only stands to reason that students should experience it that way. Conducting experiments in class will undoubtedly draw the students’ attention, as it’s something more visual and different from anything else they’re used to. In addition, when students see for themselves how engineering can be applied in the real world, they will be more interested in learning its ins and outs. 

This is because even though engineering and maths, for instance, are objective and exact sciences, for many, they can be too ‘abstract’. This means that students might find it difficult to see the practicality of what they learn in class. Doing experiments can change that perspective and interest students in engineering. For example, building a functional pinwheel can help students better understand wheel-and-axle mechanisms, and constructing a set of gears will allow them to develop spatial and mathematical skills. 

The options are limitless! Teaching engineering in the classroom requires creativity so that you can engage students in this and other STEM sciences from an early age. 

 

Apprentices at european springs 

Make Your Activities Appropriate for All Learning Types 

The above activities are very hands-on and perfect for those who learn best through practical tasks; however, it’s important to remember that not everyone learns best this way and that engineering isn’t always practical. In addition, the industry is so large and needs many different types of people to function as a whole. Consequently, you must include all kinds of learners in your teaching. For example, consider maths-based activities such as data collections as well as visual learning activities such as engaging videos and TV shows. 

Try and cover as many learning types as you can in one session – you never know who you’re going to spark some inspiration in. 

 

Ensuring Everyone is Included 

Being inclusive is vital and something that we here at European Springs actively encourage.      Engineering is a heavily male-dominated field, with women making up just 14.5% of engineers in the UK as of a report made in June 2021. 

The key to levelling out these numbers is inspiring younger generations of women, which starts in the classroom. Just one activity completed in a classroom in primary school could spark an interest in a young girl that stays with her all the way through to choosing her career path as an engineer. 

 

Engineering Apprenticeships at European Springs 

At European Springs, we’re proud of our work to inspire and encourage younger generations to get involved in the engineering industry. We take on apprentices each year and work closely with them to develop their skills in an area that interests them. We do this by following a structure of hands-on learning techniques, including: 

  • Shadowing  
  • Supervised work 
  • Studying 
  • Assessment

If you’re someone considering an engineering apprenticeship, take some inspiration in National Apprenticeship Week and get in touch with the team at European Springs to start your journey. 

Additionally, if you’re a teacher, we hope that this article has been helpful, and you now have some fresh ideas for getting your students engaged and interested in this fascinating industry. 

As experienced spring manufacturers, not only do we provide unmatched knowledge and advice backed up by our years of experience, but we can help you out by providing quality bespoke pressings, custom springs, and other metal components. Please feel free to contact us to find out more about our products and services – a member of our team will be more than happy to help. 

Cyber attack on computer

 

Nearly half of manufacturing businesses have been the victims of cyber-crime at some point. Since the pandemic, more and more companies have embraced the benefits of using the internet. There are clear advantages when using digital technology to manage your business and conduct e-commerce, but unfortunately, they now come with certain risks, namely the threat of cyber-attacks.

This article will explain cyber-crime, why it’s a threat to your business, and how to protect yourself best.

 

The Invisible Thief: Cyber-Crime

Cyber-crime has become an umbrella term for any crime committed that was either ‘Cyber-dependant’ or ‘Cyber-enabled.’

Cyber-dependant. Hacking to steal or damage a system or spreading malware for financial gain, for example.

Cyber-enabled. Committing fraud or data theft through computer networks, for example.

With the development of the first computer viruses in the early 1980s, the door was opened to attack other people’s computers. While these initially started as harmless pranks or experiments, they quickly led to harmful criminal activity as the internet grew more popular.

 

Types of Cyber-Crime

Cybercriminals are vicious and ruthless. Invading systems to take control or exploit private data are the two main goals of these criminals. Additionally, once they have what they want, they will attempt to extort money from you to fix everything. As a result, most businesses never truly recover as the attack causes permanent damage to your company’s reputation.

All of this is money leaving your pocket for no good reason; a sound cyber security system will help you keep that money where it belongs.

 

What To Watch Out For

With businesses conducting confidential business online and storing valuable information, the temptation has never been higher for cybercriminals. Given a chance, they will not hesitate to damage your system permanently.

 

Warning for a virus on computer

 

Ransomware

Is a type of virus that will prevent your workers from accessing your IT systems. As more businesses incorporate hybrid working with remote systems, this type of attack has increased. Their goal is to hold the system captive until they are paid a substantial sum.

Spyware

Any business holding customer information is a potential target for ransomware. For example, our customer database and custom spring designs are confidential. Without our cybersecurity in place, they would be a vulnerable and tempting target.

Then a successful attack would require you to hire outside experts to verify the data is still confidential or notify the people whose information was leaked.

Data Erasure Malware

Some Cyber-criminals are not in it for the money; some are known as ‘Hacktivists.’ A Hacktivist would want to get a virus into your system to cause chaos. They could erase valuable data like order histories, customer contact details or specifications. They could erase your website without your knowledge, so that it would require reconstruction.

There are many ways to achieve this once they are in, so it’s vital to maintain a sound cyber security plan to keep them out.

 

How To Protect Yourself

No business is immune to online threats, but protecting yourself from online threats may feel necessary until your luck runs out, that is. The financial cost of the disruption to your business alone is the best-case scenario, and the worst case would be far more expensive. And suddenly, you’ll wish you had taken the time to defend yourself adequately.

Fortunately, in our 70 years of experience as leading bespoke spring manufacturers, we have learnt some good business practices for protecting ourselves online, which we’ve shared below:

Updating your Antivirus Regularly

Taking the time regularly to make sure your software is up to date will ensure you have the most robust defence against any intrusions. Unfortunately, new viruses and hacks are being developed by criminals all the time. The best antivirus software companies will constantly update their software databases to defend against these newly created viruses, but it’s up to you to make sure your update your software.

 

Anti virus computer security

 

Additionally, it’s your responsibility to make sure the antivirus software you choose to begin with is the best on the market. You need to imagine this software like hiring a new staff member, one whose sole job is to protect you from online threats and updating your software is training your employee.

We at European Springs and Pressings wholeheartedly recommend investing in your online protection. Investing in your software as much as your staff is securing your long term future, and we believe in developing people for the future.

 

Passwords and Two-Factor Authentications

Your passwords are like the lock to your home, and you want them both to be as hard to break as possible. Using encrypted passwords will have a significant positive effect on your cyber security. Try using combinations of capital letters, numbers and symbols when possible to make it too complex to guess.

Having a solid password works for a while, but you should change your passwords often. Try doing it the same time you update your antivirus software to create a helpful routine.

Two-factor authentication is a fantastic addition to anyone’s online security and is essential for online businesses. Otherwise known as 2FA, two-factor authentication is the process of alerting a second source that someone is attempting a login. It’s a proven security measure amongst the banking industry and most online eCommerce sites. Most people will have encountered these at some point, such as inputting a code delivered directly to your phone or email.

 

Investing pays off

Being prepared for cyber threats does mean investing in cyber security, which means increased outlays. Still, as a prominent member of the Institute of Spring Technology and the leading spring manufacturers nationwide, we can attest that investing in your security and keeping it up to date will relieve you of these troubles so you can focus on your business.

We hope that this blog has been helpful and you now have a better understanding of cyber-crime and its threat to the manufacturing industry. If you have any questions or want to learn more about our products and services, please get in touch – we’re always more than happy to help.

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