Springs are one of the most versatile man-made objects that we use in everyday life. But where are springs most used in terms of industry-related situations?
Let European Springs take you on a journey through the winding turns of industry and manufacturing, exploring how springs are used in various sectors.
Springs in Land Transport
There are a couple of areas in which springs are used within transport; the most important of these is their use in suspension systems. In small vehicles, such as two-seater cars and motorcycles, the suspension system consists of coiled helical springs, as these provide excellent absorption when going over small holes and bumps in the road.
Certain car manufacturers such as Ford have cleverly designed revolutionary suspensions for their supercars, changing the way in which springs are used in road cars. The latest, second-generation Ford GT features a double wishbone suspension, and it has two types of springs at each corner. The torsion bar and coil spring provide two unique spring rates, one for each ride height. At the GT’s highest ride height, the torsion bars and coils act in series but when the driver engages Track mode, a hydraulic actuator at the base of each coil spring locks the spring so it no longer moves, subsequently lowering the ride height by two inches.
In larger vehicles, such as SUVs, buses and lorries, another form of spring is used within suspension systems: leaf springs. These springs are great for supporting larger loads, such as heavier chassis, containers and cabins.
In even larger vehicles, such as trains, a combination of the two are used; leaf springs and coiled helical springs are combined to ensure that the heavy load is guided by the wheels and axles along the track.
Springs in Air Transport
Aerospace is one of the largest sectors in the world when it comes to manufacturing, research and development. As such, a lot of investment has been put into the manufacturing of important parts, such as springs, valves, etc.
When it comes to aeroplane manufacturing, springs are used in everything from levers and ignition systems to landing gears. Because of the demanding precision of the industry, each spring must be of extremely high quality to ensure that no safety regulations have been missed and that all the necessary quality checks have been made.
Springs in the Oil and Gas Industry
The oil and gas industry have an incredible amount of money invested into it, as the profits can be astronomical. In the North Sea, energy companies are preparing to invest £5bn in new capital projects in 2018, which could include up to 16 oil & gas developments. However, this large amount of revenue comes with health and safety risks, especially when oil workers are stationed hundreds of miles offshore.
Various springs are used to operate the mechanistic systems on the oil rig but, more importantly, springs are also used in the drilling of the rock so that the oil can be extracted.
When drilling in a pneumatic way, the repetitive nature of the drill can cause oil leaks which are disastrous for the environment. Springs help with this by providing shock absorption for the drill and help to prevent any gas or oil leaking from the well.
Springs in Telecommunications
We live in a world that now relies on telecommunications; mobile phones are one of the most-used products in the world. Purchasing on mobile phones is becoming more popular, as is browsing the web.
Considering this and the fact that mobile phones are used every single day, it is important that all the components within the phone are strong enough to withstand wear and tear. In telecommunications, bespoke springs, such as flat springs and pressings, are generally used to add functionality to certain parts of mobile phones, as well as being an effective way of transferring messages between a keypad and the phone itself. However, with touchscreens becoming more popular, springs are now being used in other, more beneficial ways.
Springs in Motorsport
The evolution of Formula 1 cars since the 1950s has been astonishing, as the design of the cars has become so incredibly detailed and complicated, particularly over the last decade. Teams invest heavily in the design of their cars since even the smallest details can result in a team holding a slight edge against their rivals.
Contrary to road cars, driver comfort is not a concern for designers, as the suspension is designed to optimise performance. F1 springs are not mounted directly to the suspension arms but are operated remotely through push-rods which enable variable rate springing which is where there is soft initial compliance, becoming stronger as the spring is further compressed.
A vital feature of these suspension systems is that they are adjustable, meaning that car set-up can change depending on weather conditions and the aerodynamic requirements of the track. These two factors combined with data from previous years will determine basic spring and damper settings.
Springs in Robotics
Robots are becoming used more commonly in various industries, and springs are at the core of the robotic movement. Springs are integral in ensuring smooth and human-like-mobility, which is desired by manufacturers.
Agility Robotics, a spin-off at Oregon State University, designed ATRIAS which was the first machine to demonstrate human-like dynamics. The legs are configured as a 4-bar linkage for the spring-mass model embodiment, enabling spring mass walking, which combines a mechanical system of walking with computer control.
The robotics industry will continue to advance massively, and it is likely springs will continue to play an important role in robotic development in the years to come.
These industries play an incredibly important role in modern-day society. As leading spring manufacturers that also specialise in producing extremely high-quality wire forms, European Springs design and manufacture springs for a range of different industries, including some of those mentioned above.View Our Catalogue