Wave Spring Q&A
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Wave Spring Q&ATFC
Smalley wave springs in various di¬fferent forms solve problems for design engineers in many applications, and across numerous industry sectors. TFC Product Manager Simon Ward answers typical questions customers pose when considering these products.
Why should I consider using a Smalley Crest-to-Crest® Wave Spring in place of a standard coil spring?
The simple answer is that crest-to-crest springs save space, and thus help reduce the size and weight of the customers overall assembly. Wave springs also provide a true axial force; whereas the force from a coil spring can be skewed by the pitch of the coils. Axial space savings of 50% are not uncommon since the crest-to-crest spring can operate at a much lower working height, and consequently within a smaller spring cavity.
What type of applications are your springs used for?
These springs are used to exert a force where light to medium loads are required. However by virtue of the many alternative types of Smalley wave springs now available, and utilising di¬fferent design options, they can also be used where dynamic performance or much higher forces are required. Wave springs are speci fed extensively within the automotive, petrochemical, aerospace, medical, motorsport and o¬ff-highway industries.
What diameter springs you can supply?
Advances in manufacturing technology at Smalley now allow us to design and supply springs as small as 4mm in diameter. These springs can be applied in medical devices as well as in the electronics industry. At the other end of the scale we have produced springs in excess of 1m in diameter for construction and quarrying equipment and at nearly 2m in diameter for wind turbines.
Can prototypes be easily manufactured?
All Smalley springs are produced using a unique edge-coiling process, there are typically no tooling charges; small prototype quantities can be produced economicaly. Prototypes are manufactured in exactly the same way as volume production so you are assured that what you test in the early stages of a new program will be wholly representative of production parts. Furthermore, alterations to the design can be made easily and quickly without compromising the design.
What Spring Materials are available from Smalley?
Standard ranges are available in carbon spring steel and 17-7 stainless steel, but we have numerous other material options. For high temperature applications we can use A286 stainless steel, whilst for corrosive environments we have 316 stainless, Elgiloy and several different Inconel's to consider.
I cannot see a standard size wave spring to suit my application so I think I will need a special. Does this present any problems?
75% of the Smalley springs we sell are special designs, developed to suit our customer's exact requirements. TFC engineers are available to provide design assistance, including customer visits if necessary. In all these cases we are keen to get involved in the development process as early as possible. This ensures that TFC can offer the optimal design solution and thereby maximise the bene fit to the finished product.
TFC have a team of engineers available to discuss in more detail these and any other questions regarding Smalley products.