Double torsion springs solve automotive challengeWhen an automotive industry manufacturer needed a bespoke spring for a door handle application, double torsion springs offered a solution.
For many applications, double torsion springs perform better than single and as a result, they are widely used in the automotive industry. Typical applications include door handles, seat adjustment mechanisms and console lids. So when a manufacturer of seat and car interior parts needed a double torsion spring for the door handles of a popular small car, it approached William Hughes.
The spring is used inside the car to return the handle to its normal position and is specially designed to make assembly into the car mechanism easy. The application engineers at William Hughes used their knowledge and expertise to design the spring to meet the exacting specification of the car manufacturer, whilst ensuring that the spring would be easy to manufacture using its CNC machinery. Despite the complex shape of the central section of the double torsion spring, very little tooling was required.
By making the spring in two fully automated stages, the difficult central section was easily formed to provide a spring that is compact, cost effective and which encompasses the right performance characteristics and durability. The final stage of the process is to finish and protect the springs using an organic and environmentally friendly anti-corrosion paint containing zinc flake.
William Hughes specialises in the design and manufacture of all types of compression, tension and torsion springs and bent wire components for automotive, aerospace and industrial applications. Stringent quality checks to ISO 9001:2008 and TS 16949, combined with the latest design, production and distribution techniques ensure continuity of supply, rapid delivery and competitive prices across the range.
To provide even more complete levels of service to its customers, William Hughes has recently installed a state-of-the-art, automated passivation plant at its UK headquarters in Stalbridge, Dorset. The move will not only reduce the significant lead-time incurred by subcontracting this requirement, but will enable the company to provide another Nadcap process for aerospace customers. "The decision to start thinking about passivation came about because one of our significant aerospace customers ceased this activity," explains special processes manager Shaun Tattershall. "As a result we began investigating various plant options and initiated a request for processing approval from our major aerospace customer."
Tattershall was successful in sourcing machinery that was designed and manufactured to William Hughes' precise requirements and offered optimised control of the process in line with AMS 2700. "This helped with our forward plan of gaining a Chemical Processing Nadcap accreditation," he says. "We have also achieved Honeywell approval for passivation, and we appear on their approved processing supplier list."
The new passivation plant offers novel functionality in that there is no manual 'dunking' of component baskets from station-to-station, as with traditional systems. Instead, the plant performs 'fluid transfer', moving chemical solutions from holding tanks into the main processing unit as required. The entire process is automatic and PLC controlled. Typical treatments are nitric acid/sodium dichromate, and rinse cycles. These are followed by a final rinse in deionised water before a drying cycle.
Other innovative plant functionality includes an ultrasonic passivation facility and a rotary option where parts can be rotated through the solution, thus filling air gaps in more complex and tubular-type components, for example. Since installing the passivation plant, William Hughes has relocated its Nadcap-accredited heat treatment and ultrasonic cleaning equipment into the same area, creating a brand new process department.
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