Seven proven solutions to maximise spring life
Spring life is an important factor to consider when specifying springs because they are often vital components within an assembly. With that in mind, here are seven top tips to help you maximise spring life:
1. Max your material choices
Material selection of a spring is key to good spring design. Consult with a Lee Spring Engineer to determine if upgrading to a higher tensile range or quality grade material can improve cycle life for a particular application
Choosing the right material for a spring is key to a good, long-lasting performance... There are plenty of materials to choose from, including Super alloys, which offer excellent mechanical strength, maintain shape and structure in extreme temperatures and are non-corrosive, for nuclear or offshore industries, or Nimonic alloy for high temperatures.
2. Stress kills
We all know how bad stress can be for us, but did you know that it’s also the biggest threat to spring health too? You can help your springs live longer by selecting a larger wire diameter or use with a lower final load to relieve those unwanted high stress levels.
3. Keep cool
Spring relaxation or loss in spring load occurs faster in high temperature applications due to stress over time. Reducing operating temperatures can reduce the chances of spring relaxation.
4. Say no to shock loading
Shock loading is when the weight of a load is suddenly increased or sped up, like in the event of a load being dropped from a height. The speed with which a load is dropped onto your springs will increase the weight of the load, resulting in more damage to the spring – much like when you drop something small on your toe from great height –it hurts! Minimising this can save your springs from coil clash, wear, non-axial forces, and dynamic loading, which can all reduce the maximum potential and longevity of the spring.
5. Shot peen for strength
Shot peening is the process of cold working with a machine that dimples the surface of the spring, making it stronger and more resistant to that deadly stress we spoke of earlier.
6. Reduce resonance
Whilst achieving the right frequency usually sounds like a good thing, with springs it actually isn’t. When a spring’s natural frequency matches that of the frequency of the operating speed, it will resonate, creating a low vibration which can cause the spring to break – a lot like how singing opera at an exact note can smash a glass! To avoid this, keep the operating frequency to no more than one-thirteenth of the spring’s natural frequency.
7. Pre-stress for less stress
The act of pre-stressing can help springs to live that little bit longer. Pre-stressing is an additional manufacturing procedure which raises the elastic limit in the torsion, allowing the use of higher solid stresses in your springs – so they’ll be stronger for longer, and far less stressed.
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