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The ubiquitous spring deserves more attention than it’s given

03 May 2019

Choosing a spring from a catalogue may seem like an easy answer, especially if it offers the cheapest option. Not so, argues Emma Burgon, Engineering Director at William Hughes, who maintains that selecting a spring purely on grounds of cost can prove a false economy, especially when production line inefficiencies are taken into consideration.

When buying solely on price, it is not unusual to find yield rates of 80 percent or less. That means that two out of every ten springs that are ordered will have failed to meet the required specification. The first you’ll know about that is when QA processes uncover a problem with the product you’re assembling. That can mean production delays and time-consuming rework.

Whether a product contains a single spring or thousands of them, sourcing the cheapest catalogue product will invariably prove a false economy when the application requirement is performance critical. The design effort that you’ve put into calculating the required spring load and length will quickly unravel if 80 percent or fewer of the springs you buy actually meet those specifications.

In some applications, building a greater tolerance into the design might be one answer, making the precise specification of a given spring less critical. In other cases, that might well compromise the overall quality of the finished product. 

So how can product manufacturers be assured of the higher yield rates that will get them close to right-first-time production with assured quality and minimised requirements for rework? At William Hughes, it’s all about the processes used to guarantee the tight tolerances needed to ensure consistent spring quality.

Read the full article in the May issue of DPA

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