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Springs for the aerospace industry

01 September 2008

Springs for the aerospace industry and other safety critical or precision applications bring certain challenges to designers and production staff. In particular, there are special needs in terms of materials, manufacturing tolerances, cleanliness and packaging. William Hughes has been manufacturing precision, high specification springs for many years and its modern manufacturing facilities and the latest spring measurement systems are a suitable match for the exacting requirements of this industry. Relevant services include kitting, direct line feed and protective packaging for vulnerable components.

Examples of the company’s aerospace springs applications include oxygen systems, access hatches and the solenoid valves used to control hydraulic and cabin pressure systems. The company can offer a rapid design and prototyping service in a range of materials for prototype testing, and has the capability to move to volume production once a final design is agreed. Quality systems to ISO 9001:2000, ISO/TS 16949:2002 and AS 9100 ensure consistency and accuracy of supply.

To meet the specifications for high temperature performance, many springs are manufactured in exotic materials such as Nimonic, Inconel and Ni-span. These are more difficult to work than conventional materials but William Hughes has the machinery and the expertise to work with them to produce precision components with minimum waste.

Production of compression springs is inspected and measured instantly and accurately using a vision based measuring system. This determines the length, outside diameter, end coil profile, and the ‘squareness’ and parallelism of the spring when it is stood on its ground end face.

For critical applications, it is essential that any lubricants and debris from the manufacturing process are removed from the spring before it is despatched to the customer. William Hughes offers an ultrasonic cleaning process to meet aerospace standards for cleanliness, following which the springs are individually packed and labelled in sealed bags for identification and to ensure that they remain uncontaminated up to the point of use.

William Hughes is an approved supplier to Honeywell, BAE, Eaton Aerospace, Lockheed Martin, Meggit and MEL Aviation.

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