Springing to the Service of the Manufacturing Industry
By Chris Petts, Managing Director – Lee Spring UK
Lee Spring is proud of its close to 100 year tradition and is proud to reflect on the considerable growth in their availability of springs and development in spring technology during that period.
Standard stock springs are our daily fare. Lee Spring has over 25,000 springs and related products in stock. Many new products and spring technologies have been added to our inventory, perhaps most significantly:
- REDUX™ Wave Springs
- LeeP™ Plastic Composite Springs
- Lite Pressure™ Compression Springs
- Bantam™ Mini-Compression Springs
The REDUX™ Wave Spring series is designed to replace conventional round wire Compression Springs in applications requiring a tight load deflection specification in a space critical environment – as assemblies keep getting smaller, we have been seeing more requirements for similar capacities in a smaller envelope.
Typically, REDUX™ Wave Springs occupy a very small area relative to the amount of work they can perform. In fact, they can reduce the size and weight of the assembly by as much as 50%. They are manufactured from a single filament of Type 17-7 Stainless Steel flat wire formed in continuous precise coils with uniform diameters and waves offered in free lengths from 1.5 mm (0.060”) to 50.8 mm (2.000”) to meet load requirements from 6N (1.3 lbs) to 400N (90 lbs).
More recently, we have seen demands for non-metallic springs to suit high tech applications. The LeeP™ Plastic Composite range is Lee Spring’s response to these increased requests for spring technology with the special attributes of high performing engineered thermoplastics. After years of extensive engineering design and materials research, Lee Spring’s technical team developed this unique compression spring range with composite plastics technology.
These patented designs maximize spring rates and cycle life, while minimizing solid height, offering high strength to weight ratios that optimize performance while reducing mass. They have excellent stability of physical and mechanical properties at elevated temperatures of up to 340°F with high corrosion resistance and are generally compatible with common industrial chemicals including strong acids, weak bases, aromatics, and ketones. Their non-magnetic material does not interfere with imaging and other Ferro-sensitive technologies, while the dielectric insulating material is suitable for non-conductive applications. These inert plastic composite springs do not contaminate associated equipment and have low flammability and toxicity ensuring environmental safety. The plastic composite material is recyclable and compliant with most Global regulations including RoHS and REACH.
Another demand that had not yet been met by existing technologies was for a low pressure spring technology series for smaller, lighter operation of low mass devices. This requirement led to the development of the Lite Pressure™ Series which is a series of springs with lower spring rates or workable load ratings than those currently offered by existing standard compression springs. This series was recently expanded to include new larger sizes to work in hole diameters of up to 3” wide.
As advanced new technologies developed with even lighter and smaller devices, an important gap was identified, leading to the Bantam™ Mini Compression Spring range – a unique line of miniature springs. These stock products are offered in wire sizes .0040”, .0045”, .0050” and .0055”. Imperial sizes include selections to work inside hole diameters 1/32", 3/64" and 1/16" and in a range of free lengths from .050" up to .625". Metric sizes include selections to work inside hole diameters 1mm, 1.5mm and 1.8mm in a range of free lengths starting at 1mm up to 12mm. In order to meet and maximize the performance needs of a potentially diverse range of applications, Lee Spring selected the advanced material Elgiloy® as the alloy of choice for Stock Bantam™ Mini Springs.
Elgiloy® is a Cobalt-Nickel alloy known for its high strength, being 10% stronger than Type 316 Stainless Steel. It exhibits superior resistance in most corrosive environments including acetic acid, ammonium chloride, citric acid, sodium chloride and sodium sulfite. This material performs well in temperatures of up to 850° F. Elgiloy® is non-magnetic and therefore ideal for use in delicate and highly sensitive instruments.
Even with over 25,000 products, it is impossible to stock something suitable for all applications. Demand for custom springs and related products has more than kept pace with stock requirements. Some of our custom capabilities include: Compression, Extension and Torsion springs with wire diameter range: .002” - .625”, and a wide range of stock alloys including: Music Wire, Stainless Steel 302, 17-7 and 316, Phosphor Bronze, Hastelloy ®, Inconel 600, 718 and x750, Beryllium Copper, and of course Elgiloy.
Even in 1995, Lee Spring offered a wide range of Fourslide parts, including flat springs, brackets, clips, flat terminals, in fact pretty much any sort of stamped and formed metal components. These parts are often natural candidates for fourslide manufacture as intricate metal parts, using flat strip material or from drawn or rolled wire. Fourslide parts are complimented by Wire Forms and Stampings, as well as assemblies of these products.
Naturally much has also changed in terms of regulation and compliance – an area where Lee Spring is well placed to offer products to relevant standards including:
- BS EN ISO 9001:2008
- RoHS Compliance
- REACH Compliance
- DFARS Compliance
- MS (material traceability)
- Export Regulations