Spring life expectancy depends on the application in which the spring is being used. Factors such as force, environmental conditions and materials all have an impact on a spring’s life. Maximising your spring life cycle is essential to consider when specifying springs as they are vital components within the assembly of any project.
Spring failure can cause a lot of risks, which may have very dangerous consequences. Exceeding your spring’s max safe travel or max safe load are some of the main reasons a spring can fail. If your spring has a small number of coils or a tight coil index, it may be under a lot of stress, which puts it at risk of not compressing as far as you would like.
This is why we’ve created these top tips intended to help you correctly identify springs that will deliver the optimal performance and spring life for your application and projects.
Stress kills – the lower the stress, the better
We all understand the importance of stress and how too much of it can negatively impact our lives. But did you know that it is also the biggest threat to spring health too? Engineers can maximise the spring life cycle by selecting a larger wire diameter or using a lower final load to allow more room for the spring and reduce high-stress levels.
Carefully consider the component design to minimise internal stresses – for example, avoiding small radii or complex shapes will ensure the spring is supported properly and operates well within its specified capacity.
Prestress for less stress
The process of prestressing can support the spring life cycle and help them live that little bit longer. Pre-stressing is an additional manufacturing procedure that increases the elastic limit in torsion, to allow the use of higher solid stresses in the springs.
Prestressing can increase the load-carrying capability and the spring’s ability to withstand stress, which ultimately improves its fatigue life and prolongs the spring life cycle.
Achieving the right frequency might sound like a good idea, but this is not the case when it comes to springs. A spring will resonate if the operating speed has the same natural frequency of the spring. When this happens, it creates a low vibration that can cause the spring to break.
To avoid this and maximise your spring life cycle, be sure that the operating frequency is no more than one-thirteenth of the natural frequency.
Minimise shock loading
Shock loading occurs when the weight of a load is suddenly increased or sped up, such as when a load is dropped from a significant height. The speed with which a load is applied to springs can raise the weight of the load which results in more damage to the spring. All in all, this can result in diminished performance, damaged equipment and can be very costly to replace.
The more times a spring undergoes shock loading, the higher the risk of wear, coil clash, non-axial forces and dynamic loading, which can all decrease the maximum spring life cycle, no matter what type of spring it is.
Generally, friction devices such as an internal damper coil, arbour, housing or another portion of the spring can serve as a vibration dampening device. Variable pitch springs and springs in combination are occasionally used to minimise and avoid these effects.
Use the correct material
Material selection of a spring is key to good design and optimising the spring life cycle for long-lasting performance. There are many spring materials and finishes to choose from that offer exceptional strength and durability whilst maintaining their shape and structure in extreme temperatures. They can even be non-corrosive for nuclear and offshore industries so they are suitable for these harsh environments.
At Irvine Springs, you can consult our team of experts to determine if upgrading a quality grade material or higher tensile range can improve the spring life cycle for certain applications.
Loss of a spring load – or more commonly known as spring relaxation – occurs faster in higher-temperature applications due to the constant stress over time and can cause permanent deformation. Reducing operating temperatures can reduce the chances of spring relaxation which in turn, maximises the spring life cycle.
Shot peening is a method that is carried out to improve the operating life of a spring by creating beneficial compressive residual stress. This is done to make it stronger and more resistant to deadly stresses. As well as this, shot peening can increase the operating spring life cycle by five to ten times more when compared to an unpeened spring. Some benefits of shot peening include:
- Prevents corrosion
- Prevents cracking due to wear
- Prevents hydrogen embrittlement
- Enhance fatigue strength
Help us help you
At Irvine Springs, we are dedicated to crafting and engineering a plethora of made-to-order springs using different materials based on your requirements with protective and decorative finishes as required.
We are incredibly proud of our highly skilled team and engineers, which is why you should contact us today so we can help you find the right springs for your projects. You can also download our brochure to find out more about us.