5 Types of Specialty Springs & Their Common Uses

SurgerySpecialty springs are custom-designed springs manufactured to fulfill a specific mechanical function in a particular mechanism. Specialty springs will vary in design in relation to the spring requirements and spring force—compressive, tensile, or torsion—needed for the application. Because specialty springs are uniquely designed for a specific application—they are not a stock item found on shelves—spring dimensions and physical features—the material used, number of coils, length, wire diameter, outer and inner diameter, configuration, among other design considerations—are critical to ensure the correct load and travel requirements are met for the device to function properly.

Every industry relies on specialty springs in the manufacture of the mechanical assemblies of products unique to that sector. No matter how unique the design requirements, the specialty spring is still a mechanical device that, in general, provides compression, extension or torsion force as needed for the assembly to function. Here are 5 types of specialty spring applications and the industries that they serve.

Medical Devices and Equipment
A properly functioning medical device can be, without exaggeration, a matter of life or death. Specialty springs are found in a wide variety of medical applications. From doctor offices to operating rooms, specially designed compression, extension, and torsion springs are essential components used in the manufacture of medical equipment and devices. Consider that nearly every type of mechanism used in surgical instruments, equipment, machinery or devices undoubtedly cannot function without a spring component in it. MRI and X-ray machinery, booms, table and bed lifts, anesthetic infusion devices, sterilization valves, various implants, and shunt valves, fluid control devices, wheelchairs, monitoring devices, medical equipment drawer closing mechanisms and so forth, all require springs to function. When designing springs for medical applications, spring material must be medical grade in order to adhere to stringent FDA regulatory requirements and guidelines.

Electronic Devices
Specialty springs are an indispensable component found in nearly every electronic device. From the tiny motor that allows a smartphone to vibrate to spring-loaded keys that generate notes on a keyboard, a custom spring is crucial to the proper functioning of the mechanisms they are designed for. Compression springs are the most common spring utilized in the electronics sector. Each application requires a specific design, with size being an important factor. Today’s smaller electronic devices require exceptionally smaller custom springs. Though the spring size is an important consideration, they also need to be strong, durable, cost-effective and made with the right materials for the application.

Household appliances are a part of everyday life. Though refrigerators, toasters, washers, dryers, ovens, and stoves all have different purposes, the one commonality of each is that they would not function without a custom spring. Springs create resistance to ensure dishwasher or oven doors open and shut securely. Washers have specially designed suspension springs to stabilize the drum. Without custom-designed spring-loaded toaster trays, toast would burn every time. Varying extension and compression spring designs are commonly found in household appliances, along with door stop springs, dryer clips and spring clips.

Children’s Toys
Look no further than one of the most iconic spring toys ever made, the Slinky—invented by James Spring & Wire Company’s founder Richard James in 1943—to understand the importance of the spring for the toy industry. Specialty springs for toys have long been a design feature for a wide variety of toys that children learn from and play with. In fact, as a mechanism, spring-loaded wind-up toys have been in use for centuries. Toys are powered by an assortment of custom-designed extension, compression and torsion springs. A good example is wind-up toys, fitted with a specially designed torsion spring that stores energy as its wound to activate the toy when that energy is released, i.e., when it unwinds. Even today, electronic robots, Pogo sticks, pinball machines, wind-up dolls and racing cars, rocking horses, electronic game components or spring-loaded battery contacts that power toys—each require a specially designed spring component that enables that toy to ‘come to life’ or simply function.

Automotive Suspension Systems
Every time we take to the road in a car, truck, or motorcycle, the vehicle’s tires come in contact with different types of terrain over varying surface conditions. The difference between a bumpy ride or a smooth one will depend in part on the quality of the surface being driven on, combined with the suspension system of the vehicle. Cars are equipped with specially designed springing systems that comprise their suspension system. The four classes of springs that constitute a vehicle’s suspension system are leaf springs, coil springs, torsion bars, and air springs. Each is specially designed to absorb impacts caused by potholes, gravel, dirt roads, speed bumps and the like, as well as ensuring the vehicle’s tires remain touching the terrain surface during an impact.

At James Spring & Wire our one and only goal is customer satisfaction backed by exceptional products that deliver effective solutions. If you’re in the market for a specific type of spring or custom wire forms contact us today!