Environmental thinking at Lee Spring runs through the whole design production process with a focus on quality in all aspects where higher quality connects to greater reliability and reduced replacements. Similarly, in design details like the choice to offer round wire die springs in place of older style square sections with resulting lower energy costs.
The overall approach is to minimise materials usage, minimise waste, minimise energy usage and maximise efficiency throughout the whole product life cycle. Consequently, whilst working on new products to satisfy customer demands Lee Spring is committed to compliance with environmental standards such as the RoHS European Directive on Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances, and REACH, the European Regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals, designed to protect the environment and human health.
RoHS 2 (European Directive 2011/65/EC on Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances) is European legislation that restricts the levels of Lead, Mercury, Cadmium, Hexavalent Chromium, Polybrominated Biphenyls (PBB) and Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDE) present in electrical and electronic equipment sold in the European Union, commencing July 1, 2011. All Lee Spring Stock Products, with the exception of Cadmium Plated MIL-SPEC Springs, comply with the RoHS 2 Directive.
While the vast majority of Lee Spring custom products are also RoHS compliant, Lee Spring is also able to manufacture products that are not in compliance with RoHS upon customer request and can advise customers on RoHS compliance issues if there is any uncertainty.
All Stock Spring products are available with Material Traceability certification where designated with the suffix MS which indicates a special documentation requirement - and in this instance customers should contact Lee Spring for pricing and to specify this requirement when placing a custom order.
Stainless steel is 100 per cent recyclable and has a high scrap value. In addition, there is no need for coatings, which can contaminate the environment as they deteriorate, and make recycling more difficult and expensive. There are also no corrosion products to contaminate the environment. Stainless steel is therefore regarded as a green material.
Passivation maximises the corrosion resistance of stainless steel springs. It can make the difference between satisfactory performance and premature failure. While many other companies continue to use environmentally harmful nitric acids, Lee Spring has switched their process to use citric acid, which produces the same performance but without the environmentally hazardous side effects of nitric acid.
Lee Spring has changed their dust collection system to control any potential environmental migration of dust particles created in the manufacturing process, helping to keep the air clean.
The company has introduced a number of customer-centric products to their Stock Spring offering in recent years and was the first spring manufacturer to offer Type 316 Stainless Steel Stock Compression Springs. This innovation offers customers advanced corrosion resistance with the enhancement of Ultra-sonic cleaning, a process which produces springs with superior cleanliness, greater product purity and exceptional visual integrity required by many industries including medical, pharmaceutical, food processing and aerospace.
The Lee Spring Catalogue has always offered springs with relatively low rates, but their diameter was often too small to give the required pressure level or to accommodate assembly requirements. Lee Spring's solution was a new line of low-pressure, high-index Lite Pressure Stock Springs. Some common applications for these soft springs include syringes, relief valves, check valves, dispensers and pistons. This Series is offered only in passivated, ultrasonically cleaned Type 316 Stainless Steel to satisfy most potential requirements and meet environmental concerns.
As application requirements for smaller size components increased so did Lee Spring's response. In addition to the expansion of Compression and Wave Springs to include smaller sizes, Lee Spring introduced BANTAM Mini Compression Springs with outside diameters starting at .025" (.64mm) and free lengths as small as .039" (1.00mm). These miniature springs are produced in Elgiloy, a cobalt-nickel alloy which performs well in corrosive environments and at high temperatures (up to 850degF). Applications include telecommunication devices, pharmaceutical delivery systems, petro-chemical processes and marine industries.
Lee Spring also responded to the need for springs that combined the strength of metal with the special attributes of high performing thermoplastics. The result was LeeP Plastic Composite Compression Springs, an innovation in the history of spring technology. This product line is non-corrosive, non-magnetic and non-contaminating. Applications include marine and saline environments, imaging and X-ray machines, food processing and water purifications systems.
Further information on Lee Spring products can be found on their website at www.leespring.co.uk.