Wave spring or coil spring?

Simon Ward is Technical Manager at  Uckfield-based fastener specialists TFC. Here he offers a machine designers a comparison between wave springs and round wire coil springs 

TFC supplies Crest-to-Crest™ wave springs. Wave springs can offer similar loads and deflection to traditional coil springs, but at around half the height. They can reduce axial space by up to 50 per cent, leading to an overall decrease in assembly size, weight and cost. For design engineers looking to utilise these benefits and discover if a wave spring can replace a coil spring in an application there are some guidelines worth bearing in mind.

Key differences

Wave springs and coil springs are both types of compression spring, primarily used to provide an axial force in either a static or dynamic application. However, there are differences. Coil springs are typically made of round wire, whereas wave springs are made from flat wire. This provides an opportunity to significantly reduce working heights within any assembly. Space-saving is key in medical applications, such as handheld instruments like dental tools and insulin pens, which must be lightweight and compact.

A wave spring, true to its name, utilises a sinusoidal waveform to generate the required axial force. The wave springs we supply have multiple turns to build up the free height of the spring to achieve the required deflection characteristics. 

Another difference is the way that wave and coil springs store and release energy. A coil spring has a pitch angle and is torsional so it can twist as it compresses, meaning not all force is necessarily aligned with the axis. On the other hand, wave springs rely on bending — as load is applied, the waves begin to flatten, providing an upward force, allowing for complete axial load transmission.

Swapping from a coil spring to a wave spring

For design engineers currently using coil springs, switching to a wave spring needs careful consideration. There is an extensive range of standard sizes that may suit, but in 70-80 per cent of cases we will develop a bespoke design to maximise the benefits. Before designing any wave spring, it helps for TFC to understand the space constraints and the spring performance characteristics. The final design is then achieved by modifying the number of waves and turns, adjusting material cross section and wave heights. Choice of material also affects the design and will normally be dictated by the operating temperature and environment where the spring must function.

If a wave spring does not suit the application, then we have several other options including single turn and nested springs. To identify the correct wave spring for your application, the best thing to do is work with a specialist. An experienced TFC engineer can help you find the ideal wave spring, to help you achieve design breakthroughs. For more information click here.

 

TFC Ltd

Hale House
Ghyll Industrial Estate
Heathfield
TN21 8AW
UNITED KINGDOM

+44 (0)1435 866011

sales@tfc.eu.com

www.tfc.eu.com

More technical articles
3 days ago
Boxing clever
A new chainflex cable box means big shipping cost savings for customers
3 days ago
New industrial vision online channel sees the light of day
Industrial vision provider IDS is making its expertise as a manufacturer of digital industrial cameras available free of charge and readily accessible on a new platform
3 days ago
Ball screws help protect buildings from earthquakes
Ball screws from NSK are helping to protect structures and people in earthquake zones
3 days ago
ATEX certification for new pneumatic valve island
Pneumatic process control offers numerous benefits, especially in hygienic applications. Bürkert says that its new Type 8652 AirLINE valve island provides users with improved safety features, communications and diagnostics
3 days ago
ABB launches condition-based maintenance service for robots
New service enables users to plan ahead and optimise production performance
3 days ago
What the UK-EU trade deal means for UK vehicle manufacturers
Now the UK has left the EU, the transition period has ended and the two parties have established a new trading relationship, UK-based vehicle manufacturers have some clarity over what they need to do to serve three key markets: Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales), the EU and Northern Ireland
3 days ago
Farnell publishes Industry 4.0 ebook
New ‘Industry 4.0 Interviews’ ebook is available for free download from Farnell and showcases the opinions of leading global experts on the future of IIoT and Industry 4.0
3 days ago
Can DC motors be used at high temperatures?
There is no need for a heated discussion about it as maxon’s motor expert Andrew Gibson offers a view on the subject
4 days ago
Switching up a gear
Phoenix Contact is expanding its line of unmanaged switches
4 days ago
New Intertronics metering, mixing and dispensing system
Adhesives supplier Intertronics has introduced a new 2-K-DOS metering, mixing and dispensing system, said to be a compact, benchtop unit suitable for materials including silicones, polyurethanes and epoxies