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Understanding Micro Spring Manufacturing – From Materials Science to Production Processes

Most springs are seemingly simple components, basically constructed from a metal wire bent into a coil or other tension-bearing shape. However, when it comes to miniature and micro springs which are engineered to exhibit specific performance properties, we apply a number of complex design and manufacturing considerations.

At HyTech Spring & Machine, many of our core services involve choosing the optimum metal material, then processing it into a unique spring design which meets our customers’ specific performance requirements. Of course, we must do so while maintaining precision tolerances through various CNC forming techniques such as bending, coiling, and in some cases custom machining. For example, our CNC coiling processes produce the most consistent coils possible from the proximal to the distal ends for wire ODs as small as .004″.

Below we take a closer look at what goes into the manufacturing of precision micro springs for today’s high-tech, high-performance applications.

Specialized Micro Spring and Wire Form Materials:

High-Carbon Spring Steel – High-carbon steel is the most common spring material for many applications because the material is widely available and relatively cost-effective. It’s also a reliable, easy-to-work metal suitable for a wide range of micro spring applications.However, it’s usually not the most effective material for handling high-load shocks or heavy impact absorption. Carbon steels also aren’t the most thermally stable, so they exhibit different physical and mechanical properties when subjected to extremely high or low temperatures. More specialized materials are often needed to deliver reliable performance in high-/low-temp aerospace environments, medical devices, and other demanding applications.

Stainless Spring Steels – Stainless spring steels are increasingly used for the material’s numerous performance benefits. Compared to standard steels or even high-carbon steels, stainless spring steel can provide better corrosion resistance and better high-temperature stability, typically up to 550 °F. The enhanced corrosion-resistance ensures a longer service life and more consistent performance – both of which are imperative in today’s aerospace, medical, and industrial equipment applications.

Alloy Spring Steels – Alloy spring steels can be optimized for various conditions to more effectively handle specific high-performance requirements. For example, we can engineer elevated impact loading or shock absorption properties into the spring by using uniquely formulated alloys. We also choose special alloys for the thermal stability, offering more reliable performance in extreme low-temperature or high-temperature operational conditions.

Copper-Based Alloys for Micro Springs – Copper-base alloys offer unique electrical properties which make them an indispensable micro spring material for many modern electronics applications. The material also provides excellent corrosion resistance and low-temperature stability. However, copper-based micro springs are typically more expensive to manufacture than comparable carbon steel or standard alloy counterparts. We generally only choose copper-based alloys for the specific electrical properties.

Nickel-Based Alloys for Micro Springs – Similarly, nickel-base alloys offer excellent corrosion resistance and low-temperature performance combined with the unique physical property of magnetic resistance. Nickel’s non-magnetic properties makes it an ideal micro spring material for various types of sensors and indicators as well as gyroscopes and chronoscopes, which are increasingly common components in electronics devices and beyond.

Advanced Manufacturing Processes:

HyTech utilizes a wide range of advanced manufacturing processes to bend, form, fabricate, and machine precision micro springs while meeting extremely specific requirements in design and performance:

  • Electrochemical cutting (ECG)
  • Plasma and laser welding
  • Wire straightening
  • Heat treating and stress relieving
  • Ultrasonic cleaning

Micro Spring Applications in Emerging Technologies:

Micro-Electronics – As electronic devices continue to shrink in size, the demand for smaller and more efficient components increases, including micro springs. From mobile technology and wearable devices to medical and industrial micro-electronics, miniature springs are integral.

Medical Devices – Micro springs play a crucial role in medical devices like stents, catheters, and endoscopes. Technological advancements continue to focus on improving biocompatibility and developing micro springs for new medical applications.

Modern Robotics and Factory Automation – Micro springs are integral components in the development of miniaturized robotic systems and automation equipment. These precision components provide the necessary mechanical support for precise movements in confined spaces. Common applications include small machine parts and various industrial electronics components.

The Industry Leader in Custom Micro Spring Manufacturing

HyTech Spring and Machine is the leading U.S.-based manufacturer of micro spring components for the aerospace sector, medical industry, industrial equipment, and beyond. We can produce standard and custom miniature springs in all common configurations including custom torsion, extension, and compression springs. Our company has delivered superior quality and precision since 1984.