Wave springs reduce spring height by 50%
Simple 'wave' or 'spring' washers, as they are commonly known, are traditionally manufactured by die-stamping from annealed sheet metal and then hardened by an austempering process. They are formed using bespoke tooling in an irregular shape so that, when loaded, they act like a spring, deflecting and providing a pre-load between two surfaces. This characteristic can be used to pre-load shafts or bearings, absorb shock, or compensate for dimensional variations.
This type of wave washer has been used worldwide for almost a century and will continue to be in demand where non-critical control of load and space restriction is not an issue. However modern enhanced quality standards and the onward march towards a more compact and lighter end-product means that today's designers are demanding ever increasing levels of load control and tighter space envelopes in which the springs must operate. Traditional die-stamped methods of manufacture cannot reliably offer these features, however, TFC's Smalley edge wound wave springs can provide the solution.
Manufactured from flattened round wire and edge coiled to exact specifications, Smalley Single Turn Wave Springs are made with either a GAP or OVERLAP end configuration. These two types of design permit radial expansion or growth in diameter within a cavity, without the binding or hang-up normally associated with die stamped wave washers. Just as their terms imply, the gap type is split to retain a gap between the ends; while the overlap type has overlapping ends. Thus, the ends are free to move circumferentially as the spring outside diameter grows during compression. Also, since they are cold-rolled and, unlike a die-stamped product that requires heat treatment after manufacture, a greater control of spring force is achieved.
Another significant advantage offered by the edge-coiling process is that there is no costly tooling involved therefore, bespoke designs can be produced, as quickly as a standard product, in economic prototype batches with a diameter range from 5mm to over 2000mm. If necessary, the spring design can be altered, with minimal cost, to provide the exact specification without the need for any compromise on the part of the customer.