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Wave Springs FAQ

TFC Ltd News and PR from TFC Ltd - Published 26 January 2018 Frequently asked questions about Smalley Wave Springs Compared with a helical coil spring with the same deflection, can Wave Springs offer the same load level or higher? Yes, the load at a given operating height is determined by several factors such as material thickness, number of waves and the number of turns (coils). These factors can be modified to provide a spring with a higher spring rate or one that functions similarly to a helical coil spring. Our technical sales team can provide assistance to help identify the correct wave spring for your application.
Why do Smalley single-turn wave springs have a gap and how is this better than using a stamped washer?
Smalley products are manufactured by coiling flat wire on edge whereas stamped washers require specific die tooling. Due to this 'edge-winding' process, Smalley springs will always have a gap or an overlap end profile. A major benefit of this process is that, since Smalley springs will operate and/or cling in a bore, when they are compressed to their operating height they will not bind as the gap ends allow for the expansion in outside diameter. A stamped spring cannot be designed to operate tightly in a bore as it would bind during compression. Consequently Smalley springs can work in tighter radial cavities. Also the manufacturing process does not require the springs to be heat treated after production and, as a result, they provide more accurate, repeatable load characteristics than a wavy washer.

Can wave springs create a lower spring rate similar to a helical coil spring?
Similar to Q1, as a result of the variable factors described, we are capable of matching these springs in most cases and our technical team is always available to discuss your specific design questions.

Are Smalley Wave Springs cheaper than conventional coil springs?
As a direct comparison, wave springs may seem high compared to conventional round wire springs but the component piece price alone does not reflect the full cost of the assembly. Smalley Crest-to-Crest® Wave Springs allow for smaller assemblies with a reduced spring operating height (typically 50% of that required for a conventional coil spring) and a resulting smaller spring cavity. This can generatehuge cost-savings in the surrounding cast and machined parts resulting in net savings that far outweigh the cost variance of the spring components.

Can a Smalley Wave Spring directly replace a conventional coil spring?​
Smalley Crest-to-Crest® Wave Springs can provide similar forces and deflections as a traditional coil spring. However, since they achieve this at around 50% of the operating height of a conventional spring, our wave springs are not generally specified to be a direct substitute unless the benefits of a lower spring rate and/or a larger deflection spring are apparent. Generally Smalley springs are designed into the application from the outset in order to realise all the benefits and our technical team are on hand to offer assistance in these instances.

For more information on Smalley's Wave springs please visit our catalogue page, or contact our engineering team on +44 (0)1435 866011.
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