Die Spring Troubleshooting

Die Spring Troubleshooting: Problems & Answers
Most problems that arise in the use of die springs usually result from improper application… failure to take advantage of and protect the features engineered into the spring.

Spring Failure
Raymond die springs are produced under careful controls so manufacturing problems are virtually eliminated. Die spring failure is usually due to incorrect application of the spring. The most common problem source is the use of die springs too close to, or beyond, the springs’ physical limitations. The solution is with the designer’s and user’s careful selection of springs for each application. Other solutions to common spring problems are as follows:

Spring Guidance
drawing and graph of critical buckling condition for die springs
Raymond die springs are manufactured with ends ground and squared so that they stand on their own base and compress evenly under load. There is a positive relationship between the spring’s outside diameter and total length which determines whether or not a spring will buckle under load.

Generally, if the free length is more than four times the mean diameter of the spring, it could have a buckling problem under compression. This is solved by providing guidance by a pocket, a rod, or both to reduce buckling. It is always recommended to provide guidance for any die spring. Figure A provides information as to whether a specific spring with squared, ground ends is subject to buckling. The curve indicates that buckling may occur to a squared-and-ground spring, both ends of which are compressed against parallel plates, if the values fall above and to the right of the curve.

Holes and Rods
Holes or pockets provided in the die for springs must be the specified size. Springs increase in diameter as they are compressed. If the hole is undersized, a wearing or binding action will produce early spring failure. Holes also must have flat bottoms with square corners. This will allow the spring to work on a flat surface and provide uniform stress on the coils when the spring is compressed. Working a spring over a rod also provides good protection against buckling. Care should be taken to be sure the rod is smooth. If the rod is shorter than the spring, it should have a tapered nose so that there is no danger of the spring coils coming in contact with a sharp edge.

Care should be taken to make certain that whatever device is used to contain or guide the spring is properly aligned on both sides of the die. Holes or rods that do not match can cause problems that create spring failure and damage to the tool.

Heat is a frequently ignored factor in spring failure or load loss. The maximum rated service temperature for chromium alloy steel is 425°F.

Carbon Steel Chromium Alloy
Approximate Loss of Load (%) Approximate Loss of Load (%)
250°F 350°F 400°F 250°F 350°F 450°F
40,000 2.0 3.5 4.5 1.0 2.0 5.0
50,000 2.0 4.0 5.0 1.0 2.0 5.0
60,000 2.5 4.5 5.5 1.0 2.0 5.5
70,000 3.0 5.5 6.5 1.0 2.5 6.0
80,000 3.0 6.0 8.0 1.5 2.5 6.0
90,000 4.0 8.0 9.0 1.5 3.0 7.0
100,000 4.5 9.5 10.5 2.0 4.0 8.0
110,000 7.0 11.5 14.0 2.0 5.0 10.0
120,000 9.5 13.0 17.5 3.5 8.0 13.0

The table above shows the percentage of low-loss due to heat and stress combinations. Thought should be given to the heat generated by the working die which can be significant in many applications. Heat absorbed by the tool can be transferred to the springs resulting in a loss of load and premature spring failure.

Deflection beyond the manufacturer’s recommendation can cause early spring failure. Check the press or die travel to be sure of the actual deflection to which the spring will be subjected. If it is beyond a safe limit, changes should be made without delay.

Spring Alteration
Each Raymond die spring is carefully engineered to perform within specific areas of work. Altering the spring such as reducing its length or number of coils, grinding the inside or outside diameter, or placing restrictions on the movement of the coils can cause early spring failure. Trying to alter a spring by grinding down its ends can change the temper of the material and negatively affect spring performance.

Altering springs from their manufactured state almost invariably leads to problems and failure. Don’t gamble an expensive die for the small amount saved on a cheap alteration.

Frequently, spring failure can be traced to corrosive elements. Reduction of material or pitting of the spring will reduce its useful life. Be alert to conditions that may effect the spring’s surface such as rust, lubricants, soaps, chemicals, etc. Clean, protected springs give the best job performance.