Yorkshire | United Kingdom
Often the most overlooked elements of a product require some of the most sophisticated manufacturing eqiupment.
As spring forming requires specialist equipment and knowledge we began our search for a production partner. After a couple of days searching we located a small family run company in Yorkshire, who specialise in the batch manufacture of springs and arranged a meeting. After a short train journey north we were met at the factory by the manger David. During our visit David gave us a tour of the facility and talked in detail about the various processes we involved in producing our springs and the technical details of the equipment.
A interesting insight we picked up from our visit was how the factory had transitioned from manual machines to fully computer-automated machines and the remarkable advantages this technical leap has had in helping small run manufacturers become more competitive. The efficiency of the process and machines, which run at around 10000-20000 springs per hour, enable us prototype a design, test it and complete production on the same day.
Returning the following week we were introduced to Dave, the machinist running our job. Dave had already setup the machine and run off some prototypes for us to confirm. Our bespoke design, shown above, is subtly tapered from each end to increase stiffness while helping solve the problems we faced using two different refill designs. The prototype was perfect, and all we needed to do was setup our cameras and hit go.
Dave talked us through the process and showed us some of the other skills he had acquired from his 16 years of experience such as hand-turned springs, an impressive technique to master and see. 15 minutes later our 1000 springs were complete and the final stage in the process was to temper the steel in an industrial oven at 320c/600F to increase their strength and ductility. The tempering process also changes the colour of the steel from a silvery grey to a rich and deep bronze. Only 45 minutes after arriving we had a full production run of springs, bagged up and paid for and a good chunk of video footage to edit.