When determining the proper base material for a spring, you have many factors that must be considered before that choice can be made. It is extremely critical to know what the end purpose is for the spring, and what corrosion protection is required before you start the design and material selection. Once you know this information, only then you can you choose the best base material for your spring and the best post process if required.
We all know that cost is the driving factor and that per lb., stainless can be 3-4 times the cost of music wire. It’s also known that there are many post process plating options that can get the corrosion protection on a music wire spring over the 1000+ salt spray hours of protection. So when is the best choice to not plate at all but choose a stainless steel material that requires no post plating process? Net weight has a huge part in this choice. When net weight of a spring is low, say on a small compression spring weighing 1lb/thousand it will most likely fall into a material purchasing option of buying at minimum lot charges which will be the same for music wire or stainless steel wire. The post plating process will then make the music wire spring higher cost per net weight than the stainless steel spring. Second, when the design has significant coil pitch and open coil design, the parts will have an increased chance of tangling the more post forming handling that takes place. This will then require a detangling process added to the manufacturing process, which, in turn, adds to cost.
Got you wondering if plating is right or need some help? Our Apex engineering team is ready to assist you in your complex projects, helping you make the right decisions. We would be happy to review your design and help you choose the best material option with the best cost for your project.