Lee Spring draw attention to the when and why of plastic springs
The when and why of Plastic springs is rarely a simple matter, made as they are from highly engineered composites and technically advanced new generation materials they are produced with lightweight and high-performance in mind for application in especially demanding industries such as medical, pharmaceutical, electronics, aerospace and similar. Typical properties include operation at elevated temperatures, neutral magnetic characteristics, light weight, low thermal conductivity, electrically insulating and ability to recycle at end of life. Consequently, Lee Spring have worked very closely with Sabic Innovative Plastics (formerly known as GE Plastics) to select the right material, which led to the adoption of Ultem® resin, a very high-strength plastic, for compression springs ex-stock. Ultem polyetherimide performs in continuous use to 170°C and in the LeeP™ Springs is designed to perform under load with minimum side thrust. This is achieved with a design that has a nearly rectangular cross section to maximize the amount of active material used as opposed to the more common round wire spring design. The exact cross section is a slight trapezoid to facilitate manufacturability. The design element that proved difficult yet critical is the configuration of the ends to provide for minimal side thrust and maximum flat load bearing surface without creating stress points or increasing the solid height while again accounting for manufacturability. Plastic composite springs offer many advantages including stability of physical and mechanical properties (up to 170°C), high strength to weight ratios and excellent corrosion resistance. The Lee Spring patented design maximises spring rates and cycle life while minimising solid height. The high strength to weight ratio optimises performance while reducing mass. The material is resistant to a wide range of chemicals including acids, alkalis, bases, aromatics and ketones - and being non-magnetic, it does not interfere with imaging or ferro-sensitive technologies. As a dielectric insulating material, it is suitable for non-conductive applications, and being inert and non-contaminating, it protects product purity. LeeP plastic composite springs are available in five colours, but that's not simply to be aesthetically pleasing since the colour coding indicates the strength of the individual product, running through red, orange, yellow, green and violet in order from weakest to strongest. Plastic springs have wide ranging applications in medical products and apparatus, imaging and X-ray equipment, food processing and packaging machinery as well as in the aerospace, marine, electronics, electrical, water purification, chemical, automotive, semi-conductor, instrumentation and communications sectors. Industries where plastic springs offer a number of benefits, Lee Spring developed the LeeP™ Spring concept in response to increased requests for spring products combining the strength offered by metal, with the special attributes of high performing engineered thermoplastics. In addition, due to minimal flammability and toxicity, LeeP Springs offer a high level of environmental safety while being recyclable, as well as compliant with most Global regulations including RoHS and REACH.
Med-Tech gives us the opportunity to show and discuss the types of services that Boddingtons Plastics can offer to our customers. We've seen really good footfall and had several new leads for new devices. The show has been a great success for us and in fact we've booked for next year already.
MedTech Innovation Expo was a fascinating event that gave us new insight and inspiration into the challenges we face and, more importantly, into the solutions to solve those challenges. We’ve already marked the event on our calendar for next year and we can’t wait to see what progress has been made… and perhaps, more importantly, what progress we can aid with our Aether Engine technology!
It was great to speak at this excellent event, very well attended by the NHS and Industry, well organised and plenty of opportunities for networking. Looking forward to coming again next year!
We’ve managed to get a lot of interest of people... It’s a lot bigger than what we expected, and we’ve managed to find unexpected partnerships with companies we didn’t even know existed. We were here last year but we weren’t exhibiting, and we were impressed with the quality and quantity of exhibitors, so we thought it was worth it this year.