Spring clips are one-piece fasteners that slip into holes or onto edges. They do not require secondary pieces because they are self-retaining and are held by spring tension. Not easily loosened through vibration, spring clips are often used in automotive applications. Also able to compensate for tolerance buildup and misalignment, spring clips are generally configured to work for specific applications.
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Advantages of Spring Clips
Although plastic clips have become more widely used than metal clips, metal clips such as spring metal clips are able to handle higher holding capabilities. In addition, certain metal clips, such as stainless steel spring clips, offer much better resistance in environmental conditions compared to many types of plastic clips.
Spring clips are ideal fasteners because they are self-retaining as they do not require secondary fastening devices like screws, studs or rivets. These clips are held in place by, you guessed it, spring tension and are not easily loosened by vibration.
Application of Spring Clips
Spring clips are useful in a wide range of applications, such as fastening cables, molding trim, gaskets and fabrics as well as in assembling cover panels, hinged components, flange and channel assemblies and armored cable. As a result of their wide-ranging applications, spring clips are advantageous in numerous industries including marine, military, apparel, aerospace, commercial, telecommunications, electronics, agricultural and appliance.
Some applications for spring clips include a variety of functions in textile, construction and electrical applications. Plastic clips for instance are often used quite a bit in cable and electrical fastening applications. Metal clips, on the other hand, are relied on clamping and retaining applications as they offer better temperature resistance, strength and durability. There are clips of many shapes and sizes to suit innumerable applications. Contact a manufacturer near you today for more information or to request a quote.
Materials Used for Spring Clips
Spring clips are formed during the metal stamping process; metals that spring clips are typically formed from include carbon steel, concrete wire, cold rolled steel, brass, bronze and aluminum. The type of the material affects the application of the spring clip; metals like aluminum are for light-duty applications while metals such as cold rolled steel are for heavy-duty applications.
Most spring-clips are made from steel with 0.50 to 0.80% carbon and are usually hardened to Rockwell C 45-50. Tensions vary depending on the thickness as well as the width of the steel. Some other materials, such as plastic, have been used in the production of spring clips; however, in terms of metals, high carbon steel has unmatched properties. In addition to these options for materials, there are also options for coatings.
Coatings are often used to meet varying requirements for spring clips. Neoprene and vinyl dips, for instance, create a protective layer or cushion to prevent damage to materials around the clip. Other coatings and platings may be used to create a desired appearance for the spring clip. Zinc mechanical plating, for example, offers an attractive finish without the risk of hydrogen embrittlement. Deciding on the material of the clip itself as well as the many options for coatings may depend on the specific application of the clip.
Design of Spring Clips
Since spring clips are small, precision parts they are generally formed during progressive and fourslide stamping processes. Both of these processes are types of short run stamping, which is done as a part of a one continuous process and is used to produce high volumes over a short time span.
- Progressive Stamping
- Progressive stamping utilizes presses with multiple stations which stamp different attributes into parts as a metal coil moves through the press; spring clips are cut and separated on the final step.
- Fourslide Stamping
- In the fourslide stamping process, presses with four moving slides are used, which allow the automated press to manipulate parts along both axis. This allows for multiple aspects of stamping, cutting and shaping on spring clips to be completed at one processing stage.
Types of Spring Clips
There are also several different configurations of spring clips including u-shaped clips, s-shaped clips, dart-shaped clips and c-shaped clips.
- U-shaped Clips
- Mainly used for assembly of products such as glass panels, wire and cables and flange assemblies.
- S-shaped Clips
- Often used to fasten panels and flanges either in line with one another or at an angle with the clips. They are also highly useful for assembly of soft materials in hard-to-reach areas.
- Dart-shaped Clips
- Most often used to join two panel surfaces, such as refrigerator liners, but can also be used in various fastening applications. Easily removable, dart-type clips require a mounting hole and space for the dart behind the mounting panel.
- C-shaped Clips
- Offer compression action, which is typically used to hold plastic knobs onto steel shafts as well as enabling the ready removal and reuse.