Picking the right hinge for the right application can often seem like a difficult puzzle. You have to consider the cycle life, environment, and cost, which can often leave you at a standstill.
But, there’s one hinge option that balances all three factors to provide a reliable and cost-effective hinge solution: spring-assist hinges.
They’re used on everything from cryogenic freezers to record player lids, and in many other industries in between.
Here’s a sneak peek at how designers like you are improving their products with spring hinges:
What Are Spring-Assisted Hinges?
Spring-assisted or spring-loaded hinges are mechanical hinges designed to mitigate the weight of a heavy lid or door, making opening and closing easier on the user.
Spring-assist hinges are fitted with … you guessed it, a spring inside, which exerts force between the stationary portion of the hinge and the moveable portion. The spring either extends or contracts to assist with opening or closing a lid or a door.
During manufacturing, the torque in a spring-loaded hinge can be adjusted to fit specific weight requirements.
Why Use Spring-Assisted Hinges Over Other Motion Options?
One of the other most popular motion control solutions for heavy-lidded applications is counterbalance hinges. But, spring-assisted hinges have several advantages over counterbalances:
- Spring-assisted hinges can handle heavier load applications for their comparative size.
- Ease of operation, unlike counterbalances that may need field adjustments.
- No additional friction components, making spring-loaded ideal for many applications.
- Cheaper because they have fewer components.
Applications of Spring-Assisted Hinges
You might be wondering where spring-assist hinges are actually used. Well, they’re pretty prolific, having a spot in many industries:
- Military/armored vehicles
1. Healthcare and Hospitals
Medical laboratories rely heavily on centrifuges to separate mixtures. The separation takes place at a brisk speed that requires high stability and resistance.
Initially, gas springs were the popular choice for centrifuge lids, but today’s spring-assist hinges provide more enhanced mechanical strength and durability.
These hinges are also used to control the closing and opening of cryogenic freezers that keep cells and tissues at sub-zero temperatures.
2. Entertainment Industry
In the early days of Weber Knapp, we designed spring-assist hinges for phonograph and record players. These hinges helped keep users safe from the often-heavy lids on old phonographs.
But spring-assist hinges have many other applications in the living room, from toy boxes to fold-out shelving.
3. Outdoor Appliance
Do you want to enjoy making BBQ with the right grill or smoker? Spring-loaded hinges are perfect for BBQ grills and drum smoker lids, making smoking more convenient. You don't have to hold the lid every time you want to check on your meal.
Spring-assisted hinges are used for industrial lids and cover systems common in manufacturing environments. Heavy-duty spring-assist hinges allow a specific amount of rotational force to open or close a lid or cover, along with the assurance of employee safety.
Gas springs are prone to failures, and in a manufacturing environment, that’s the last thing you want. As such, many engineers are turning to mechanical hinge designs to improve workplace safety.
5. Aerospace Industry
Spring-assisted hinges are often used on galley systems, doors, and seats on aircraft. Hinges ensure the durability and strength of an aircraft for passengers’ safety.
Aerospace hinges are a special type of spring-loaded hinge used with some components of "beyond earth" machinery, such as satellites. The springs allow for flexible movement.
Spring-loaded hinge mechanisms are used to close and open hatches in silos. The hinges also make sure that the closing pressure is stable at all times, protecting the grain inside.
7. Marine Applications
Many parts of ships, yachts, and boats use spring-assisted springs. For example, deck hatches are fixed with spring-loaded hinges to pivot on boats, yachts, or ships flexibly and at any angle, while maintaining safety.
Engine boxes often have heavy lids to protect the engine from harsh conditions, so spring-assist hinges make opening and closing the lids easier.
8. Armored/Military Vehicles
Finally, spring-assist hinges are a viable option for hatches on armored or military vehicles. The hatches are often 100+ lbs., so having a reliable hinge is key for user safety.
Plus, the hinges can be used inside the vehicle for fold-down seating or storage.
Spring-Assisted Hinges Rule
If you’re looking for a less expensive but reliable solution for your hinge applications, spring-assist hinges are the way to go. They provide much-needed safety for a variety of applications, like drum smokers and industrial equipment.
To learn more about the benefits and uses of motion control for every industry, check out our free guide!