CS Germany. Flexible business. Springs, Leaf Springs LS Germany
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CS Germany. Flexible business

CS Germany. Flexible business

Springs are a key element in the entire suspension system, but often less attention is paid to them than to hinges, silent blocks and, moreover, shock absorbers. Although all these components exist only in order to provide conditions for the operation of the spring. In an ideal world with perfectly smooth roads, the wheel hub could be rigidly attached to the body – and no springs are needed. As well as all the other stuff mentioned above. Perhaps the reason for this inattention is that the spring is considered the simplest component consisting of only one part. But in fact this is far from true! In the manufacture of springs, many conditions must be met in order to obtain a truly functional and durable spare part.
The German company CS Germany is one of the veterans of the coil and leaf spring market, to which autoExpert went for information. The company co-owner Eckhard Lange became our guide to this accurate world.

Eckhard Lange, CS Germany co-ownerEckhard Lange, CS Germany co-owner

The entire suspension system is built around the spring to allow it to fulfill the function of an elastic element. Levers provide moving, shock absorbers dampen the inertia of body vibrations, which not only increase comfort and control, but also extend the life of the spring. At the same time, none of the components between the body and the hub does not bear the weight of the car – this is the exclusive task of the spring.

Naturally, when working out road roughness, the shock absorber affects spring stroke, forming with it an elastic system with certain properties. But even the best shock absorbers can not provide adequate suspension work in if the spring has changed its elastic characteristics. This also concerns cases when springs with characteristics significantly different from the established were installed during maintenance or repair of the suspension.

The main conclusion that can be made after a visit to CS Germany is what an insurmountable gap can lie between two products that seem to be completely identical at a glance. Indeed, if you think about it, springs give a lot of room for falsification or production at the level of ersatz components just copying the geometric dimensions of a workable item. All these nuances, as well as varieties of springs and the differences between the OEM parts and springs for the aftermarket, will be revealed below. But for starters we’ll get to know better the CS Germany Schraubenfedern GmbH company itself.

CS Germany - what kind of company?

CS Germany Schraubenfedern GmbH is one of four leading European manufacturers of springs for the spare parts market. The history of the company has more than 40 years. It all started with a small factory for the manufacture, repair and installation of elastic suspension elements for trucks, founded by the grandfather of one of the current owners of the company, Eckhard Lange. The CS Germany brand was registered later, only in 2002 and today a huge range of suspension springs is produced under the brand for tens of thousands of German, European and Asian automobile models. The company is also a supplier for other well-known global brands of spare parts and private labels of European distributors. The company products are exported to more than 50 countries.

CS Germany. Flexible business

CS Germany. Flexible business

The company catalog contains more than 3,000 types of springs, the total stock of which amounts about 300,000 pieces, which allows the company to satisfy the orders of any customer in the shortest terms. Since the warehouse almost always has all the catalog items, the level of order fulfillment reaches 98%, and delivery in Europe is carried out within 10 days. CS Germany is a first-class supplier certified by TecAlliance, and naturally a TecDoc catalog data provider.

Of course, a rich assortment, well-functioning logistics, and presence in global part searching systems are just extra bonuses to the main advantage of CS Germany products – quality.

Making the right springs

At first glance, the spring consists of one element – a steel bar twisted according to the proper algorithm. But in fact, every stage of production is no less important, and, moreover, even the paintwork layer that protects against corrosion is another constituent element. Only a combination of quality materials with the appropriate technologies for the manufacture of a spring and the application of the protective coating provides the final result – the necessary elasticity and durability of this component.

CS Germany. Flexible business

The main raw material for the production of springs is a steel bar. For manufacturing of springs CS Germany uses exclusively high-quality chrome-silicon or chrome-vanadium spring steels with a tensile strength of up to 2100 MPa.

CS Germany manufactures springs primarily using cold winding technology. Today, almost all automotive springs for the secondary market, with the exception of perhaps special products for sports applications, are made by all major manufacturers in such way. The use of the term “cold” does not mean that the spring does not undergo heat treatment. Just in this case, it is carried out after winding – for these operations, the plant uses advanced infrared heating equipment.

The heat-treated spring is polished by CNC machines, the bevels are chamfered from the tips on fully automatic high-precision machines, after which the product is sent to thermo stress peening to increase surface strength. CS Germany uses an advanced process – bead-blasting processing of 70% compressed springs at elevated temperature (thermal shock hardening). Such hardening under the working load and at elevated temperature makes the surface layer more resistant to microcracks. This significantly increases the lifespan of the springs in comparison with those that are subjected only to conventional shot peening.

The final stage of manufacturing is anticorrosion treatment. The springs are treated with zinc phosphate, and special powder coatings with high elasticity based on epoxy resins are used for painting. By polymerizing during the drying process, they are guaranteed for many years to withstand various mechanical stresses and chemical influences in a wide range of ambient temperatures. CS Germany springs pass 480 hours salt spray test according to DIN 50021 SS without any problems.

CS Germany. Flexible business

In Europe, the company gives a 10-year warranty on its products, which is an absolute record. In practice, this means that if the spring has not received mechanical damage, the limit of its operation will be determined only by the number of duty cycles and their typical amplitude. By the way, CS Germany springs undergo a fatigue test of 500,000 vibration cycles. Based on its calculations, CS Germany provides 250,000 km warranty for mileage, which is very impressive even for EU countries. And although distributors in countries with poor roads are often afraid to transmit these obligations to their markets, the fact of such a factory warranty testifies to the absolute confidence of the manufacturer in the reliability of the products. The manufacturer claims that the springs do not lose their height after a run of several hundred thousand kilometers.

CS Germany. Flexible businessEckhard Lange: If we are asked what is the difference between CS Germany and our competitors, we say that we are fully responsible for the quality and give a 10 year guarantee. Even for OE springs in Germany, the warranty is much less. We have much better prices than our competitors. Our springs have greater mileage, higher accuracy, less deflection. And better ride comfort. All because we make them of expensive materials. Next, we have a short time for completing the order - we complete and ship the order for a maximum of 10 working days. And always supply at least 95% of the ordered.
Our second own brand is Powersprinx. These are the same springs, no different from CS Germany.
On transporter springs we are a leading company, No. 1 in Europe, in sales and in the width of the range of leaf springs. The program includes 500 different articles. The closest competitor has three times less.

Flexible manufacturing – for the spare parts market only

Taking this opportunity, we decided to find out from CS Germany specialists for details about the spring market as a whole. And ... learned a lot of interesting things! It turns out that manufacturers of suspension components, including the most famous ones, do not make springs for the original equipment of cars. Not because they are not technically capable of releasing springs of proper quality. Due to the difference in batch sizes by two orders of magnitude, these are fundamentally different types of production and business.

CS Germany. Flexible business

Springs for ОЕ are stamped by tens of thousands of one type by specialized metallurgical and metal hardware plants. Their technological processes are focused on the quantity of products – at least several thousand per lot, most often – from 50 thousand or more. And these are springs of only one item, despite the fact that for one vehicle model the automaker may have dozens, or even hundreds of items.

For example, about 150 types of different springs were installed on the Golf V on a conveyor depending on the slightest differences in the modification, mass and engine power, transmission type and other characteristics. The difference in height and elasticity can be a couple of millimeters and literally one percent stiffness. There is absolutely no reason to reproduce all the 150 types for the aftermarket. And none of their IAM providers does this. Neither an automaker itself is involved in deliveries to its authorized services (OES) of the entire range of springs – only a limited number of options with parameters adequately is suitable for several approximately identical modifications of the car.

CS Germany develops about a dozen types of springs for each model (body). Each item overlaps several original part numbers, so close in their characteristics that even an expert will not find the difference on a new car. Just because the meager difference in stiffness or height of the springs is repeatedly covered by a certain wear degree or the “non-original” origin of other components effect on the car behavior.

Even taking into account the optimization of covering of the model range, for the aftermarket, springs are produced in batches from several tens to several hundreds. To do this, you must have a more flexible production system than with thousands of in-line production. If there are about 3,000 items in a CS Germany warehouse, this means that in order to update stocks within, say, three years, it is necessary to reconfigure production three times a day.

The unit cost in such production is higher, but there is no alternative for the aftermarket. But car factories do not make sense to order parts from manufacturers with flexibly customizable lines – it’s more profitable for them to save one euro per piece in a million springs batch. It is possible that some manufacturers still make batches for small-scale and exclusive models, but this does not change the overall picture.

It is the flexibility of production, which is ensured by the use of quickly customized CNC machines, that determines the competitiveness of the manufacturer in the aftermarket. Of course, if he aspires to simultaneously provide wide coverage, high quality and reasonable price of products, as CS Germany does.

Recommendations of specialists

We got a couple of practical recommendations regarding the selection and extension of the spring lifespan from our conversation with CS Germany specialists on the interaction of springs with shock absorbers. First of all, this concerns the selection and timely replacement of shock absorbers.

Tips from CS Germany

The installation of shock absorbers unsuitable for rebound-compression force, especially in the case of installing softer shock absorbers, as well as the operation of a car with heavily worn shock absorbers, adversely affects the lifespan of springs. A defective or initially insufficiently “hard” shock absorber does a poor job of suspension spring damping. As a result, the spring fulfills a larger number of compression cycles with a greater amplitude of the cycle for the same mileage.

The lifespan of the suspension springs can also be reduced by constant uneven loading of the car, a malfunction of the bearing of the upper support, the use of tires and disks with different parameters on the same axis, and even incorrect tire pressure.

CS Germany experts do not recommend getting involved in "amateur" tuning and expensive, geometrically complex springs. There are more critical compression points in such springs, which means that there is a greater probability of premature mechanical deformation. Installing softer springs reduces controllability of the car and increases braking distance. Too stiff springs increase the load on the power elements of the body, which causes skewing, wedging of doors, the appearance of cracks on glass rigidly fixed in the body, etc.

Reducing or increasing the clearance of the spring changes the location of the center of gravity of the car relative to the surface of the road. The car body sway increases, both longitudinal and transverse, the car behavior and steering control deteriorate during maneuvers. In addition, the wear of tires, silent blocks, drive shafts, CV joints, bearings and wheel hubs, upper shock absorber supports, chippers and suspension travel limiters, as well as shock absorber boots is accelerated due to the change in the position of the wheels relative to the body.

If unsuitable springs are used, malfunctions of the active safety systems (ABS and ESP) and problems with "electronic assistants" can occur, up to the ECU failure. The more modern and "more complex" a car is, the higher the risk of such unwanted effects.

The new spring may have a different number of loops or height in the unloaded state, but the bore diameters and the outer diameter at the widest point should match.

Springs of very poor quality can in one series have significantly different stiffness. So much that the car will swing from side to side strictly perpendicularly when driving a speed bump. And the car will tilt sideways (roll) in different ways passing equal steepness of the right and left turns at the same speed.

Choosing springs for a specific application strictly according to the CS Germany catalog, the auto mechanic is insured against all these problems – with the exception of reducing the lifespan due to "dead" shock absorbers.

CS Germany range

By and large, the story about the CS Germany range could be reduced to one phrase: it has everything that can be needed when repairing the vast majority of European automobile industry models, as well as Asian and American car brands which are present on our market: three thousand positions of all types of springs in original quality for 50,000 applications. However, we provide valuable information to those who wish to understand better the features of different types of springs.

CS Germany. Flexible business

Types of springs according to their reaction to the load

Linear. It has a linear dependence of its geometric deflection on the load – the stiffness of this type of automobile springs is constant.

Progressive. The relation between the load and geometry of the spring is non-linear. The force required to compress the spring increases in proportion to the compression degree
Usually such springs have an exponential dependence of the applied force and deflection of the spring.
The spring becomes extremely stiff with an exponential ratio at maximum loads.
With a logarithmic dependence, the springs have a large increase in stiffness at low loads, but as the load increases, their stiffness approaches to linear.

Cylinder springs.
The "Classic Helical Spring" has a central axis . This type of spring is often used in systems with double wishbones (A-arms). Typically, a coil spring consists of end coils, transition coils and elastic coils. By changing the gap between the coils, you can get a progressive characteristic of the spring.
Cylindrical springs are sometimes mounted with a bend in the longitudinal direction. This option is used when a suspension designer needs to compensate for the transverse forces affecting the shock absorber.

Conical springs. Conical springs are usually selected when there is limited space for the spring in the vehicle suspension. This type is usually made with open ends, sometimes in the form of a "pigtail". Such a spring can also be designed with both a linear characteristic and a progressive characteristic.
If a designer needs springs with a linear characteristic, it is enough to adjust the gap in accordance with the diameter in order to keep the spring rate unchanged in the course of compression. The gap increases with increasing of spring diameter.

Miniblocks and optimized springs. As a particularly compact version, mini-block springs are used, including those made from variable-diameter wire. The design of the spring in the form of a mini-block has coils, the diameter of which is selected so that the coils enter each other when the spring is extremely compressed. Such a constructive solution can reduce the length of the block in a compressed state so that it does not exceed the diameter of the spring wire by more than two times.

Springs in the form of a mini-block can have both linear and progressive characteristics, which is achieved by using either conical or constant diameter wire. The reduced diameter of the wire can be compensated by reducing the external diameter of the spring, up to obtaining a linear characteristic.

A thinner part of the rod in the tips of the end coils is the "Achilles heel" of such springs. Due to the shorter resource and high level of requirements, many car manufacturers began to refuse to install springs made from a rod of variable diameter in new models.

CS Germany. Flexible business
The photo clearly shows a typical breakage of a minibloc spring.

CS Germany has developed optimized mini-block springs made from a constant diameter rod. As a result, the service life is three times higher than that of the classic mini-block springs. And as mentioned above, the thickness of the rod and the geometry of the spring make up a single physical system, the parameters of which change when any of the values changes.
The optimized CS Germany mini-block springs, in accordance with the required physical characteristics, visually differ from the classic factory-set mini-block springs (shape, free height, wire thickness, number of coils and so on). These differences do not affect the function of the spring, nor to the height of the car and do not have any nuances in installation.

Side-load springs (to compensate for lateral load), also known as “banana” springs. To compensate for lateral forces, McPherson strut suspension systems often use lateral load springs. In the unloaded state, the vector of resistance forces of such a spring passes at an angle to the axis of the shock absorber, which compensates for lateral forces during compression when the spring exerts lateral pressure on the shock absorber cup. Such behavior of the spring allows to reduce the friction degree between the shock absorber seal and its rod, due to which the shock absorber service life is extended, and the dynamic characteristics of the car suspension as a whole are improved.

In banana springs, radial impacts are sometimes used. To do this, before winding the spring the workpiece itself (a rod piece) is twisted. During operation, such springs provide optimal vehicle control, especially at high speed.

C-springs. They are mounted on the rear axles, which can deviate along an arc of a circle. Thus, the installation space is used optimized for tension. These springs are usually used in combination with elasto-buffers and, therefore, have a progressive characteristic.

Leaf Springs LS Germany

CS Germany. Flexible business

CS Germany also offers leaf springs for vans, pickups, cars and light commercial vehicles, being the leader in this market segment. Products from renowned manufacturers are sold under the brand name LS Germany. There are more than 500 items in the catalog: from multi-leaf springs, parabolic springs made of steel or plastic reinforced with fiberglass, to accessories, such as U-bolts, all in OEM quality and manufactured in accordance with the DIN standard. All leaf springs are supplied in the best OEM quality, with a 5-year warranty (for European countries).

CS Germany. Flexible business

Among the branded LS Germany items there are available:

Ordinary leaf springs made of several spring leaves of the same width and different lengths, forming a package of spring leaves that are fastened together by a central bolt and spring clips. Friction between the sheets during deflection determines the damping force, which can be changed by using plastic plates or rubber shock absorbers between the layers.

The most commonly used steel is spring 55Cr3 with a tensile strength of 1,400 - 1,700 MPa. Also, 60SiCr7, 50CrV4 or 51CrMoV4 steels are used. Shot blasting and a special varnish coating for better surface protection increase durability. CS Germany supplies all ready-to-mount leaf springs with complete accessories such as bushings, rubber buffers, etc.

CS Germany. Flexible business

Parabolic leaf springs, consisting of several relatively thick spring leaves, which are made in the shape of quadratic parabola from the middle to the ends (see the figure below). As a result, each sheet acts as a bending support with constant strength and optimal use of the material. The advantage is less weight.

Composite leaf springs (see the figure below) are fiberglass leaf springs (FRP - fiberglass-reinforced plastic), which are several times lighter and more durable compared to traditional steel leaf springs (without spontaneous tearing, high corrosion resistance). CS Germany supplies FRP leaf springs since 2005, in particular for Mercedes Sprinter and VW Crafter vehicles. For these types, the 5 kg light GFK leaf spring replaces the 25 kg heavy steel leaf spring, which reduces the spring weight by 80%!

CS Germany. Flexible business

Alexander Kelm, Kyiv - Hagen – Kyiv

Head of Export, CS Germany Schraubenfedern GmbH
Eastern Europe - Andrey Meltzer
Mob., Whatsapp, Viber: +49 176 280 25 722
Skype: bendiks50, E-mail: am@coil-springs.de
Web: www.coil-springs.de, www.csgermany.de

CS Germany. Flexible business

CS Germany. Flexible business

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