HOME > Springs and Technology > Episode 8: "Where are "springs" used in a car?" (No.3)

Episode 8: "Where are "springs" used in a car?" (No.3)

Leaves are changing color and Fall is finally here after a long hot summer.
Fall is said to be the season for foods, reading, sports, and leisure? which will you be enjoying? Japan has several short 2- or 3-day public holidays during Fall when more people use their cars to enjoy themselves, so this third chat about automotive springs is especially relevant.

Piolax automotive springs are used mainly in fuel and drive systems, open/close mechanisms, fasteners, harnesses, precision and clamp parts. In previous chats, we looked at springs in drive system, but here we shall look at springs in open/close mechanisms.

From their name, you can guess that these mechanisms are the parts of a vehicle that open and close. They are one area where you can easily spot Piolax products. Of course, the following descriptions vary with the car model and maker! For example, many cars have a compartment between the driver and passenger seats and Piolax makes the special spring set that allows the lid of this compartment to open both ways -- towards the passenger or towards the driver, greatly enhancing convenience and luxury feel. Piolax springs are also used in the lock mechanism at both sides of the glove box lid to prevent it rattling when the car is driving on a rough surface.

Incidentally, it is called a "glove box" because in the days of horse-drawn carts, drivers used to put their gloves in a box in front of their legs.
So far we have mentioned direct uses in open/close mechanisms, but Piolax products are also used in dampers on parts like doors, trunks, and hoods.
Let's look at some particular dampers.

When getting into the back seat, some car models have an assist grip that looks like a train strap. When this grip is released, it returns smoothly to its original position because it has a damper. Similarly, the glove box opens quietly and slowly again due to the effect of a damper, creating a high-quality image. There are two types of dampers -- air and oil; glove boxes use an air damper while the assist grip uses an oil damper.

Basically, dampers are like a hypodermic syringe with a sliding rod. When opening a damped lid, air can only enter slowly so the rod moves slowly and the lid opens slowly.

In the oil damper used in an assist grip, the damper contains viscous oil; when the grip is released, it returns slowly to the original position due to the damping effect of the oil.
These dampers are also used non-automotive applications, such as the slowly closing flap of drink vending machines.

So now you know how these parts are used in cars, perhaps you can impress your colleagues, friends, and family with your new knowledge! Go ahead and tell them about that. They will surely be impressed!

Our next chat will take a look at automotive fasteners.
Bye for now.

Written by Banekko (a child of spring)