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  1. Alcomex expands its e-commerce product range by 900 new standard stock springs

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    Alcomex is always working on providing a better service to its customers. Not only when we are directly in contact, but also online. We work hard to continuously improve our e-commerce experience. Not only for a better customer journey in our web shop, but also to provide a better and larger product range online. Alcomex has become part of the Lesjofors Group. This partnership brings us a lot of opportunities and synergy projects. The first synergy project is the addition of 900 standard stock springs in our online shop.

    Which new standard springs are we adding?

    We are expanding our web shop assortment with more than 900 new products in the following categories:

    • Conical compression springs,
    • Vibrator springs,
    • Extension springs with turnable loops,
    • Thread fittings,
    • Double torsion springs,
    • Lockwashers Type A,
    • Lockwashers Type B,
    • Lockwashers Type C

    Moreover, we are also adding a great number of new products to our already existing torsion and disc springs assortment. With these improvements within our product range, we can provide our private and business customers an even better applicable spring for their application.

    Alcomex new standard springs pay conical springs
    Alcomex new standard springs pay conical springs extension-spring

    An optimal user experience

    To ensure that our ordering process online is as easy as can be, we have added two new functionalities in our e-commerce platform.

    Pay on account (for businesses)

    As of now it is possible for business customers (with or without an account) to pay on account. By doing so your organization will receive the products even faster than before.

    Alcomex new standard springs pay

    No results? Get a custom made spring

    Are you looking for the right spring within your application, but are there no results? No problem. You now can easily create a custom made springs order via a form in our web shop. By filling the form out you will get in contact with our sales engineering team who will help you in the process of creating the right spring for your application.

    carsprings

    By expanding our product portfolio to almost 5.000 springs – which we can deliver directly from stock – and providing a better online customer journey. We strive to fulfil an ever-rising online demand for industrial springs with the best possible quality and a high level of service.

  2. Spring-in-spring – optimal tension springs for garage doors

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    Customer case: ConDoor

    Springs are a vital part of the perceived quality of a sectional overhead garage door. If door springs are not well balanced, the door does not run smoothly. Spring technology is a complex part of the sectional overhead garage door and a combination of factors determine the quality, life span and functioning of a spring.

    A fruitful partnership

    Alcomex, part of the Lesjöfors’ Group is a highly specialized leading supplier to the door spring market in Europe. One of Alcomex’s customers is Condoor, a major producer of insulated overhead doors for industrial and residential buildings producing more than 50,000 doors per year. Since 2017, Alcomex is the sole supplier of door springs to the company after a process of investigating, bench-marking and testing of Alcomex’s solutions. 

    Kees-Jan Honig, CEO of ConDoor, comments on the test process:

    “After running a severe testing program in our own lab, we started producing small batches of doors with Alcomex springs. When all the lights turned green in 2017, we took the next step and Alcomex became our sole supplying partner in springs. Which means that we are 100% relying on their operational excellence performance. Also our customers, the door dealers that install the door at the homeowner or industrial facility, were happy with the new quality, life span and balance as well.” 

    Innovative spring solution revolutionized the business

    Condoor is impressed by Alcomex innovative approach. Alcomex introduced a Quattro tension spring solution which brought many benefits to the table for Condoor. Earlier, tension springs were perceived as the lesser solution in the garage door business. 

    Kees-Jan Honig explains:

    “Torsion springs could be calculated exactly to the right door weight and lifting system and with tension springs people always claimed that you had to compromise on this. The Quattro system proved to be perfect for our residential doors. Thanks to the spring-in-spring solution, the system was able to comply with the tough European safety norms. Also, the construction of the spring sets proved to be very compact, using little build-in space, which made it possible for us to offer pre-tensioned hardware sets to our customers, saving them time and money on site. The next step was the availability of that system for higher door weights, meaning bigger garage doors. Nobody wants to go back to the more complex and expensive old solution now.

    customer case condoor
    condoor alcomex deurveer

    Long-term relationship

    Condoor’s experience is that it is better to develop a relationship with a supplier to a level that both parties benefit from, rather than switching frequently. A speaking example of flexibility is the direct supply that Alcomex organized from its’ factory in India to Condoor’s plants in the Netherlands.

    “Both parties have to make money and on both sides there are people working to do their utmost. But people make mistakes sometimes and for us, it is important that problems are solved without any hesitation and that our supplying partner can follow our growth. In Alcomex, we have a partner with good logistic performance, high-quality product with ongoing development and a team of people that seem to realize what we need every day”, says Kees-Jan Honig.

  3. Alcomex India: A 15-year journey with continuous improvement

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    15 years alcomex india header

    Alcomex India celebrates their 15 years anniversary. It was with foresight that in 2005 the previous owners of Alcomex, Mr Fred Baas and Mr René Kalkhuis, started the search for a spring manufacturing location in India. The choice for India was based on the geographic location; ideal for future market developments and on the opportunity for lower production costs. It was a big adventure, since until then there had only been one production facility for Alcomex, in Opmeer (NL). After reviewing and visiting various potential locations in Ahmedabad, Chennai and Pune, the choice for the first manufacturing plant outside Europe became Pune.

    Pune is close to Mumbai, the commercial capital of India, with its deep-water seaport and international airport. With a new express road planned between Pune and Mumbai the location had all the aspects they were searching for.

    The start in Pune

    In January 2007 the first employee was appointed and together with the company secretary and a chartered accountant. After completion of all documentation and receiving approval from the Indian Government, on 7 March 2007 “ALCOMEX SPRINGS PRIVATE LIMITED” started its journey.

    In April 2007, an office and small production space on the Weikfield Industrial complex in Sanaswadi Pune was rented and in parallel the search for a plot of land was formally started. A plot of land in the proximity of the Talegaon Dhamdhere village, 30 kilometres northeast of Pune was selected. This was an agricultural area. So the land had to be developed from scratch; obtaining permits, connection to water- and power supplies and road improvements.

    In the following month small machines were bought for cutting and welding and we started to produce pallets. More machines, like presses and de-coilers, and more employees came in and the pallet production. For the local market it appeared to be a solid way to earn some money in these early days. After the first CNC coiling machines and forklift truck were sourced in October 2007. We started production of small industrial springs. The first container with pallets was shipped to the Netherlands in November and some sample springs were couriered by air. We were in business!

    Alcomex India up and running

    In April 2008, production moved from the rental location to our new (and current) factory. The factory where the team started the installation of the coiling machines, tempering oven and the shot peening & powder coatings system. Production progressed and over the years the deliveries slowly increased.

    In 2010 we bought a new coiling machine from a national supplier. Equipped to produce torsion springs up to 12 mm wire diameter. Three more of these machines were shipped to the factories in Netherlands and Poland in 2011. To increase capacity and upgrade the quality of the finishing of the torsion springs… An automatic powder coat system with conveyor belt operation was installed in 2013. In the following years we also entered the Indian spring market and started to supply loyal partners. Partners like Gandhi Automations, Avians Automations and Metaflex.

    In 2016, under new ownership, Conrad Hietink and Jelle van Vliet became the managers of the Alcomex Group. With them the company started a new journey of growth. The focus on sales and expansion-projects resulted in rapid growth of volumes in Pune. To keep up with this, HDPE fillers and endcaps were developed, produced on integrated cutting and assembly lines. In 2018 we introduced a second production shift, increasing the number of employees. In 2020 major investments were implemented. Two new plug fitting lines, two bigger furnaces, a new LPG installation and a new coiling machine for wires from 4 mm to 12 mm.

    15 years anniversary

    We proudly celebrated our 15th anniversary with the complete team on the 7th of March 2022. The complete team engaged in a day filled with sports and dance activities. After a joint breakfast, followed by some speeches highlighting the past (Sandeep Patil, Managing Director), the present (Jeroen Hosper, Managing Director Operations Alcomex Group) and the future (Nitin Wagh, architect of the new building). The new office extension was formally opened, and the project for Building “B” was formally started by a traditional ground-breaking ceremony.

    15 years india
    15 years alcomex india

    In its first 15 years, Alcomex Springs Pvt. Ltd. has exported more than 1.750 containers to eight different countries and numerous customers. This year, the first containers have been shipped to Canada and the USA. So the brand new 2.500 m2 facility, expected to be ready in the first half of 2023, is needed to keep up with the growing demand. Investment in new coiling machines, a shot peening machines, a powder coating system, waxing systems, plugging lines, forklifts and presses will ensure the needed capacity for years to come.

    On behalf of the complete Team of Alcomex Springs Pvt. Ltd. I would like to thank all colleagues, suppliers and customers for their commitment and support in the past, present and future! Let’s grow the business.

    Sandeep Patil

    MD Alcomex India

  4. Alcomex at the IDA Expo in Las Vegas

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    In the first week of April, Jan, Marco and Mirco visited the IDA EXPO in Las Vegas. The IDAExpo is the premier educational venue for those who derive their living from the door and access systems industry. The goal was to get information about the North American door market and spring specifications and to approach prospects.

    Our expectations after the IDA Expo

    We estimate 4 million garage doors and 1 million industrial doors are produced in North America. Together with a large replacement market for the enormous installed base the North American is estimated to be 3-4 times larger than the European market. 

    Although the challenge caused by the imperial system, the different wire, the used coating, colour codes, spring ID labelling, packaging and transport overseas the first containers are sold and delivered already.

    Our production

    Our production in Pune, ALCOMEX SPRINGS PVT. LTD is doing a great job adapting to the different product, packaging and handling.

    Order intake, confirmation and invoice is handled by Alcomex GmbH in Goch.

    We do realise that the success mainly is due to the scarcity on the North American spring market and that when the local suppliers have recovered, our position becomes vulnerable.Alcomex is starting a new and exciting chapter in the door spring business! Are you looking for door springs or do you want advice? Then take a look at our offer.

    Alcomex-IDA-Expo-Las-Vegas
  5. The Alcomex Quality Management System pyramid drives customer satisfaction

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    In the Alcomex group we are servicing more and more satisfies customers. The number of customer is increasing as well as the quality demands, so to support our philosophy of “first time right first time quality” we are investing in the overall quality organisation. Over the last 12 months we have appointed QHSE (Quality Health Safety Environment) coordinators in all Alcomex facilities, and are everywhere implementing and executing CIP (continuous improvement programs) to meet the our customers’ expectations. To do this in a structured way we have adapted the Alcomex QMS pyramid clearly identifying roles and responsibilities meeting all requirements as set in the ISO standards.

    Next to the product related quality we are also working hard to implement the ISO 14001 which provides a tool for the Alcomex Group to manage their environmental policy and do more than simply meet legislation and regulations. Alcomex views environmental management in the long term as their obligation and is reducing the CO2 emission in line with Paris Climate Agreement objectives. At present the Alcomex Group compensates 100% CO2 by planting trees together with the Landlife company

    In general ISO 14001 does not set requirements for environmental achievements. Instead, it creates a framework for setting up an effective environmental management system. It offers the certainty that the impact on the environment is monitored, measured, and improved. Advantages include:

    • Protecting the quality of the environment
    • Reduced costs for waste management and removal
    • Reduced use of energy and raw materials

    Finally we simultaneously implement the ISO 45001 which set rules and guidelines to protect the safety and create a safe work environment for all employees.

    Overall we strive daily delivering the requested quality, meeting customers requirements, in the most economical, safe and environmental friendly way always compensating 100% for CO2.

  6. Expansion and improvement of our machinery in the Czech Republic

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    Alcomex Industrial has been around for more than 25 years and is still growing fast. From a capacity point of view, a number of years ago we started the systematic replacement and improvement of our machinery in the Czech Republic.

    In addition to the most recent investment of the WAFIOS FMU 40 wire bending and torsion springs machine, we are now following through on these developments by purchasing the WAFIOS FUL 46 spring winding-machine.

    Technical specifications

    FUL WAFIOS 46 Machine

    The WAFIOS FUL 46 has a reach of ø 0.9 mm up to ø 4.5 mm. The machine is able to produce large quantities of compression springs as well as the wound part of the tension springs, very quickly. Additionally, the machine has a high machine availability; high quality standards that guarantee flawless production and unprecedented flexibility and operational comfort, thanks to the modular design.

    By purchasing the WAFIOS FUL 46, we have allowed ourselves to keep the delivery times short. Also we can charge even more competitive prices in case of larger production numbers.

  7. The effect of temperature and corrosion on springs

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    One of the challenges that we, as a spring manufacturer, have little influence on is the combination of the demanded lifespan and the conditions under which the spring is required to function. Depending on the system requirements, we first assess which material is sufficiently resistant to corrosion and whether this is useable in the application. At the same time Alcomex decides, within the specified temperature range, whether the chosen material still has sufficient mechanical properties to function. Finding the right combination for this is often a difficult task.

    The various literature makes material specifications available. The most common are:

    Material Active ingredient Normal temperature range
    Carbon steel (C75, C85, C100) 1.1248 / 1.1269 / 1.1274 [-40°C tot +120°C]
    Inox (301, 316, 17-7 PH) 1.4310 / 1.4401 / 1.4568 [-150°C tot +250°C]
    Inconel (X750, 718, 625, 600) 2.4669 / 2.4668 / 2.4856 / 2.4816 [-200°C tot +550°C]
    Hastelloy (C4, C276) 2.4610 / 2.4819 [-100°C tot +500°C]
    MP35N Body implantable [-200°C tot +320°C]
    Beryllium copper 2.1247 [-190°C tot +160°C]
    Phosphor bronze 2.1020 [-190°C tot +80°C]
    Brass 2.0321 [-190°C tot +120°C]

     

    Material and surface treatment as a solution

    After the first screening, the application of the spring is examined. It may so happen that the work environment of the spring is such corrosive that certain materials simply “dissolve”. The strength of springs and spring products is largely determined by the thickness of the wire in relation to the tensile strength [N/mm2]. The thickness of the wire and tensile strength have an effect on the spring constant, thus the functioning of the spring, and in addition the lifespan is influenced. Issues can often be solved by choosing a different material. But be aware, for cost-driven applications, often this is too expensive, since certain, more exotic materials are simply not available in wire or narrow strip.

    Often surface treatment can be chosen as an alternative solution for a specific medium. The most common surface treatments are: galvanising, phosphating, nickelling, chroming, powder-coating, tinning and silvering/gilding. All of these surface treatments add specific properties to the spring, as a result of which the lifespan is extended and the product made suitable for the application, with the principle that the mechanical properties are not being adversely affected.

    Hydrogen embrittlement in spring materials

    The application of surface treatments is not without risk and if implemented incorrectly, this may lead to embrittlement of the materials. This phenomenon is called hydrogen embrittlement and occurs in all cases where hydrogen is able to develop on the surface of the steel. The effect of hydrogen embrittlement on steel is that the steel will break at a much lower tensile strength than usual, despite the steel showing enormous durability properties during normal lifespan tests. Hydrogen embrittlement could be caused by processes for surface treatments and occurs when springs are exposed to non-oxidising acids or cathodic cleaning and coating. Remark: leaf springs that have hardened after moulding are sensitive to this.

    The risk of embrittlement is reduced as the tensile strength and hardness are diminished. Generally, embrittlement does not occur on steel with a tensile strength of < 1000 N/mm ² or a hardness of < 30 Vickers. Most of the hydrogen can be removed by an additional thermal treatment (continuous warming). The thickness of the material determines the temperature and the duration of this thermal treatment:

    Material thickness < 3 mm 170°C – 180°C, 5 hours

    Material thickness < 12 mm 190°C – 210°C, 4 hours

    The implementation of surface treatments is hardly ever without risk. Alcomex always carries out these treatments in consultation with specialised partners, in order to guarantee the quality of our spring products and solutions.

    By: Marco Dekker | Head of Research & Development

     

    Do you have a specific challenge regarding high temperatures or corrosion? Get in contact with us!

  8. How to determine the right material for spring solutions?

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    Depending on the application and the requirements set, the choice is made to use a certain material or a specific surface treatment. Mechanical, thermodynamic properties and corrosion resistance play a major part, but at Alcomex we obviously also look into the availability and costs. An exotic material, that might be perfect though for a specific spring application, is often far too costly or not available in terms of wire.

    Knowledge of materials and surface treatment

    Within the technology department of Alcomex, wire manufacturers are always consulted when options are sought to improve the existing materials. Over the years, the wire used by Alcomex has significantly improved (for example higher tensile strength versus the EN 10270-1). This way we can allow the application of greater forces to the springs we design. In addition to improving the mechanical properties, we also study whether it is possible to make springs suitable for a certain use by applying a specific surface treatment. A simple example of this is the evaporation of gold; here, springs are provided with a thin layer of gold, which guarantees corrosion resistance (in addition, gold is a great conductor of electricity and is fairly abrasion-resistant). However, the limiting factor in this example is the costs which are too high for most purposes.

    The extensive alcomex testing programme

    Since applications become increasingly more challenging, for Alcomex the knowledge of materials has become more important over the years. Specific demands with regard to temperature and corrosion resistance and “foreseeable lifespan” make the testing of the behaviour of material an essential factor.

    At Alcomex we use an extensive testing programme to determine the lifespan and relaxation. In consultation with our partners, it is even possible to tests springs in the application directly. One of the examples regarding the direct testing in the customer’s application, was the question: “What is the lifespan of an INOX 316 compression spring at 80°C in water vapour containing 40% sulphuric acid (H2SO4)?” The results of the test showed that after 80 hours, the INOX 316 springs were heavily corroded and, as such, no longer capable of providing enough strength.

    The solution for this specific application, chosen by Alcomex, in consultation with the partner, was the use or ordinary spring steel with a special coating. After testing, this resulted in a lifespan of approximately 2,000 hours.

    Springs in a certain application coming into contact with relatively high temperatures is another challenge that Alcomex faces regularly. By heating springs continuously (approx. 250°C), they are in fact calcined tension-free constantly, where tension-free calcining is part of the production process and serves a purpose. However, heating continuously, up to 250°C, is a different matter. At even higher temperatures the mechanical properties, and thus the spring constant (N/mm), quickly deteriorate, in other words, the springs will no longer function the way they were intended to.

    Obviously there are standard materials available, but sometimes even they do not suffice, so that the solution should be sought in the total design that the spring is part of.

    Changing Elasticity modulus under temperature

    (E(application)=E20 * [1-r *(t-20)] => t [temp-application] at 20°C ambient temperature and r=0.25×10¯³ for spring steel and r=0.4×10¯³ for INOX).

    For this kind of specific cases it is important to look at the entire system and only then choose the material. Because often, after a simple adjustment in the design, an existing material can be chosen for the springs. For example, the application of cooling fins or insulation may sometimes be enough to guarantee the desired service life of the spring.
    Each market segment has its specific technical requirements, as well as numerous applications, so it is impossible to discuss all of them. We can however state that in its existence Alcomex’s technical team has already overcome many a problem. In addition, we are always looking for new techniques and surface treatments that we can use, together with our years of experience, for our customers.

    By: Marco Dekker | Head of Research & Development

     

    Submit your challenge to us? Get in contact with us!

     

  9. Market leader through research & development – part 4

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    Nothing varies like the lifespan does

    The lifespan of springs is something that nobody in the market, the spring manufacturer in particular, would stick his neck out for. The challenge is to keep on trying to achieve something in this area. When it comes to door springs (sectional, tilting, industrial or simply a garage door, it becomes easier. After all we have tonnes of testing data at our disposal. For these springs, drawing up a material and calculation specification, in connection with the lifespan, is easier.

    Of course this remains purely theoretical, because in practice there are many variables. This was reason enough for us to start organising a brand new test centre, early 2018, and invest even more in Research & Development. In the new R&D centre, testing takes place continuously, mostly in cooperation with market relations. Who would be more aware of the load specifications than the end user?

    The example of the trampoline

    Still, in many cases it is a matter of conjecture. An obvious example are trampoline springs. How exactly are the springs burdened? What risk lies in the fact that the springs may fail? In short, what is the actual desired lifespan? In case of trampoline springs with loop ends, one shouldn’t exceed 10,000 cycles (quasi static, because the loop end will always be the weak spot), but in practice that means perhaps only a week of jumping. Fortunately in these cases, we consult our partner to be able to adjust the design in order to tackle these kinds of problems.

    Of course, the question remains “how exactly are trampoline springs burdened”, for which there is no simple answer, so with regard to this, together with our partner, we perform a lot of fieldwork, data analysis and factually a complete DFMEA (Design Failure Mode Effect Analyses). “Learning by doing” as the saying goes and that applies to R&D in particular.

    Did you miss previous episodes of the research & development series? Read part 3 here!

    By: Marco Dekker | Head of research & development

  10. Market leader through research & development – part 3

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    If only technology was that simple!

    As we have started the project “foreseeable” lifespan, time after time we are struggling with the essential, yet also contradictory technical aspects.

    In terms of strength calculation, for instance, we desire a high tensile strength, because Alcomex uses the maximum burden of the wire as a calculation criteria. In various spring configurations, this is 50% of this tensile strength. Increasing this will have consequences, because if the tensile strength becomes too high, this will result in a wire that is of no use (too rigid). Also material suppliers won’t be happy with those requirements as they imply a process auditing. If this audit is not satisfactory, tinkering with the pre-material will be required.

    What we have seen over the last few years is that wire-tensile process largely influences the quality of the end-product. Material, percentage of carbon, conversion degree and other specific process steps have significant influence on the type of wire we use.

    From high quality to customer-specific customisation

    In the early days of Alcomex, we used to work with the SH, just like everybody else did. SH quality, according to EN 10270-1, but at Alcomex we stopped using that a long time ago. Presently we are working with EN 10270-1 TURBO materials. These are materials that are manufactured almost entirely specifically per supplier. This way, all our extension, compression and torsion springs are high-quality made. This almost entirely specific treatment per supplier can even be enhanced. When talking about customisation, Alcomex will even translate the requirements or application of a customer into wire-specific requirements.

    The greatest challenge we are currently working on is the combining of all our test information, experience, knowledge of the wire-tension process and technical calculation, conform the EN DIN 13906-1, into one lifespan formula. This formula, in combination with the customer-specific demands and processing of application data in its entirety, may lead to a solid basis for “foreseeable” lifespan.

    Did you miss previous episodes in the research & development series? Read part 2 here!

    By: Marco Dekker | Head of Research & Development
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