A Brief History of the Development of Spring Factories in China

The development of spring factories in China has a rich history that spans several decades. This article explores the key milestones and advancements in the industry, highlighting the significant contributions made by Chinese manufacturers. Throughout this history, the industry has evolved from its humble beginnings to become a major player in the global market.


The 1950s: Emergence of Spring Factories

During the 1950s, as industrial production gained momentum in China, the country witnessed the birth and growth of spring factories. In 1952, the first specialized factory for manufacturing railroad locomotive springs was established in Tianjin. With support from the Chinese government and large national enterprises, these factories produced large springs for their respective products in forging workshops. In 1955, an automobile manufacturing plant in Changchun introduced spring manufacturing equipment from the Soviet Union, setting up the first dedicated coil spring production facility in China. Most spring factories during this period were state-owned enterprises, with a few artisanal plants emerging in coastal cities.

At the time, China’s spring processing technology and equipment were relatively outdated. Spiral springs were predominantly rolled using conventional machine tools, although some factories possessed spring coiling machines from Germany and Japan dating back to World War I. By the early 1960s, a few low-voltage electrical plants started producing springs tailored to their specific needs by imitating Czech spring coiling machines. Additionally, some spring plants began importing coil spring machines from countries such as the Soviet Union, the Czech Republic, West Germany, Japan, France, and the United Kingdom.


<h1>The 1980s: Expansion and Diversification

By the 1980s, China had over 70 spring factories operating at a significant scale. These factories focused on various production varieties and processes, specializing in hydraulic springs, oil injection pump springs, valve springs, hot coiled springs, butterfly springs, and steel springs. By 1985, China had more than 1,400 spring manufacturing enterprises, including over 600 professional-scale factories, 100 larger-scale professional manufacturers, and 10 spring institutes. This period saw the production of a wide range of springs, including plate springs, cylindrical helical springs, multi-strand spiral springs, flatworm coil springs, disc springs, suspension springs, torsion springs, ring springs, leaf springs, serpentine springs, shaped springs, and combination springs.

During the 1980s, Chinese spring factories began introducing advanced spring manufacturing technology from Germany. Moreover, these companies sent employees to countries like Germany, Japan, the United States, and Sweden for training and knowledge exchange. This resulted in a significant improvement in domestic spring production equipment, testing facilities, and manufacturing techniques.


<h2>After 2000: Expansion and Modernization

China’s entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) in the early 2000s, coupled with the rapid growth of the global industrial manufacturing industry, provided new opportunities for the development of Chinese spring factories. Springs, as essential components of mechanical equipment, played a crucial role in meeting the demands of equipment upgrades and performance enhancements. Consequently, the industry began expanding and growing rapidly. Computer Numerical Control (CNC) spring machines became commonplace, although small businesses still dominated the sector. Some forward-thinking spring factory owners started investing in technological advancements and talent acquisition, gradually adopting modern production and management practices.


<h3>Present Day: Industry Expansion and Product Diversity

In recent years, China’s spring industry has witnessed significant growth in scale and product variety. The industry now encompasses a wide range of springs, including valve springs, suspension springs, diaphragm springs, shock springs, hydraulic springs, oil pump springs, disc springs, high-temperature springs, springs, clips, tension springs, torsion springs, compression springs, wire forms and so on.

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