The Evolution of Spring Design Based on Technology

evolution spring design technology

At J & J Spring Enterprises, we’re proud to serve as your top custom spring manufacturer. We create the highest quality in everything from compression springs and coil springs to drag springs, flat springs and numerous other styles based on your needs.

Our spring experts have been in the industry for decades, and the most experienced among us have been through several phases of spring design – this is an area that’s evolved significantly over the last several decades. Springs a generation or two ago simply weren’t designed in the same ways they are now, where we use modern technology to assist us with better precision and calculations. Let’s look at the origins of modern spring design, how things evolved to where we are today, and one element that remains a relative constant no matter the level of technology.

Slide Rule

Before computers or even programmable calculators were available on the market, designers of springs made their calculations for dimensions and other factors using a special version of the slide rule. For those who aren’t aware, a slide rule is a mechanical analog computer, a close cousin of a nomogram.

Also called a “slipstick” in some circles, the slide rule is used to make general calculations. It’s also somewhat similar to a ruler, but isn’t used for the same things.


When calculators were invented and popularized on the market, this offered a major boon to spring manufacturers everywhere. Calculators made it far easier to split up spring design formulas into single equations, a job made even simpler when the programmable calculator came along a few years later. Instead of having to do each individual calculation manually, designers could save exponential amounts of time by simply using calculators.

Personal Computers

The next big event for spring designers was the invention of the personal computer, or PC. PCs could quickly be programmed to handle numerous spring design calculation formats, with software eventually designed to actually design springs automatically using precision calculations.

Modern Software

Today’s modern software follows similar principles, but with far more computing power and precision behind it. Engineers can now work directly with software platforms to design springs, or can allow the software to do most of the work here – whatever the preference of the customer is.

Material Choice – Not a Software Thing

One important note here: While spring engineers and designers have seen their roles change a lot throughout the years based on evolving technology, one area that hasn’t changed much is material selection. A computer can perform many of the tasks humans used to, but it can’t know the application of the spring or the proper material to choose based on the required purposes. This is where you still need a spring professional to help you make the proper choices for your project.

For more on the evolution of spring design based on technology available, or to learn about any of our custom spring design services, speak to the staff at J & J Spring Enterprises today.