Spring clips are fasteners that grip inserted components through spring tension. Generally, spring clips are u-shaped, but they are also available in other shapes; both clothes pins and binder clips are types of unusually shaped spring clips. A wide range of materials are used in the manufacture of spring clips, including steel, plastic, wood, and various alloys. The material used and its thickness, as well as design, determine the clips strength.
Often used in electrical applications, spring clips also provide a variety functions in construction, textile, business and personal operations, from office use to panel clamping. Plastic clips are used extensively in electrical and cable-fastening applications, but steel clips tend to provide better strength, temperature resistance, and durability. Metal clips are regularly used in retaining and clamping applications; these fasteners are often coated with vinyl and other synthetics to prevent damage to the inserted part.
The plastic extrusion process is regularly used to produce spring clips, as manufacturers can quickly create a large volume of parts with identical cross-sections. Additional machining may be employed to add holes and other details, but extrusion is capable of a wide range of shapes, and is well suited to clip manufacture. The process involves forcing partially liquefied plastic through a die. As the plastic passes through the die, it takes on the shape of the die and then cools. Once cooled, it can be cut into smaller sections; in the case of spring clips, a single extrusion can yield hundreds or thousands of units.
Thousands of types of spring clips are available through manufacturers, from carabineer clips to small e-clips. Simple clips are used to hold everything from cell phone cases to beepers, while specialized clips are designed to hold multiple wires in electrical systems. Custom configurations are relatively easy to produce but, unless manufactured in significant quantities, often less cost efficient than standard clips.
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