October 2013: How it’s Made

Stampings and KYB’s Spring Seat

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springseat

Most people know that springs support the vehicle, but what supports the springs? On first glance the circular metal plate may not be very impressive. But what if the spring seat wasn’t strong enough or welded to the strut at exactly the right angle or height? What if it caused the spring to sit a little crooked or didn’t hold the spring in the correct position?

There’s no guesswork when manufacturing an original equipment strut. From drawing program to stamping, to prototype, to mass production, every component has to fit precisely.

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KYB uses a CMM (Computerized Maintenance Management) robot programmed to measure every dimension of a stamped component based on its digital design specifications.  This Zeiss-made machine (yes, the same German precision optics company that’s famous for camera lenses) is accurate to .001 microns. That’s more than 100 times smaller than a human hair. The slightest miscalculation at the spring seat can cause vehicle handling problems or worse yet, a failure while driving. The spring seat is just one of many stamped components that are fitted and welded to a strut. There are steering knuckle, brake hose and stabilizer brackets that all have to match the original design. Completed struts are routinely pulled off the production line to be re-measured and certified that they are design-correct.

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To the untrained eye a complete strut assembly can look just fine, but after it’s installed on a vehicle and a technician tries to perform an accurate wheel alignment, any manufacturing or stamping flaw will be revealed. Ride height, turning radius, caster, camber, tire wear and even gas mileage can be affected if the strut and all of its welded-on components don’t match the vehicle’s original design.

KYB is one of the world’s largest and most respected Original Equipment Shock & Strut suppliers. The struts we manufacture for the Aftermarket are made on the same assembly lines and receive the same measuring and quality assurance procedures as our OEM products. That’s all a part of being Original Equipment for the Aftermarket! Anything less than KYB… is just less.