|Helical Products Company, Inc. is the originator of the HELI-CAL Flexure, the hallmark coil pattern that can be designed to affect performance features such as torque capacity, angular misalignment, axial movement, parallel offset, torsional stiffness, and compression spring rate. Over 7,500 successful Helical designs have been produced to date. The company has over 40 years of flexure research, design and manufacturing experience. The odds are good that sometime in your life you’ve flown in, walked on, driven in, or otherwise accessed a coupling, u-joint, or machined spring manufactured by Helical Products Company, Inc.
Since 1958 Helical has been recognized as the pioneer in the design and manufacture of single piece, Helical beam flexible couplings, universal joints and machined springs. The unique capabilities of the HELI-CAL Flexure have solved countless design projects for companies from a wide variety of industries. The HELI-CAL Flexure is a flexible helix (curved) beam machined from one piece of material into a specific configuration that incorporates special design requirements, performance features or characteristics. When used as a spring, the flexure provides desired and precise elastic spring performance in compression, extension, torsion, lateral bending and lateral displacement modes. Used as a flexible coupling or u-joint, the flexure utilizes its curved beam to transmit torque while compensating for lateral, axial, and angular misalignment movements. A big advantage of this technology is that it enables customer specified end attachments, such as tangs, clamps, or threaded ends to be integrated into a single, multi-functional component. Such attachment features, integrated with the HELI-CAL Flexure into a single unit, can have a substantial impact on system performance as well as increased production efficiencies, cost savings, and reduced inventories. Over time, the adaptabilities of the HELI-CAL Flexure have helped solve thousands of mechanical misalignment problems. Through the years Helical has made a living offering engineering design assistance (at no charge) and making parts that other manufacturers need to control motion, make a multi-functional component or make their equipment work better. Key to the company’s success is a proprietary manufacturing process that converts a solid bar of aluminum, titanium, stainless steel or other material into a flexible part that can be used in applications as varied as a heart pump or a space station torque wrench. “The technology used to make Helical products is unique and original and not easily emulated,” says Helical’s president Herb Merrell. Helical yearly turns out innumerable variations of the HELI-CAL Flexure concept--machined springs, flexible beam couplings, and u-joints. Working in tolerances a thousandth of an inch, smaller than a human hair, Helical engineers develop rectangular-like shaped coils for all sorts of special applications, altering the number and thickness of the coils to achieve desired performance.
From worktables to Mars
The result has been Helical products that have found their way into an unbelievable number of applications. Helical products, for example, are found in aircraft, animated figures, harvesting equipment, office worktables, bowling pin setters, race cars and baseball pitching machines, to name a few. They are also used in rail systems, optical grinding, dry cleaning equipment, food processing and theatre projection equipment. On U.S. military anti-aircraft missiles, Helical springs snap fins into flying position from their retracted state inside a firing canister. In what probably has been the company’s most notable achievement, NASA used Helical springs on the Mars Rover, a space robot that millions watched exploring the planet, to position the Alpha Proton X-Ray Spectrometer transducer head against a rock surface so that the rock’s composition could be determined.
Helical “flexured” products have the inherent potential to satisfy more than a single engineering requirement. The remarkable thing about the HELI-CAL Flexure is its versatility. There are countless aspects to it that can be optimized to eloquently fit a variety of applications.
Does the HELI-CAL Flexure sound uniquely special? Truly, it is. Helical’s one-piece, flexured machined springs, beam couplings and u-joints, with all of their design options, can incorporate a myriad of performance features…. all you would want for your particular application and then some. “Now you can dream.”
Go to Helical's engineering page
Find out more about Helical's products
Helical Flexure Facts application stories.