In the course of preparing two articles for September—James Skakoon’s feature, “How Do You Rate Your Springs?” and Gary Boehm’s online exclusive, “Which Spring to Choose”—we found two Web sites that aim to be encyclopedic in their offerings of information about springs.
One, www.Planetspring.com, is a largely Web-based resource for a great deal of information on the subject. It is also building a business as a broker of springs. Potential buyers can register free. So can suppliers, at least for now, according to Ashley Hughes, the site administrator.
Right now the site has 350 registered buyers, who can post requests for quotes directly online or by sending them through e-mail to Planetspring.com staff. There are almost 125 suppliers signed up for the site, which was launched in May 2009.
According to Hughes, the company will start charging suppliers a fee when there is sufficient traffic to justify the cost. Until then manufacturers can register free as suppliers in various categories of springs. When fees kick in, a supplier will pay a monthly rate for each category the company has chosen to join.
There are a total of 17 categories. Separate categories, for instance, are assigned for bed springs, garage door springs, spring washers, and spring wire. Compression, extension, torsion, and five other commonly used types of springs are included in a single category called “most popular.”
When an RFQ is posted for a spring, the suppliers in that category receive an e-mail notice of the posting. They are also notified through a message service at the Web site.
The site includes videos to show how to use features of the Web site and also the conventions of measuring and describing springs.
One of the features of the site is a free online calculator. The unregistered can play with it three times before they have to sign up. Hughes told us that a version 2.0 is in the works. The new version will be able to calculate loads at different heights and will be able to generate drawings.
Besides the Web site material and services, the company also offers consultation by phone. According to Hughes, the company usually has three or four engineers available as consultants.
The Planetspring.com is currently launching a Spanish version, and also is thinking about Chinese.
The other Web site, brought to our attention by James Skakoon, is www.Spring-Makers-Resource.net. It strives to be a clearing house for information about springs. There is quite a bit of information on the site, including listings of trade associations, and much of it is set up to let spring designers, specifiers, and manufacturers communicate with each other.
There are listings of manufacturers and distributors of springs in more than 40 countries. The spring-makers blog on the Web site also has entries by manufacturers introducing themselves.
The site has features for manufacturers, including a page where they can post questions about technical and service issues, or offer comments.
Tools for buyers include a page where they can post RFQs. Manufacturers can browse the postings and reply to the Web site.
There is also basic information—types of springs, for instance, and basics of design—intended for the novice.
We don’t know who put the site together. It may be an individual. The introduction on the home page is written in the first person, but is unsigned.
We have filled out the e-mail form to request information, but haven’t heard back. A link about opportunities for buying and selling springs took us to a page of sponsored listings at a slightly different address, Spring-Makers-Members.net. A notice on that page said, “The domain spring-makers-members.net may be for sale by its owner.”