Springs Primer: What Retailers Need to Know

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Innersprings are being used throughout the mattress because they’re softer, smaller and more adaptable to the demands of bedding constructions

At a time when sustainability has become a watchword, sleeper comfort is crucial and consumers can order mattresses with a simple click, springs makers want mattress retailers to know their products have it all covered. From glueless coils that make recycling used mattress components easier to finer wires for a softer sleeping surface to units that stretch all the way to the bed’s perimeter for a firmer edge and nicer out-of-the-box presentation on e-commerce orders, springs innovations continue to leap ahead.

In this primer, we look at the use of springs in bedding and trends in the category.

Think of this as a CliffsNotes that can get you up to speed on springs in a few minutes. For more in-depth information, read Beth English’s report, “Get Current on Coils,” in our sister publication BedTimes at BedTimesMagazine.com/2019/09/Get-Current-on-Coils.

Benefits of springs: Innersprings are durable, increase airflow throughout a mattress and aren’t prone to body impressions. Suppliers have long touted the sustainability of springs, which are made from recycled steel and are easily recyclable again at the end of a mattress’ useful life.

Types of springs: Springs are being used throughout the mattress — in cores, comfort layers and edges. Thinner, softer constructions make them an alternative to polyurethane foams and latex in even the topmost layers. Generally, short microcoils are found in comfort layers and taller, thicker springs in mattress cores. In many constructions, pocketed, or fabric-encased, springs are replacing traditional Bonnell units in the core.

Other innerspring trends

 New constructions: Springs suppliers continue to innovate, making thinner and shorter microcoils for use in comfort layers. Many mattress makers are layering spring units, with different types of coils in each layer to provide varying levels of support and comfort. Some suppliers, like Spinks and HSM’s Hickory Springs division, are creating nested springs (also called a coil-within-a-coil or a spring-within-a-spring), which improve both support and comfort. Meanwhile, Texas Pocket Springs is making more split-king coil units to meet the demand for adjustable-friendly mattresses and is refining an innerspring unit made specifically for single-sided mattresses.

Changing pockets: Pocketed coils that use glue to attach fabric to the springs are more complicated to recycle than Bonnell units, so suppliers are creating glueless constructions, such as ultrasonically welded polypropylene pockets, to make it easier to separate the fabric from the springs to recycle both components.

In the zone: Innerspring units often are zoned by using softer or firmer coils or skipping coils in certain places. This allows mattress makers to create, for instance, firmer perimeters or add support to shoulder and lumbar regions. Leggett & Platt Inc. offers a family of coil units under its ActivEdge brand that are designed specifically to provide perimeter support and eliminate foam encasements. Similarly, Agro Group focuses on edge-to-edge coils and zoning with its A.POC RelaxGuard line, and Industrias Subiñas, which partners with Agro Group for the A&S Innersprings USA venture, offers a coils-on-the-perimeter product called ForcEdge that features titanium wire, as well as carbon steel wire.

Boxable: The first boxed mattresses were all-foam models. Not content to cede the boxed bed business to foam makers, springs suppliers have created spring units that can be compressed and folded and that bounce back quickly to their original shape when unboxed by consumers. For example, Texas Pocket Springs makes a unit that has a “hinge” down the vertical center of the bed, allowing it to be boxed more easily.

Working well with others: Innersprings suppliers are finding new ways to combine springs, foam and latex in hybrid bedding. A couple of years ago, Starsprings introduced S-touch, a coil topped with a latex pad within a needle-punched fabric encasement. It recently updated the coil with a version that features “pillows” on top of the springs, all wrapped in a softer, spunbond fabric.