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By Rick Barrett, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Feb. 22--It's an industry with a lot of bounce.
Having been squeezed by foreign competition and soaring metal prices, U.S. spring manufacturers are wound up with new business even as they remain cautious about their outlook for 2005.
Some companies have reported their busiest times in about five years, said Ken Boyce, executive vice president of the Spring Manufacturers Institute in Oak Brook, Ill.
The institute represents companies that make springs for nearly every conceivable use, from ink pens to jet engines. It has about a dozen member companies in the Milwaukee area.
"Springs are the great unseen component," Boyce said. "Most people have no idea how dependent they are on springs, from the ones that hold their eye glasses in place to the ones in their door locks. There are a couple of hundred …