The vibratory finishing process is the movement of medias, parts, water, and compounds in a machine. The machine contains the various elements and provides the vibratory motion to perform the finishing process. The medias, also called chips or stones, are abrasive preforms and are used to remove unwanted matter from a surface or create a polished finish. The compound and the media work together to provide a consistent finish to the workpiece. The preforms can be used in vibratory finishers, tumblers, centrifugal machines, disk machines, and barrel finishers.
Types of Deburring and Finishing Media
Finishing medias comes in many different shapes, sizes, and compositions. When choosing a media, it is necessary to take into account the shape, size, and type of media. Typical vibratory tumbling media types are:
Ceramic media is the most common media in the industry. It has a higher density than plastic and can easily grind and polish harder materials like high-temperature alloys and steel. It is also used for general-purpose polishing and is often used with plastic, steel, stainless, and aluminum parts.
Plastic media shines when cleaning softer, non-ferrous metals like aluminum, zinc, and brass and is a good option for pre-painted or pre-plate polishing. Plastic media is used commonly for finishing die-cast work pieces.
Steel media is a very popular form of media for burnishing and polishing. It can be used on aluminum or brass components and last for a long time with proper maintenance and housekeeping guidelines. Steel media requires specific equipment for processing due to its high bulk density.
Organic media is a very lightweight media popular for drying parts after vibratory processing. Common organic medias are walnut shells and crushed corn cobs.
Vibratory tumbling has a wide variety of applications and characteristics. Medias stand out due to these key benefits:
- Can be used with heavy, delicate and fragile components
- Provide consistent finishes everytime
- Reduces manual hand finish labor
- Improves surfaces and reduces imperfections
Compounds are one of the elements of the finishing process and serve as abrasive preforms. Their role may be as simple as a process aid or they may be the backbone of the finishing process. Compounds provide many attributes to the process, and they differ based on the type of process. :
- Mass finishing processes
- Polishing and Buffing
- Fixtured or non-fixtured
- Parts washing –spray and dip washing
What does Mass Finishing Compound Do?
- Wet the surface of parts and the media
- Clean/suspend oils and soils
- Provide lubricity/foam
- Provide cooling
- Control pH
- Control water hardness
- Remove corrosion and scale
- Control part color
- Inhibit corrosion