Even the finest fabricated parts aren’t perfect at the moment of manufacture. Depending on the type of part, its size and shape, and the material it is made of, parts must undergo an additional process to remove sharp edges, excess materials, and imperfections that cutting machines and lasers may leave behind. Some machine shops do their own finishing while other parts manufacturers outsource any deburring and polishing necessary. If you intend to outfit your shop with equipment for refining manufactured parts, keep these considerations for choosing vibratory finishing equipment in mind.
Vibratory finishing machines come in a wide range of sizes intended to handle anything from a handful of rings to something as big as airplane wings and engine parts. The volume of parts you expect to finish in your shop is a major factor that affects your choice of appropriate finishing equipment. Vibratory finishing machines may run batch systems, where each load of parts must be removed before the next load is run. They also may run continuous operation systems, which include a means of separating finished parts from the media that vibrates with them to file off rough edges and polish the part. Continuous machines may recycle abrasive media or permit the introduction of additional media along with new parts to polish.
Vibratory machines work by introducing friction to smooth parts. The vibratory motion alone is not enough to generate friction and, by itself, could do more harm than good to the parts undergoing a finishing process. That’s why parts go into the machine with an abrasive material called “media.” Made of plastic, ceramic, stainless-steel, or even plant materials like nutshells or corn cobs, this “media” creates friction against the parts when the machine vibrates. Media can be round, triangular, or irregularly shaped. Along with solid media, some vibratory machines use a “wet” process that introduces water or another specially formulated liquid to enhance deburring or polishing.
Flexibility and Customization
Vibratory finishing machines may be shaped like a bowl or a trough—essentially, round or u-shaped. Some machines have covers and others don’t. The type of lining in the vibratory chamber makes a difference in the results. Whether the machine can run both wet and dry processes is another important consideration for choosing vibratory finishing equipment. The way materials are ejected and separated from media and liquid is another factor. A metal vibratory tumbler bowl will save you more time and process more types of materials if it is customizable for your needs. Consider power, durability, variable speeds, and the ability to adapt to future needs, as these are other important factors to think about. At AccuBrass, we can help you understand what kind of vibratory finishing machine will best suit your shop’s needs.
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