Vibratory finishing is supposed to deburr and polish metal parts, resulting in uniform pieces that are free from defects that could impair their performance. Finishing also prepares the surfaces on parts to receive coatings or paint. Sometimes, however, parts end up covered with a chalky or dirty looking substance. This substance is the remains of the bonding agent that maintains the abrasiveness of the media used to create friction in the machine and deburr the parts. Here is how to remove residue on parts after vibratory finishing.
Rinsing finished parts with a wet compound and media immediately after the vibratory process is done will help remove residue. Make sure not to let the residue dry on the parts, as this will allow the residue to settle into hard to reach places. Some shops use ultrasonic or aqueous rinsing systems as add-ons to vibratory finishing machines.
Use a Flow-Through Compound Delivery System
A flow-through compound delivery system mixes soap and water in the correct proportions. It delivers a fresh mixture constantly, and the mixture flows through the machine to the drain rather than staying in the machine to circulate through the full time of the vibratory process. This helps carry away residue that would be left on parts after vibratory finishing. Just as dishwashing soap cleans glassware or detergent washes clothes, the soap adheres to particles on the parts and washes them away.
It is critical to use soap with the correct pH for the metal you are finishing. A pH level that is too high or too low can ruin the metal. Read labels on compounds and use the recommended soap for the metal you’re finishing. Some manufacturers, such as the makers of the Giant vibratory finisher, offer a selection of cleaning and deburring compounds appropriate for different types of metals and formulated to reduce residue.
Use Less Abrasive Media
Some types of media run cleaner than others. Stainless steel and porcelain are less abrasive and deburr more by weight than by abrasive action. These types of media resist breaking down and, thus, leave less residue. However, they may not be powerful enough to deburr some kinds of metals.
Be Mindful of Wastewater Restrictions
Your remedy for residue must comply with regulations about wastewater. In some situations, you may not be permitted to use a flow-through system unless you comply with wastewater management regulations. Disposing of water that was used in a rinsing system may also subject you to rules about where the used water can go. Check with local wastewater authorities about the proper way to safely filter and drain wastewater to avoid carrying prohibited chemicals or metals into the municipal wastewater system.
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