Isotropic Mass Finishing for Surface Integrity and Part Performance
Barrel, vibratory, centrifugal and spindle finish can improve part performance and service life.
When presented with edge and surface finishing problems, many manufacturers continue to reach for solutions that rely on out-of-date, time-consuming and labor-intensive methods. It is still not unusual to see precision parts and critical hardware being manually handled, and edge and surface finishing operations being performed with abrasive hand tools or manually controlled power tools that use coated abrasives or abrasive filaments.
This situation often arises from insufficient planning and a lack of understanding of what will be required to render the manufactured part or component acceptable for the end user. At the root of the problem is a manufacturing and design engineering culture that considers its work done when the part comes off the machining center or the fabricating machine. Too often, part edge and surface condition is simply someone else’s problem.
This is a situation that deserves and is getting an increasing amount of scrutiny. It is a subject repeatedly discussed at the “Deburring, Edge-Finish, and Surface Conditioning Technical Group” sponsored by SME Manufacturing’s Machining/Material Removal Technical Community in Dearborn, Michigan.
The costs of neglecting to consider deburring and surface conditioning in production planning and engineering can be substantial. Frequently overlooked, however, are the potentially serious problems that can develop from the ad hoc and interim solutions that are selected to deal with what now has become—in some instances—a manufacturing crisis.
The manufacturers who resort to hand or manual finishing do not do so because of its cost on a per piece basis (it is by far the most costly method of handling the problem) but, often, it is the most obvious solution and the easiest and the quickest to implement. The reason this problem persists is that there is an imperfect understanding of the serious hidden cost this manual and uncontrolled approach imposes. This is not to say that some deburring and finishing problems don’t require some manual intervention; some do. In many cases, however, manual methods are selected because they are an easy and quick fix.
The first casualty of this manual approach is the investment the manufacturer has made, often in the millions, for precise and computer controlled manufacturing equipment. The idea behind this investment was to have the ability to produce parts that are uniformly and carefully manufactured to exacting specifications and tolerances. At this point, in too many cases, the parts are then handed off to manual deburring and finishing procedures that will guarantee no two parts will ever be alike.