Mass finishing

The 9 Most Common Mistakes You Need To Avoid To Get The Most Out Of Your Mass Finishing Machine

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Mass finishing/vibratory machines are some of the easiest machine tools to use.



[caption id="attachment_29" align="alignright" width="179"]Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's a Vibratory Finishing Machine! Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's a Vibratory Finishing Machine![/caption]


As a result sometimes operators can get in to the habit of just turning them on each day and ignoring simple operating and maintenance rules.  Here are 9 mistakes people make which you can avoid to help you get the most from your equipment:


  1. They let the media level drop, often with the aim of saving money and/or so they can get more parts in. This changes the ratio of parts per media though and can affect process times, unloading ability, can cause components to damage each other and can result in the required finish not being achievable.
  2. Small media isn’t removed from the bowl and screened regularly. When this happens where it can do, small media will lodge in parts, change process action and affect times (and even the results produced). It will also find ways of getting in to the drains and block them.
  3. They don’t use enough compound (or don’t use any at all!). Whilst their intention may be to save money abrasive media stops being clean (part of the compound’s job) so it glazes (becomes smooth) and stops doing its job!
  4. They don’t periodically check the drains and as a result small media chippings, swarf, etc
 can block the drainage holes. This raises the water level which in turn affects process capability and can result in the desired finish not being achieved. Ultimately the drain can completely block causing the machine to flood.
  5. They put too many parts in the machine. As per number 1 this can result in parts damaging each other, getting trapped under screens (where fitted) and can stop the media movement so parts just bounce on the top of each other. In mass finishing there are process ratios to observe and where users exceed them they typically find that more is effectively less!
  6. Should a machine be moved or disconnected from the power supply after it is reinstalled people don’t check it is running correctly. Often machines are wired in with the poles reversed and as such they ‘run’ backwards. Better to check with experienced users / suppliers that the machine has been reinstalled correctly.
  7. They don’t bother to check the lining is in good condition. Where this wears it causes a loss in process movement and drive. Worse still if it is unchecked for some time abrasive media will abrade the steel fabrication and can eventually produce holes.
  8. They don’t document and control the process. The mentality of ‘just chuck things in’ can exist and as operators change eventually no one has an understanding of what to do and why. The phrase, “We do it like that because we always have” prevails and as a result the finish they produce is often way below what is possible.
  9. They don’t control the starting condition of the parts to be processed. Machine operating parameters are determined against the starting condition of a part. Should it change then the process needs to be reviewed. Using a machine is like baking a cake 
 all you have to do is follow the recipe. Change the ingredients though and you could be in for a nasty surprise!

Should you need any help with the 9 points above or just a chat about your finishing equipment and its operation please complete our online form at




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Steve Lewis-Brammer NewPost written by

Stephen Lewis-Brammer

General Manager