Mass Finishing – What Is It And Why Should You Consider Using It?

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Barrel, vibratory and high energy disk centrifugal force machines are all precisely controlled methods of processing small and/or large batches of engineered components in order to; remove sharp edges, eliminate tool marks, remove flash, de-scale, radius edges, polish and/or burnish the surface.


MF components image as at 07122015


Compared to traditional hand finishing methods the equipment brings a host of benefits including; reliability, consistency of finish produced, efficiency and effectiveness as well as reducing finishing cost per part.  Added to that machines can be linked to dryers, washers, separators and transfer systems right the way through to being integrated into fully automatic ‘lights out’ production cells.




It is widely used by component manufacturers for a variety of applications:




Deburring – removing burrs and sharp edges from machined or pressed components.  This can be carried out without critical changes in important dimensions, especially on closely tolerance diameters and faces.  The process follows the contours of the component so that the edges are the first to be treated and burrs removed before critical dimensions are affected.




Radiusing - said to be an extension of the deburring process until a definite radius is produced on a component.  This work can’t be properly done or controlled when hand methods are used.  A component ‘radiused’ by hand usually, on close inspection, typically displays not a true radius but a number of flats and when volumes of parts are involved it is also evident that by hand methods the degree of radius will vary from one component to another.  Additionally using mass finishing the profile is true on all edges and the amount of radius can be controlled by process time and condition of the edge to be treated.  As an added bonus the process is not selective and will treat all the component edges in the same way unless masking techniques are used.




Cutting Down / Blending - refers to the treatment of surfaces rather than edges.  The value of this operation often lies in the surface improvement of castings and forgings.  It is used on a variety of components such as; automotive parts, turbine blades, cutlery, sport equipment, surgical instruments and many others.




Colouring or Burnishing – this  process can be used on most metals to give a bright, lustrous finish and to bring out the natural colour of the metal.  The finish achieved is bright and reflective but not necessarily smooth since it is not a cutting process and it follows the imperfections of the surface.  High lustre finishes can be achieved on brass and aluminium components in particular and parts treated in this way tend to retain their colour longer than those ‘polishing’ by more traditional methods.  Media used is usually of steel or porcelain in conjunction with special polishing compounds or pastes.  More recently highly polished components have been produced using maize or wood media impregnated with a special polishing cream.   This has proved very effective on stainless steel components or for the fine polishing of soft aluminium components.  The ultimate in this type of finish is achieved by using the RÅ‘sler Keramo Finish Process.




Deflashing - involves removing flash and die lines from aluminium or zinc alloy die castings.  It is a process widely used in the die-castings industry and as with de-burring, the thickness and position of the flash to be removed must be carefully controlled.




Cleaning - refers to the cleaning of components as a finishing operation rather than a pre-treatment process.  There are many applications for this type of operation which is part chemical / part mechanical as imparted by the vibrating or centrifugally agitated media.  Applications include; cleaning of automotive components prior to re-work / re-conditioning where it is often necessary to remove baked-in carbon and oil deposits, general degreasing, light surface or edge treatment combined with cleaning and surface conditioning prior to painting.  Often this type of process can replace more expensive alkaline or solvent degreasing systems and phosphating plant.




To understand the types of industries and components where mass finishing can be used please see our blog: Applications For Mass Finishing Machines


For more information on mass finishing visit www.rosler.com




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Steve Lewis-Brammer NewPost written by

Stephen Lewis-Brammer

General Manager