Selecting Mass Finishing Equipment

Factors to be considered when selecting the most suitable mass finishing process include:

Production requirements

• Size and configuration of parts

• Part material

• Variety of parts

• Hourly production

• Annual production

Quality requirements

• Consistency of quality entering department

• Consistency of quality leaving department

• Surface finish

• Edge condition required

• Cleanliness of parts

• Uniformity over edges and surfaces

• Uniformity part to part

Process variables

• Relationship to other manufacturing processes

• Automation requirements

• Total investment

• Operation and maintenance costs

• Consumable materials

• Water and effluent removal and treatment

• Preventive maintenance and repairs

• Available floor space

• Inventory requirements

• EPA and OSHA considerations

• Labor, direct, supervisory, and quality control

• Future and current needs

Traditionally, mechanical finishing has been a centralized service operation for all manufacturing operations within an organization. Although the centralized finishing department is still suitable in many organizations, deburring and mechanical finishing is frequently incorporated in the production line. In reviewing mechanical finishing requirements, as in buying any metal-forming equipment, one should consider that equipment as part of a system with all controls between the system and all ancillary and handling equipment.

Some of the advantages and disadvantages of mass finishing processes that should be considered are included in Table 1.

Table 1 Advantages and disadvantages of mass finishing processes




Industry standard

Low operating cost for supplies Very low equipment maintenance cost

Slow process Skillful operator essential Automation impractical Wet working area No in-process inspection

Vibratory tub

Fast operation Handles all part sizes Open for in-process inspection Practical full batch automation Practical in-line automation

Slower than high-energy process External material handling required

Vibratory bowl

Open for in-process inspection Practical full batch and continuous operations Requires no auxiliary equipment to automate Internal separation Space saving

Lowest cost for general purpose work

Simple selection and operation with little operator skill required Can produce cleanest parts and excellent surface finish

Somewhat slower than vibratory tub


Possible automation, robot load and unload No part-on-part impingement

Limited part geometry Parts must be fixtured High labor cost

Centrifugal disc

Fast processing Open for in-process inspection Practical automated batch process Compact operation

Part size limitation High initial investment

Centrifugal barrel

Fast processing

No in-process inspection

Fragile part handling

High initial investment

High precision part handling

Potential automated batch processing

Automatic change from grind to super finish

Produces finest finish

Improves fatigue strength

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