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Explaining Finishing Compounds

What are Finishing compounds? 


Finishing compounds are a mixture of liquid or dry powder chemicals used in water, with media, to perform a variety of tasks. 


This list of tasks include:


  1. Removing scale
  2. Removing tarnish/oxidization
  3. Conditioning water
  4. Controlling pH
  5. Assist in separating and cushioning parts, providing lubricity
  6. Prevent corrosion
  7. Cooling parts
  8. Control foaming
  9. Cleaning parts
  10. Assisting in emulsifying oils, grease, dirt, etc
  11. Controlling part color


Each of the above factors can play a major role in processing products.  For instance, in some machine processes, foam can be beneficial by assisting in protecting fragile parts from damage by acting as a cushion between the parts.  Whereas in a different machine process, foam can be the enemy.  It can reduce or completely eliminate the finishing action of the media. 


There are a number of ways to add compounds to a machine.  The two most common are a batch method and a flow-through method.  A batch addition is mostly used on closed machines.  Think of it like a washing machine or dishwasher.  The machine is loaded with a compound and water, and once the process cycle is over, the compounds and water are purged.  The flow-through system pumps measured doses continually at a pre-determined flow, which continually drains as the cycle runs.


Determining the type and amount of compound can be just as important as determining which process and media to use.  Too much compound can eliminate the aggressiveness of the media, extending cycle times substantially.  Too little compound can result in incomplete cleaning, damaged parts, smut build up, lessened corrosion protection, etc. 


Let Latem Industries Limited assist you with your Finishing Compound needs.

Contact us today

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Vibratory finishing

Vibratory finishing is a process used in many industries. It is commonly used in aerospace, automotive, orthopedic implants, firearms, medical and the oil industry.


The vibratory finishing process is the movement of a mass of parts combined with media, water, and compounds within a machine. This process has several benefits. It can be used with both heavy and light parts, as well as fragile parts. It is cost efficient and significantly reduces manual labour. This finish produces consistent finishes from lot to lot. As well, it reduces surface imperfections thus improving the overall cosmetic look. It is also amazingly effective in abrading inside deep cavities or hollow parts.


Compounds are used to assist in cleaning and burnishing. Water is the medium which binds them all together and assists in cleaning. Too much water can significantly reduce the effects of the media. Media varies by type, size, and shape. All three are especially important when determining the process. Larger media can give a rapid cut, but if the media is too large, it can damage the part, or not get into the tighter areas. Media that is too small can become lodged in the part or break off and leave debris in the part. If the media used and the part being processed are too close to the same size, separating the two will become an issue. Media shapes help with getting into corners and cavities. There are cone shaped media, ball shaped, pyramid shaped, triangle shaped, cylindrical as well as others. The media type is usually found by trial and error, even with experience.

Media can be made from plastic, steel, ceramic or organic materials. Plastic media performs well when cleaning softer metals like brass, zinc, and aluminum. Plastic is also commonly used on die-casted parts. Steel is a widely seen media. It has a long lifespan and can be used on steel, aluminum, brass, etc. However, special equipment may be required due to the weight of the steel media. Ceramic media is the most common. It works well polishing and grinding, and can be used on softer metals, hard metals, plastic, and stainless steel. Organic media, such as walnut shells is commonly used in the jewelry business as well as on soft alloys. Organic media such as corn cob can be used to clean or dry parts.

Let Latem Industries Limited’s 40+ years of experience assist you with your vibratory finishing.


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Metal finishing is a necessary step in numerous manufacturing industries. The finishing process has a substantial impact on the function, appearance and longevity of manufactured metal parts. The decision on whether to use metal finishing services in Canada or outsource the job overseas can also impact the final product.



Why choose a Canadian metal finisher? For some manufacturers, the choice may ultimately be a financial once. But there are other factors to consider when weighing the benefits of Canadian metal finishing versus finishing overseas.


1. Lead Time Required for Metal Finishing

Many metal finishing operations overseas are fast and efficient, able to process mass quantities of parts in a short time. But we can too!  Having parts finished overseas will always require a much greater lead time. There are no “rush orders” when your parts are an ocean away.


Canadian metal finishers can allow greater flexibility. The closer proximity to Canadian manufacturers means it’s feasible to accommodate unexpected orders or last-minute changes. Thousands of parts go through our factory floor and out the door each day, and our customers know we can get the job done when time is of the essence.


2. Transportation Costs

Whether you are manufacturing in Canada, or your end user is in Canada, having parts finished overseas can often mean greater transportation costs, especially when you’re dealing with large quantities of heavy metal parts.  Also, packaging costs can increase in order to avoid damage, rust, etc. 


In the current economic climate, it’s hard to predict how duties and  tariffs could change in the future, turning a lucrative overseas partnership into a financial headache.


Choosing a Canadian metal finisher provides far more clarity and stability in terms of cost.


3. Environmental Benefits

Today, the metal finishing and coating industries are more environmentally-friendly than ever before. However, they can still result in harmful by-products.

The metal finishing often follows a parts-washing process, which frequently involves the use of chemical solvents and cleaners. Depending on the finishing method of choice, the finishing process itself can produce wastewater, effluents, spent process solutions, and air emissions.


Here in Canada, metal finishers must conform to stringent industry standards and environmental regulations that ensure any waste is disposed of as safely as possible. Canadian metal finishers are also doing their part to achieve our provincial and national climate goals.


Unfortunately, this level of environmental protection is not a guarantee with metal finishers overseas.


4. Clear Communication

Email and VoIP technology has made it possible to communicate with foreign partners in an instant. Despite these advancements, miscommunication remains a problem for many Canadian manufacturers when it comes to outsourcing.   Again, if your manufacturing plant or end-user is in Canada, it behooves you to use a Canadian finisher due to the easy access and visitation distance.


5. Canadians Get the Job Done Right

Fact is, there’s no part of the metal finishing we can’t do in Canada. Canadian manufacturers who choose local finishers enjoy the benefit of a skilled, stable business partner get the job done to order.


Over the years, Latem Industries has continuously improved and expanded our operations to meet our customers’ changing needs. We’re proud to be a Canadian metal finishing company that support numerous North American manufacturing industries.   We are ISO approved, we are participants in Controlled Goods and we are a member of the MFJSA, (Mass Finishing Job Shop Association).


Let Latem Industries Limited be your Canadian Metal Finisher. Contact us today!

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Cleanliness is next to Godliness

Never has this been more prevalent than today.  Everyone is cleaning their hands repeatedly per day, making sure surfaces are wiped down, etc. due to this COVID pandemic.  Just like in every day life, cleaning is also required in the industrial field.


Working with hard, non-absorbent materials such as metals and plastics often results in needing to get the materials cleaned.  What can contaminate these surfaces you ask?  Well, a myriad of things can cause you to require cleaning.  Contaminates can include dust, dirt, oils, rust, fungus, algae, grease, bacteria, lime scale, fingerprints, compounds, flux agents and so on. 


Latem offers varies cleaning methods but today we will focus on ultrasonic cleaning.


Ultrasonic cleaning has been around since the 1950’s and has been used industrially for decades, particularly to clean small intricate parts and to accelerate surface treatment processes. 


Ultrasonic cleaning is a process that uses high-frequency sound waves transmitted through liquid to scrub clean the surface of immersed parts. It can clean using just water, however, use of solvents appropriate for the object to be cleaned and the type of contamination present enhances the effect.  The high-frequency sound waves agitate the liquid solution of water or solvent, and this agitation produces high forces on contaminants adhering to substrates like metals, plastics, glass, rubber, and ceramics. This action also penetrates blind holes, cracks, and recesses. The intention is to thoroughly remove all traces of contamination tightly adhering or embedded onto solid surfaces.  Ultrasonic cleaning can be used for a wide range of workpiece shapes, sizes and materials, and may not require the part to be disassembled.


Industrial ultrasonic cleaners are used in the automotive, sporting, printing, marine, medical, pharmaceutical, electroplating, disk drive components, engineering and weapons industries.


Do you have something you need cleaned?  Give Latem an opportunity!

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Can burnishing help you?

Burnishing is a method of polishing and hardening the surface of a part.  Latem Industries Limited burnishes parts through the process of ball burnishing.  In this process, the part is brought into contact with steel balls.  The harder burnishing  balls run against the surface of the softer part, evening out microscopic peaks and valleys.  This reduces the roughness average or RA, while hardening the surface and producing a shiny finish.   While other processes can chip away at the surface, burnishing uses the tendency of metals to deform under stress.  This process in known as cold flow.  It results in a smooth texture and a shiny surface with superior strength. 



Metals that are commonly burnished include brass,  bronze, aluminum, stainless steel and copper.  Burnishing is often used to finish automotive parts such as pistons and transmissions parts.  It is also widely used in non-automotive parts such as plumbing fixtures and valves.  Decorative parts as well as jewelry are often burnished for the high shine it generates.


As mentioned, burnishing does more than just polish and shine.   By condensing the structure of the metal, it increased hardness.  A burnished part can range from 50%-100% harder than an unfinished part.  This also makes it more resistant to fatigue failure, as well as offering increased corrosion resistance.  In addition to increasing the visual of the part, it can also remove small surface imperfections. 


Can burnishing help you?  Give Latem a chance to shine! Contact us today.

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Plastisol Coating for Farmers

We're not farmers, and it might be a bit of a stretch perhaps, to say that we are in the ag business, but we do serve a number of agricultural manufacturers. And that number is growing in leaps, both with our coatings, and on the other side of our plant, in metal finishing at Latem Industries.



What We Do

Plastico Industries has been a preferred tier 2/3 supplier to the automotive market for many years. If there is one thing working with this large group has taught us, it is the need to be versatile, to constantly challenge ourselves, and to be ready to react, and even more importantly, to be proactive. It is this way of thinking that drove us into unchartered territory when we made a significant investment in 2016, a new plastisol coating line.


We'd already been working with plastisol since well before the turn of the century, however, not with a line of this magnitude. We had been in discussions with a local playground recreation company for a number of years. This new line would deliver everything this customer needed, and, with significant capacity still left over, would also open new potential for us. Some might say it was a bit of a risk, but we believe it was one well worth taking.


In the movie Field of Dreams, Kevin Costner turns his crops into a full sized baseball field due to a recurring message from above, that tells him "if you build it they will come." 'They' refers to ghosts of the 1919 Red Sox. He built it, they came, great movie!


We didn't hear any voices, however, we did believe that if we built it, they would come. We have yet to be disappointed, as not only have we broken new ground in the recreation business, but our appetite for more has also taken us to the farming community.



Perfect for the Pig Pen


What makes this line of particular interest to the farming community is that it is the perfect coating for flooring often found in swine operations. Our high durometer, food grade plastisol provides a solid, yet considerably softer coating to the bare iron grate floors. It also warmer to the touch, and provides more comfort than bare, or even powder coated steel. 


Plastico Industries uses a primer that bonds the plastisol securely to the substrate, providing further protection from wear, peeling and chipping. Our plastisol is also resistant to a wide variety of liquids, fluids and chemicals, which also makes for easier clean-up.


Chickens Love Us Too

One other pleasant surprise with the capacity of our new line is out ability to work with the poultry industry. From cage flooring to boundary screens, Plastico Industries has had the distinct benefit of working with manufacturers we might not have seen just a few years ago.


Welcome to Our Barn

The agriculture and automotive industries continue to be two of the most significant players in Canada's economy. While Plastico has forever been a preferred supplier in the car business, it is a welcome feather in our cap to be part, or a much bigger part, of the farming business.


Our barn is centrally located, just off of the 401 in Cambridge, and within our operation, you'll find several coating lines, not just in plastisol, but also a black paint line as well as a nylon dip and spray operation.


One major benefit in working with Plastico Industries, is our complete pre-prep services, available through Latem Industries, our parent company, conveniently located at the other end of our plant. From shot blasting for surface preparation to washing and vibratory finishing, we offer the distinct benefit of working with a single-source supplier.


Visit us at for more information.



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We are excited to share that we have recently purchased more equipment to offer even more services to our customers. 


Latem Industries Limited will be installing several new shot blasting/shot peening equipment over the next couple of months.  These machines will allow us to widen our services in ceramic media blasting, directional blasting as well as tube and pipe blasting.


Shot blasting is a set of technical processes designed to remove various impurities from metal surfaces. We use it to clean contaminants like dirt and oil from mass quantities of parts at once. It’s also a highly efficient method of removing metal oxides like rust or mill scale.


Shot blasting is an important step in preparing metal parts for painting, powder coating or other coating methods that require a clean surface in order to adhere. It is practically mandatory in many industries, including the automotive, metal manufacturing, aviation, shipbuilding industries, as well as foundries and the production of welded structures.


Latem Industries utilizes various methods to meet our customers’ specific shot blasting requirements. Here are a list of blasting options at Latem:


1. Tumble Blasting


Tumble blast machines are comprised of either a rubber or steel belt that’s driven within an enclosed blasting cabinet. Metal components are placed into the blasting cabinet in batches, where they are continuously impacted by one or more high-pressure streams of abrasive materials (called shot or blasting media.) 


We can vary the type, shape, size and density of the abrasive materials to achieve different results. The metal abrasives we utilize in tumble blasting include steel grit, steel shot and glass bead.  One of the new machines currently going in will incorporate ceramic media.


During the tumble blasting process, the metal components are also continuously bumping against each other to help knock off surface contaminants and defects.  Some of the advantages of this type of blasting is a consistent finish, with competitive pricing as many parts can be ran at once.



2. Index Table Blasting


Index table blast machines are comprised of a blasting chamber with a large, circular turntable and several smaller ‘satellite’ tables attached to the turntable’s surface.   The table indexes under a stream of blast media, cleaning the part.   


Index table blasting allows us to process rotationally symmetrical shapes in large batches. The operation is well-suited for components that are fragile and cannot withstand the impact of hitting against each other in a tumble blasting operation. Some of the common applications include cleaning, finishing and deburring of axles, draft shafts and gear assembles.


3. Conveyor blasters


Conveyor blasting is when the part is fixtured on a belt or hung from a hook and sent through a blast chamber.  Multiple blast wheels fire media at the part from multiple angles to ensure complete coverage.  Ideal for larger and/or longer parts.  Tooling can be built to run multiple pieces per hook, making it very efficient as well.


4. Conveyor blasters for pipe and tube


Similar to the above conveyor blaster, the part is fed through a blast chamber where multiple wheels are firing media at the part.  The difference on this line,  is that the part is rotated as it goes through the blaster to ensure 100% coverage on all sides of the part when doing shot peening.  This ensures no weak spots on the steel part.  This is another new machine that is going in over the next couple of months, furthering our abilities to help our customers.





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Edge flash formed on various molding and die castings are often removed by mass finishing equipment.  Castings are usually trimmed in a die.  The resulting thin fins and flash around the edges are removed, and radii which could not be built into the die are generated. Residual sand, cold shots and similar surface imperfections can also be removed during processing.  The type of metal, ceramic or plastic and the condition of the workpiece will determine type of media and specific process required.  Soft metallic or resin bonded media are usually preferred for processing zinc and soft aluminum castings, with buffered liquid compounds or soft abrasive compounds to avoid gouging or impingement of parts.  Metallic media or ceramic media with a low cut rate are used on harder metals, in conjunction with liquid or abrasive compounds, depending on the degree of surface refinement required.


At Latem, we employ blast deflashing and ultrasonic deflashing. 


Blast deflashing is a traditional way to deflash metal pieces. The blasting equipment sprays metal shot or grit on the part surface using high pressure and speed. The metal shot abrades flash away from parts. This method can be used for all materials and parts with a low surface appearance requirement because  deflashing process produces a rough surface. The pros of this method are that the deflashing equipment can be designed for an automatic line with a transport belt. It also can be used as a manual spray gun. The flexibility of this method makes it suitable for mass production and small handling. The con to this method is that it may not be suitable for parts with a high aesthetic surface requirement due to its strong abrasion of the part surface.


Ultrasonic vibration deflashing comes from ultrasonic cleaning technology. The ultrasonic energy generated by an ultrasonic generator is transmitted to mechanical energy that forces water into a very high vibration mode that, in turn, deflashes the part.


The ultrasonic vibration method is suitable for metal as well as plastic components. It is not appropriate for rubber material because of the material’s toughness. The benefit of this method, is that the deflashing effect for plastic materials shows good deflashing results without damaging the part surface. The disadvantage is that it has issues with some materials (rubber), and in some cases is not strong enough to remove the wanted flash. 


To recap:


Blasting deflashing is an effective and efficient method for parts with low surface quality requirements. It can be used for all types of materials. Ultrasonic vibration deflashing is an efficient and comparatively economic way to deflash. It can be used for metal and plastic parts that are not too soft.


To learn more about blasting deflashing, please contact us.

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What is Nylon?

Nylons have been around since the early 1940's and were the first commercially successful synthetic thermoplastic polymers. Nylon falls under the category of polyamides which include both natural substances (silk) and synthetic materials (thermoplastics). Due to their characteristics, nylon is widely used in such fields as Aerospace, Automotive, Medical and many others. In 3D printing, nylon has become the most widely used material. As for the numbers that follow the abbreviation PA (which stands for Polyamide), it simply indicates the number of carbon atoms in the material.  Nylon powder coating is widely used to protect a variety of metal substrates such as steel and aluminum.  It is applied either electrostatically or in a fluid bed.  It protects a wide variety of applications from corrosion to impact and abrasion. 

What are PA11, Nylon PA12  made from?


Nylon PA11 is a fine bioplastic polyamide powder. The material is among the rare bio-based engineering plastics made out of renewable raw materials derived from vegetable oil, mainly castor oil. It is produced by Arkema, under the trade name Rilsan, from castor beans.


Unlike PA11, Nylon PA12 is a synthetic whitish fine powder derived mainly from petroleum sources. Nylon PA12 has many manufacturers which include Arkema and Evonik, whereas PA11 is only manufactured by Arkema.


What are the properties of PA11?


PA11 has properties quite similar to Nylon PA12. However, PA11 has a lower environmental impact, consumes less non-renewable resources to be produced, and has superior thermal resistance. Indeed, PA11 is stable to light, UV, and weather. It is also characterized by good elasticity, high elongation at break and high impact resistance. Moreover, it has an excellent resistance to chemicals, especially hydrocarbons, aldehydes, ketones, alcohols, fuels, detergents, oils, fats, mineral bases, and salts.

What about Nylon PA12?


Nylon PA12, on the other hand, is exceptionally strong even when temperatures dip below freezing. It is characterized by high strength, stiffness, strong resistance to cracking under stress, and an excellent long-term constant behavior. Furthermore, with a lower concentration of amides (nitrogen-containing organic compounds) than any other commercially available polyamide, Nylon PA12 absorbs very little moisture, has an excellent resistance to chemicals including hydraulic fluids, oil, fuels, grease, salt water, and solvents, dampens noise and vibration, and is highly processable.


What are their typical applications?


Nylon is the material of choice for the most demanding applications due largely to its unique combination of thermal, physical, chemical and mechanical properties.   The result is an outstanding cost to performance ratio.  Another unique quality of Nylon is that it meets autoclave requirements, making it ideal for the medical industry.


As mentioned earlier, it can be applied via electrostatic and fluid bed methods.  Latem uses both methods.  


When we apply our Nylon coating electrostatically we spray the part with a dry powder that is fluidized with air and then is post cured. Electrostatic Spray is generally applied at a thickness ranging from 1.5 – 15 mils (thousandths of an inch).  


The Fluid Bed Nylon coating is applied through a dip process where the part is preheated and dipped into a dry powder that is fluidized with air and then post cured. Fluid Bed vinyl is generally applied at a thickness ranging from 5 to 40 mils (thousandths of an inch). Typical coating application temperatures are usually in the range of 180°C to 250 °C (360 to 480 °F).


Nylon based powders are recommended for both interior and exterior applications.


To find out how we can help, please contact us.

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What is the difference between shot blasting and shot peening?


Shot blasting is used primarily to improve a surface finish, whether that improvement means removing rust or preparing a part for coating. Shot peening is used primarily to remove residual stresses from a part, therefore strengthening it, and enhancing the shelf life.


Shot blasting or peening Stainless Steel?


Parts can be blasted with glass, ceramic, organic material, plastic and steel media.  All the different media’s have their pros and cons.  However, if the process or specification requires steel shot to blast or peen the stainless steel, oxidization/rusting will occur afterwards on the stainless steel part. 



You would think that stainless steel is exactly that – stainless.  What makes stainless steel stainless? In a word, chrome. Stainless steel is an alloy of iron with a minimum of 10.5 percent chromium. Chromium produces a thin layer of oxide on the surface of the steel—the “passive” layer—that prevents surface corrosion.  When shot blasting/peening with a steel media, the carbon steel media used embeds contaminants into the stainless steel.    Unprotected carbon steel rusts when exposed to air and moisture. This iron oxide film (rust) is “active” and accelerates corrosion by making it easier for more iron oxide to form. 


One way to eliminate this issue, is to blast/peen the stainless parts with stainless steel media.  By doing this, no contaminants are embedded into the stainless part, and thus, no rusting.  However, only stainless steel parts can be blasted in stainless steel media.  Should you blast a carbon steel part in stainless steel media, you will contaminate your media, which will in turn contaminate future stainless parts.  Stainless steel media is very expensive in comparison to carbon steel media, so most mass finishers do not have machines loaded with stainless steel media, and if they do, the price reflects this as they are limited in the jobs they can run in that machine.


Another method to solve this issue is passivation.  In stainless steel, passivation means removing the free iron from the surface of the metal using an acid solution to prevent rust. When the surface iron is removed, the other components of the alloy (primarily chromium, often nickel as well) are left behind as a surface layer over the underlying steel. Upon exposure to air, these elements react with oxygen to form an oxide layer that protects the rest of the steel from corrosion. solutions, bleach or salt (oceanic environments) all will contribute to the need for passivation of the stainless steel.


Call Latem for your stainless steel shot blasting or peening.  We are the experts. 


Click to get in touch.

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