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What is Isotropic Finishing?

In the mass finishing world, isotropic finishing refers to a component’s surface showing little or no imperfections such as grinding marks, burrs, peaks or valleys.  Webster’s definition reads “exhibiting properties with the same values when measured along axes in all directions.

 

Why is this smooth surface important?  Well, two of the main factors that affect a components lifespan are friction and wear, so by reducing these factors increases the parts life cycle and reduces cost.Sample parts being finished.

 

There are many different methods of Isotropic Finishing.  It can be done by blasting, lapping and electropolishing.  However, the most common methods are done via vibratory and centrifugal barrel processes.  At Latem Industries Limited, we offer both vibratory finishing and centrifugal barrel equipment to achieve the required results. 

 

Vibratory processes involve submerging a part into a bowl or u-tub, along with media, water and compounds.  Media can consist of ceramic, steel, plastic…even walnut shells or corn cob.  The friction created by the media rubbing against the parts, along with the chemical accelerants/compounds creates a smooth surface.

 

Centrifugal Barrel processes use the same medias as vibratory finishing.  The difference with this machine is it uses a rapid rotation/g forces to finish the parts with a smooth surface. 

 

Manufacturing processes inherently creates stress risers and vibratory finishing reduces or removes them.  Vibratory finishing and centrifugal barrel equipment both provide a repeatable process that leaves the component with a non-directional, uniform finish at competitive pricing.

 

Many industries benefit from Isotropic finishing.  Medical/dental, automotive, OEM, aerospace, firearm, military and agricultural are but a few.  Let Latem Industries help you with your Isotropic Finishing requirements. Contact us today for more infomration.

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Surface Finishing – Deflashing

One of the most common occurring casting defects, as well as with injection molding, is flash.

 

Flash, also known as casting fin or burrs, is any unwanted and excess material attached to a cast. It’s typically a thin sheet of metal that forms at the parting faces.

 

Causes of flash, fin and burrs

 

Flash on the casting surface is due to a crack or gap on the core surface. Insufficient weight on the mold or improper clamping of the flask can lead to a gap.

Flash can vary from minor to very serious. If it’s not too serious, manufacturers can remove flash by breaking it off with a hammer or pliers and filing it down to the parting line. However, this can be a costly process, involving labour and time that were not built into the piece price. 

 

Latem Industries Limited uses mass finishing technologies to remove flash, fin and burrs in a time effective, cost-efficient method.   Various methods are used depending on the material and geometry of the part.

 

Latem offers barrel finishing, tub vibrators, vibratory bowls, centrifugal finishers as well as tumble and conveyor blasting as a means to remove flashing.  This array of equipment allows us to process many different base materials as well as shapes, in our assistance with flash removal.

 

Zinc and aluminum cast parts usually require a soft metallic or resin bonded media, along with compounds to avoid gouging or impingement of parts.  Ceramic bonded media or metallic media are usually used on harder metal cast parts. 

 

Latem Industries Limited has been removing flashing for over 40 years.  Let us use our experience to assist you with your flash removal requirements.

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Plastisol As An Open Mold

Plastisol open molding has been used in various industries for years.  For example, it is used in the automotive industry as an alternative to over molding and encapsulation.  It is used in the marine industry for dock post covers and lures.  Equipment manufacturers use it to make specialized bushings.  Recreational industries use it to make toys, coat bicycle handles, among a variety of other things.

 

Plastisol dip coating is a process that allows a repeatable, reliable and economical coating to be applied over a metal part.  Thickness of the coating is determined by time and temperature, giving a vast array of coating thicknesses.  Colors can be matched, and many additives can be included, such as UV protection, texture, etc.

 

With plastisol open molding, a pre-designed mold is used to make an object, such as a fishing lure, toy or a grip for tools out of plastisol.  A pre-designed mold can also made and affixed to a metal piece, such as a pedal or handle. 

 

By coating a handle, such as a seat adjustment handle in a car, with an open mold of plastisol, it offers many advantages.  The “seen” portion of the handle, (the plastisol open mold) can be matched to the color of the car interior.  The plastisol open mold provides a softer surface than the metal, it is warmer to the touch and can also cover any rough or sharp edges.  The plastisol open mold can be textured as well for increased tactile sensitivity.  A major advantage is that it is usually more cost effective than over molding or an encapsulation process.

 

There are different methods of open molding plastisol.  To make handles that would slide over a tool or bicycle handle, a pre-heated mold is dipped into the plastisol.  The plastisol coats the outside of the mold and is then cured.  The plastisol is then removed from the mold, creating a plastisol image of the outer mold.  This sheath of plastisol is then slid onto the tool or bicycle handle. 

 

Another method is to pour plastisol into a mold, then cure the plastisol inside the mold.  The plastisol is then cured and removed from the mold.  This is the method used in making fishing lures, such as worms, and some toys. 

 

A further method is to incorporate an open mold with an existing metal piece.  For example, a car brake pedal is held by tooling with the function end (where it contacts the foot of the person) resting in a mold.  The mold is then filled with liquid plastisol.  The plastisol is cured, fusing the plastisol mold to the metal pedal.  The plastisol open mold is pulled out of the mold, completely fused to the metal arm of the pedal. 

 

Plastisol open molding can offer the following:

 

  •     Matte/High/Low gloss
  •     Color matching, including clear
  •     Various thicknesses
  •     Texture
  •     Foam
  •     Electrical insulation
  •     High Temperature resistance
  •     Flammability requirements
  •     Hardness variations
  •     UV Resistance

Contact Latem Industries Limited for your plastisol open molding needs.

               

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Ways to Combat Rust

Nobody wants rusty parts.  And nobody is happy when they find previously good parts are suddenly covered in rust.

 

Rust or corrosion is a significant issue in manufacturing facilities large and small, impacting resources and increasing operating costs. Rust is difficult to prevent and nearly impossible to anticipate on manufactured parts.

 

When rust occurs, leading manufacturers look to Latem Industries for metal finishing solutions. Here’s how we can help.

 

Understanding Rust

 

What is rust – the short answer?

 

Rusting is defined as the chemical process in which there is a formation of red or orange coat on the surface of the metals. Rusting is a part of corrosion.

 

Surface rust can be spotted or flaky and does not protect the underlying iron, which enables the oxide to grow. With enough time, oxygen and moisture will eventually convert an iron part entirely to rust and disintegrate it.

 

Removing Rust

 

Latem Industries offers various processes to remove rust or corrosion from processed parts.  Let’s review some of these options.

 

Shot blasting

 

Compared to performing rust removal by hand, shot-blasting is significantly faster. It can be very cost effective as well.  The rusty part must be free of any moisture or oils before shot blasting, so a pre-wash/dry may be required.  Shot blasting will remove rust and many coatings, if required, from metal parts.  However, it can damage threads, or delicate surface areas. 

 

Vibratory finishing

 

Vibratory finishing is ideal for parts and components made of softer metals that would be susceptible to distortion or stresses in a tumbling process.  Using a combination of water, media and compounds inside a vibratory bowl, the friction the parts experience removes the rust.  Once the process is complete and the rust is gone, special rust inhibitors are added to the vibratory bowl to ensure the parts and components are protected from recurring corrosion.  Again, another very cost-effective way to do many parts at once.  Part size limitations due to bowl size can be a factor.

 

Tumble barrel finishing

 

Barrel tumbling is a mass metal finishing technique that can be used to remove rust. It involves placing rusty pieces into a horizontal barrel, along with compounds and sometimes finishing media, and using centrifugal force to work a clean surface. Excellent process with smaller parts.  Media lodging can be a concern.

 

Ultrasonic

 

Ultrasonic rust removal involves placing the rusted pieces into a cavitation bath.  Using special rust removal compounds, the rust is removed from the parts.  If pitting has occurred due to the rust, this pitting will not be removed in this process.  However, the ultrasonic process is excellent for threaded, frail, or delicate parts.

 

The best process for removing rust from mass quantities of parts is often determined by the extent of the corrosion and the geometry of the part.

 

Latem Industries Limited offers each of these solutions to our customers.  If you are having issues with parts, small or large, contact Latem and let us work our magic!

 

 

 

 

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Mass Finishing

Mass finishing is the processing of parts in a machine, usually with a media, compound and water.  The movement of the machine causes friction between the media and the parts surfaces and edges, as well as friction between the parts themselves.  This process is used to remove burrs, sharp edges and corners as well as improving or altering surfaces.

 

Many different machines options are available to perform this process.  Each machine has its pros and cons.  Let’s review the most common machines.

 

Rotary Barrel or Tumbling Barrel    

              

Tumbling barrels are a common machine used in mass finishing.  Compared to other machines, they have a low initial cost, low maintenance costs as well as low operating costs.  They also are efficient in their use of media and compounds.  However, there are also some drawbacks.  They have a long process, and trained operators are essential.  Internal areas do not see the same friction as external areas.   Automation can be difficult and in-process inspection is non-existant.

 

U-Tub or Vibratory Tub

 

U-Tubs allow for much larger size options.  They normally have a shorter cycle time than barrel finishing.  In-process inspection can be performed, plus internal and external areas receive similar results.  The disadvantage of this machine is that external material handling and separation is required.

 

Vibratory Bowl

 

A vibratory bowl can be used in a continuous or batch operation, offering in-process inspection.  They are generally easier to automate and they as well produce similar results on internal and external surfaces.  Automatic separation of media and parts can be obtained.  Vibratory bowls do have some part size limitation depending on the size of the bowl.  Also, process cycles, although usually better than tumble barrels, can be long.

 

Centrifugal Disc

 

Centrifugal disc finishing’s main advantage is its ability to reduce cycle times.  Interior and exterior areas meet with similar results.  In-process inspection can be done.  These machines have high media wear rates as well as a high initial investment cost.  Also, there is part size limitations.

 

Centrifugal Barrel

 

Centrifugal Barrels are mainly used to process fragile and high precision parts.  They have a short cycle time, but often multiple cycles are required using different medias.  These barrels are excellent for small parts.  Interior and exterior finishes meet with similar results.  High mirror like finishes can be achieved using the right process.  In-process inspection is not available and they too have a high media wear rate.  Part size limitations as well as high initial investment costs are some of the issues with this type of machine.

 

Latem Industries Limited has all the machines listed above.  Our 40+ years of experience enable us to pick the right machine, media and compound to mass finish your parts in a cost efficient way with the turnaround time you require.          

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Our story started in 1977 with a small mass finishing operation. Within a few years, Latem Industries Limited expanded their finishing services with new equipment and a new location in Waterloo. Latem Highway Sign

 

At the turn of the century, owner Liam Nother, put up a 45,000 sq ft building just off Hwy 401 in Cambridge to house his coatings business, a new division of Latem; Plastico Industries. And in 2012, with Latem Industries bursting at the seams in Waterloo, an additional 35,000 sq ft was finalized on the Plastico facility, and a new home created for Latem Industries.  Plastico has since been absorbed under the Latem Industries Limited name to provide a common name for our customers and suppliers.

 

In the beginning, our collection of equipment wasn't much. Today, we offer multiple services, backed up by an array of equipment.   We offer vibratory finishing, shot blasting, shot peening, barrel tumbling, parts washing, ultrasonic cleaning, plastisol coating, vinyl coating and nylon coating.  We have a water treatment plant that would make some small communities envious, and we employ close to a hundred full time employees.

 

Our production team is comprised of an impressive number of long term lead hands, machine operators and millwrights, a few whom have celebrated more than 30 years in a Latem uniform. Up front, we keep our office lean, but assertive, focused and eager, including sales, accounting, purchasing, logistics , human resources as well as engineering and quality.

 

Our processes are well planned, part-specific and proprietary, and they are developed in partnership between our Engineers and lead hands. As determined as we are in our pursuit of perfection when creating the right process, it is our team on the floor that truly make the difference in the final product, as we feel we have the best, most qualified team in the business.

 

We service many industries, including industrial, automotive, aerospace, military, agricultural, medical, recreational and furniture in addition to others.  Latem tackles all jobs, from one off prototypes to millions of pieces per year. 

 

 

Allow Latem to assist you with a project.  You will not be disappointed.

 

Contact us today

 

 

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Why Use Plastisol Coatings

Plastisol coating is reliable, affordable and protective.

 

Plastisol coating is applied via a dip process, where a metal part is dipped into a liquid PVC coating.  The coating is quite versatile as the color can be changed, thickness can be altered, and additives can be added to assist; such as UV protection, flame retardants, textures, etc.

 

Details play an important step in applying plastisol.  Temperature, dwell time, pretreatment, immersion, withdrawal and tooling can all play a vital role.  Let’s take a brief look at each.Plastisol example

 

Temperature: Determining the temperature can greatly affect the part.  Preheating the part will increase adhesion.  Too much preheat will remove any previous coating on the part/piece such as e-coat or powder coat so care must be taken.  The plastisol dip must also be cured after heating.  Not enough heat will lead to under-cured parts, leaving the plastisol brittle.  Over-curing will burn the plastisol, again resulting in a faulty dip.  The temperature of the part being dipped also determines the thickness of the coating (along with dwell time).

 

Dwell time:  Dwell time, along with temperature will determine the thickness of the coating.

 

Pretreatment:  Having a clean surface will increase the adhesion of the plastisol as well as remove any chance of contaminating your plastisol when dipping parts.  Parts are commonly pretreated via wash, shotblasting, coatings such as powder or e-coat or primer. 

 

Immersion/Withdrawal:  A steady immersion and withdrawal speed will ensure a smooth finish.  Speed of immersion and withdrawal can also eliminate air pockets during the coating process as well as drips.

 

Tooling:  Tooling as well plays a vital role.  Proper tooling can assist in reducing hook/touch mark size, avoiding air pockets during coating, and increasing throughput.

 

Plastisol coating has numerous advantages.  By covering the metal part, it offers corrosion and chemical resistance. It can also provide thermal and electrical resistance. Plastisol coatings are used for sound reduction, as well as improving surface appearance.  Touch/feel of a part can be enhanced as well through plastisol coatings. 

 

Due to these benefits, plastisol is used in many industries.  Exercise equipment, electrical equipment as well as medical instruments use plastisol coatings.  So do agricultural, aerospace and automotive industries.   Furniture, toys and marine parts also take advantage of plastisol’s benefits.

 

Latem Industries Limited has been providing plastisol dipping and raw plastisol sales for 20 years.  Contact us and let us use our expertise to assist you in your requirements.

 

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What is Shot Peening

Most people have heard of sand blasting and some have heard of shot blasting.  Fewer yet have heard of shot peening,  but most who have incorrectly assume shot peening is the same thing.

 

Blasting, whether with shot or sand, is generally used to clean a surface, remove rust, smooth out burrs or change the appearance of a part.  Shot peening is used as a surface enhancement process that alters the surface of the object being peened.  Just like the blacksmiths of old who would hammer steel to strengthen it, shot peening uses the same method.  Media hitting the part induces residual compressive stress, improving resistance to fatigue and stress corrosion cracking. 

 

Peening is often used on parts that perform under stress, such as splines, gears and gear shafts.

 

Properly peening a part includes many factors.  Media type, size and hardness is one such factor.  Common medias include steel, cut wire, ceramic and glass.  Other factors include intensity and coverage.  Intensity is the measurement of how hard the media is contacting the surface.  This is measured with an Almen strip. Intensity can be affected by distance from the wheel/nozzle to the part, the angle the media is hitting the part, and the speed the peening media is reaching. Coverage is the amount of the surface covered with the shot peen dimples. It can be measured in different ways, but common specifications often ask for 100% coverage or 200% coverage.  The type of equipment can also be a factor.  Area of peening and/or masking will also need to be addressed.

 

The peening process is covered by many specifications — the most common one is AMS2430, which replaced Mil-S-13165. Just like a machining process, peening is a measurable, repeatable process that follows exact specifications and procedures. Most OEM shot peen specifications are based on the Mil-S-13165 and AMS2430.  This spec will list the type of shot, intensity, coverage and machine. 

 

If you have any questions or requirements for shot peening, feel free to contact us. 

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Tumble vs. Vibratory Finishing

Both methods are used in “mass finishing”.  “Mass finishing” is a fancy term used in the metal finishing industry, referring to the production of large quantities of parts at one time, thus reducing the cost per piece.  Many end results are completed by mass finishing, including rust removal, scale removal, burnishing and deburring.  It is also used for polishing/brightening surfaces.

 

TUMBLE FINISHING

 

Tumbling, or barrel finishing simulates the motion of rocks tumbling down a hill.  To get this effect, parts are placed inside a barrel along with water and compounding agents.  The barrel is rotated causing the parts to tumble upon themselves creating friction.  This friction results in the deburring of the part.  Media is often added to increase this friction, shortening cycle times/improving efficiency. 

 

VIBRATORY FINISHING

 

Vibratory finishing simulates a corkscrew effect.  To get this effect, parts are placed, along with media and compounds into a vibratory bowl.  The parts corkscrew through the media while grinding against one another, resulting in deburring and/or polishing of the mass of parts.

Various vibratory equipment is available.  There are round bowls, tubs, and flow through machines.

 

COMPARING AND CONTRASTING THE TWO MASS FINISHING TYPES

 

Both processes have their pros and cons.  Vibratory finishing is usually more automated, reducing some labor needs and costing.  Delicate parts that may be damaged in the tumbling process are normally vibratory finished.  Large parts as well, usually perform better in a vibratory setting.  It can also hold tighter tolerances.  However, vibratory finishing is usually the more expensive process due to equipment and process costs, as they wear media much quicker.

 

WE HAVE BOTH

 

At Latem Industries Limited, we have been running both processes for over 40 years.  Lean on our experience to assist you with coming up with the best, cost-effective process for your mass finishing needs.

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Nylon 11

Nylon 11 is a polyamide and bioplastic member of the nylon family of polymers.  So what exactly does that mean?  Nylon 11 is produced using castor beans and the polymerization of 11-aminoundecanoic acid…hence the name Nylon 11.  In its usable form, it is a fine powder that can be applied by dipping in a fluidized bed, or spraying.  It is extremely durable and has an array of thermoplastic characteristics.

 

Nylon 11 is 100% bio-based.  This means that it is derived from living organisms, which gives it many potential uses.  It can withstand significant impact as well as being resistant to abrasion.  On top of being an overall “tough” coating,  it is also chemical and corrosion resistant.  It also performs well in extreme temperatures, from -40F to 266F.  Nylon 11 is also excellent in sea water applications.  Tests have shown that it prevents corrosion in sea water for up to 20 years.  It has a low coefficient of friction and is not subject to UV deterioration.  It can assist with BSR (buzz, squeak, rattle) and provides a nice glossy finish.

 

Due to the many benefits of Nylon 11, it is used in many industries, including:

 

  • Automotive – clamps, brackets, connectors, brake lines, wire forms
  • Medical – catheters, forceps, defib paddles
  • Architectural – fences, railings, handles
  • Agriculture – attachments, tools, hangers
  • Marine – underwater pipes, impellors, housings
  • Industrial – Wire forms, hangers, pulleys, rollers, fans

 

Because of its impact and abrasion resistance, its chemical defense as well as its hygienic properties Nylon 11 has many uses as a metal coating.  Latem Industries Limited has been applying Nylon 11 for well over 15 years with outstanding results.

 

Interested in more information on Nylon 11?  Contact Latem Industries Limited for any questions you may have.  We will be happy to assist. 

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