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Five Steps to Prepare Metal Parts for Coating

prepare metal parts for coating

 

When given the proper protective coating, metal parts can function more effectively and last much longer. However, before the coating process can start, an important preliminary procedure is necessary. As the effectiveness of the coating depends greatly on the quality of the surface, not performing pre-treatment means the surface is in less-than-optimal shape. That leaves the metal open to corrosion, adhesion, flash rusting, weld pullaway, and impact resistance issues, the very problems that proper coating prevents. Here are five common pre-treatment steps to prepare metal parts for coating.

 

Disassembly

 

Many different types of parts pass through our facility every year. Some are single pieces, while others consist of several different components. In most cases, the latter requires disassembly, because the coating process will not benefit each part (or could even damage some).

 

Cleaning

 

Just as you would not paint a dirty surface in your home, some parts need to undergo cleaning before coating begins. Pressure washing and ultrasonic cleaners are very effective methods. Extra care is necessary when using cleaning solutions as some metals are especially sensitive. Exposure to the wrong chemicals can create damage that is not visible to the naked eye, but serious enough to compromise both the coating process and the life/utility of the part.

 

Our sister company, Plastico Industries, uses proprietary cleaning compounds that produce excellent results, while also being environmentally friendly.

 

Stripping

 

Even after cleaning, it may be necessary to perform this additional step to ensure an entirely clean surface. Some parts are not new and already have remnants of a previous coating still on them. It is necessary to strip any remaining bits of paint, plastic or another form of finish before applying the new coating. Failure to do so means the new layer will not properly adhere.

 

Outgassing

 

The idea is to make sure you reach bare metal before the coating process begins; outgassing is another way to achieve this. It is not obligatory for all parts, but ones made of cast aluminum or cast iron tend to be more porous. That can allow oil and other contaminants to get inside. Applying the coat with those materials still present undermines the part’s ability to perform and last the expected lifespan.

 

Outgassing involves baking the part in an oven at a temperature that causes the oils to burn off. There is often some smoke generated as a result.

 

Shot Blasting and Shot Peening

 

Shot blasting involves the high-speed projection of steel shot at the material chosen for coating. The shot permeates the surface, and this dislodges the foreign matter. The blasting media used varies depending on the type of metal being treated and the desired finish.

 

Shot peening will also clean the surface of parts scheduled for coating. With this process, the shot performs the same function as a ball-peen hammer. Both of these processes have the added benefit of strengthening the metal, thus reducing the likelihood of corrosion, cracking, and stress failure.

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What is the Difference Between Shot Blasting and Shot Peening?

difference between shot blasting peening

 


Shot blasting and shot peening are common processes in the manufacturing world. If the industry uses metal parts, chances are it relies on shot blasting and peening to make things work.

 

What is the difference between shot blasting and shot peening? While similar, the two are distinct processes with different goals. Read on to learn what sets them apart.

 

What is Shot Blasting?

 

Manufactured metal parts aren't ready for use right out of the mould. They often need a coat of paint, powder coating, or welding work. But before this can happen, the surface of the metal part must be clean.

 

Shot blasting prepares metal parts for further processing like painting or powder coating. This step is necessary to ensure the coat adheres properly to the part. Shot blasting can clean off contaminants like dirt or oil, remove metal oxides like rust or mill scale, or deburr the surface to make it smooth.

 

How Shot Blasting Works

 

Shot blasting involves shooting a high-pressure stream of abrasive material (also known as shots or blasting media) against the surface of a metal part. Depending on the application, the shots may be propelled by a pressured fluid (like compressed air) or a centrifugal wheel (known as wheel blasting).

 

The shape, size and density of the shots will determine the final results. Types of metal abrasives used in shot blasting include steel grit, copper shots, and aluminum pellets. Other methods of shot blasting use silica sand, glass beads, synthetic materials like sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), and even agricultural materials like crushed kernels.

 

What is Shot Peening?

 

To explain shot peening, one must first understand the general notion of peening. It is possible to strengthen the material properties of metal by applying stress to its surface. This expands the surface of the metal, creating a layer of compressive stress and relieving tensile stress in the piece.


Working the surface of metal to increase its strength is called peening. The traditional method involves striking the metal with a ball-peen hammer, which is inefficient in a large-scale manufacturing setting. Today, most industries employ mechanical shot peening instead.

 

How Shot Peening Works

 

Shot peening and shot blasting both involve shooting a stream of material against the part's surface. The biggest difference between shot blasting and shot peening is the end result. Shot blasting uses abrasives to clean or smooth the surface to prepare it for processing; shot peening uses the plasticity of metal to prolong the life of the part.

 

In shot peening, each shot acts as a ball-peen hammer. The process makes the surface of the metal part stronger and more resistant to cracks, fatigue, and corrosion. Manufacturers can also use shot peening to give the piece a textured surface.

 

Like with shot blasting, the choice of shot depends on the application. Shot peening usually involves steel, ceramic, or glass shots. The material is reusable, making it an efficient and cost-effective process for strengthening metal parts.

 

Shot blasting and shot peening are both critical steps in the metal manufacturing process. Often, a part will undergo both before it’s ready for use.

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5 Metal Manufacturing Flaws Vibratory Finishing can Fix

Metal fabrication and manufacturing has come a long way. Today, we have technology capable of cutting, bending, and assembling huge quantities of metal parts for thousands of applications.

 

However, despite much refining over the years, manufacturing processes are not flawless. Metal parts often come off the line with problems in the form of sharp edges, rough surfaces, and protruded metal burrs in corners and edges.

 

These are some of the metal manufacturing flaws vibratory finishing can fix.

 

metal finishing 2

 

Metal Burrs

 

Some burrs are too small to see with the naked eye, or fix manually. While these flaws don’t necessarily render a part non-functional, they can compromise both the integrity and appearance of the part. Other burrs are large and firmly attached to the piece, requiring aggressive mechanical force to remove.

 

There are three main types of metal burrs vibratory finishing can fix:

 

  1. Roll-over burr: One of the most prominent types of burrs, a roll-over burr is an unwanted piece of material at the end of a cut. Roll-over burrs form when material is pushed out of the tool’s path instead of being sheared off. They are more likely to occur on pliable or ductile metals, like copper, especially when the cutting edge is dull.
  2. Poisson burr: Named for Poisson’s ratio, a Poisson burr occurs when metal bulges outward under the strain of the cutting tool, creating a raised edge rather than a smooth cut. It often appears when turning or drilling a piece.
  3. Tear burr: As the name implies, a tear burr is material that tears loose from the workpiece. A dull blade is a common culprit of tear burrs, as the metal wraps around the dull corner and tears. Tear burrs most often occur in punching operations.

 

Vibratory finishing finds the metal parts processed in a bowl or tub along with an abrasive media (ceramic, plastic, or steel). As the machine vibrates, the media continuously rubs against the part to remove the burrs. Since it does not involve barrel tumbling, vibratory finishing is ideal for softer metals.

 

Roughness

 

Rough surfaces on metal parts are more difficult to clean than smooth ones. Additionally, if the part needs any kind of surface treatment (such as plating, paint, or chemical coating), it will require more material to achieve the desired coating thickness. Vibratory finishing can smooth out the surface for a burnished finish, almost resembling the appearance of polished metal.

 

Sharp Edges

 

Shearing metal often produces sharp points or edges. These areas can pose a hazard to the people who handle the parts, especially when working in close quarters and high-traffic areas. Sharp corners of conductive metals also tend to concentrate electrical charge, increasing the risk of the part creating unwanted static discharge. Vibratory finishing breaks these edges to create a uniform finish that is easier to handle and less prone to malfunction.

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5 Ways to Remove Sharp Edges and Burrs from Metal Parts

In an industrial setting, metal pieces aren’t always ready for use right off the assembly line. Deburring is a necessary step in the manufacturing process for many metal components. There are a number of ways to remove sharp edges and burrs from metal parts, including vibratory finishing and barrel tumbling.

 

What is Metal Deburring?

 

Manufacturers employ a variety of machining operations to turn metal blanks into useable parts. These methods, which include welding, milling, grinding, shearing, and engraving, often leave the seams and edges of metal parts with rough edges or protrusions of material. These imperfections are known as burrs, and the process of removing them is called deburring.

 

In addition to being unsightly, metal burrs have a negative impact on the safety, functionality, and overall quality of the parts. Small notches can cause moving parts to catch, increasing the chance for accidents or unnecessary production delays. Sharp edges pose a safety hazard to both workers and end consumers who handle the parts. The presence of burrs can also interfere with the application of other finishing processes, such as powder coating and electroplating.

 

Left alone, metal burrs can create potentially costly issues for manufacturers. Metal deburring is essential to ensure the quality and functionality of metal parts.

 

 

Ways to Remove Sharp Edges and Burrs

 

There are many processes for metal deburring. Five of the most common deburring methods are manual deburring, electromechanical deburring, thermal deburring, vibratory finishing, and barrel tumbling.

 

  1. Manual deburring: A skilled craftsperson can remove burrs by hand using specialized manual deburring tools. Manual deburring is flexible and cost-effective, but it requires a significant investment of time, making it unsuitable for finishing a large quantity of parts.
  2. Thermal energy method: Also known as the thermal deburring, this method uses a combustive reaction to burn away burrs in a sealed chamber. Thermal deburring can quickly target burrs on multiple surfaces and many pieces at once.
  3. Electromechanical deburring: Metal burrs can be dissolved using an electrical current combined with a salt or glycol solution. Electromechanical deburring is useful for small, precision pieces that require deburring in hard-to-reach places.
  4. Vibratory finishing: For softer metals parts, vibratory finishing is a less aggressive but highly efficient deburring method. Vibratory finishing involves placing the part in a rotating barrel or vibrating bowl along with a mix of liquid and abrasive components, such as ceramic, plastic, or steel finishing media. As the machine rotates, the media continuously rubs against the part in a corkscrew motion to remove sharp edges and other metal imperfections.
  5. Barrel tumbling: The parts are placed in a tumbling barrel, which rotates at high speed to brush the pieces together and achieve the desired finish. In addition to deburring, barrel tumbling can be used to de-flash, de-scale, clean, or remove rust from metal parts.

Choosing a Deburring Method

 

Each metal deburring method has advantages and drawbacks depending on the type of metal, the size and shape of the component, and the finish you desire.

 

Manual deburring is rarely feasible in a large-scale industrial setting. Where a manufacturer machines hundreds or thousands of parts each day, vibratory finishing and barrel tumbling are often the most efficient and effective way of removing sharp edges and deburring. By choosing the proper method and the correct deburring media, you can clean or deburr a massive number of parts in a relatively short period.

 

Latem Industries is a trusted mass metal finisher for industries across Ontario. We’ll help you choose the deburring method that best suits your needs.

 

 

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40 Years of Mass Metal Finishing

This November, Latem Industries in Cambridge, Ontario will celebrate 40 years in the mass finishing business. We think this deserves a trophy of sorts, especially since trophies are what got us into this business in the first place.

 

The family had a trophy and awards business in London, Ontario and was in need of a supplier to do some polishing. With little luck in finding a potential suitor, it became a project they took on themselves. Today, Latem services Ontario's manufacturing community with problem solving soltutions in everything from burr removal to surface conditioning, corrosion removal and polishing. And because a vast majority of the work we do is for the automotive sector, we understand the need for 'super duper' quick turnaround times.

 

As proud as we may be of our 40 Year Anniversary, we are equally proud, and perhaps moreso, of some of the people who have been with us for nearly as long. Take Sue for example, celebrating 33 years in a Latem uniform in 2017. Sue runs our floor and helps to determine many of our processes.

 

Lisa is our Materials Supervisor. She has been keeping the wheels moving in both logistics and scheduling for 31 years.

 

Mike has been with Latem for close to 30 years and Chris and Reg have been Latem operators for more than a quarter century.

 

For any business to make it to their 40th Anniversary is something worth celebrating. But to have thrived in an industry that has taken multiple beatings over the years, and still come out on top, is quite a milestone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Polishing Through Mass Finishing

In our business, if you stand still to long, you'll miss what's going on around you, and because things move so quickly, catching up is next to impossible.

 

Latem Industries prides itself in being a company who refuses to rest on its laurels. This is evident by the investments we've made over the years to develop new processes. One of those is a piece of polishing equipment we put on our floor a few years back.

 

 

 

Our high speed barrel tumbler is designed to move volumes of smaller parts through a multiple stage finishing process, and deliever a mirror finish, even from a raw casting. Parts are processed with incredible centrigual force, in a compact barrel, mixed with media. The end result is not only very impressive, but consistent, a luxury not often found through hand polishing.

 

Latem Industries has been working parts to a bright finish since we first opened our doors in 1977. As a matter of fact, it was this very need, a bright finish for small awards pieces in the family trophy business, that got us our start. Since then, we have been putting the shine to millions of parts every year through both our vibratory and tumbling departments.

 

Our newer high speed barrel tumbling unit is a little more specialized. It allow us to break the edges of a part, smoothen it out, and work it to a glossy, mirror finish. If the perfect shine is not what you need, no problem, because we have dozens of other finishing processes to deliver the right results.

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Shopping Carts

Shopping carts are big business in North America! According to research, a new cart can run a tab as high as $400 for a retailer. Multiply that figure, sometimes by the hundreds, for a single big box store, and the overall numbers can be staggering.

 

Equally astonishing, is the lack of care that we as consumers show these carts. Many of us don't give a second thought when returning carts to their holding area, if indeed, we return them at all. It appears, in many cases, to make no difference to us at all if they jam inside one another, or even if we leave them out in the middle of a parking lot. Though we may not seem to care, each destroyed or abandoned cart is big dollars, and in the end affects our grocery bills.

 

 

Luckily, for the North American retailer, there are a few companies out there who have taken notice and come up with a simple solution to cut back on the number of carts that simply get tossed. And this is where Latem Industries comes in. We aren't the superhero in this story, but our customer(s) is. If they're Batman, we're Robin, or perhaps even Robin's half brother.

 

Over the last few years we have had the pleasure of working with a number of new customers outside of our traditional automotive comfort zone. The 'Batman' in this story has set quite the reputation for themselves in the retail industry for refurbishing shopping carts. Aside from the huge environmental benefit this adds to our landfil sites, there is a big financial benefit to our nations retailers, who can purchase a refurbished cart for a fraction of the cost of new.

 

Our role in this as Batman's assistant is to simply clean up the carts, removing lose and unwanted contaminants from the surface before they are re-coated. Latem Industries works very closely with a few other sub contractors to ensure efficient results.

 

We often talk in our blog about the beauty of being at the hub of Canada's automotive manufactuing community. We'd be foolish not to appreciate how central our location is, but we would also like to comment on how fortunate we are, to have many other top quality non-automotive customers to work with. And it doesn't stop with the customers. Some of the other suppliers that we work with hand-in-hand, to support the same customer, are also top shelf.

 

We're certainly not trying to encourage this, but repeated abuse means that over time, these carts are no longer fit for customer use. We have a few customers who buy back these 'abused' carts, refurbish them, and put them back into circulation. This is where we come in, we're part of the refurbishment program.

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What is Mass Finishing

Latem Industries is a mass metal finishing company, one of the best, and easily one of the largest in all of North America. It's a bold statement, but we are confident in its authenticity. We're celebrating 40 years of 'problem solving' in 2017.

 

 

We say problem solving, because essentially that is what we do, solve problems often found in the manufacturing industry. Rather than manufacture our own definition of mass finishing, we'll refer to Wikipedia..."Mass finishing is a group of manufacturing processes that allow large quantities of parts to be simultaneously finished. The goal ....is to wash, burnish, deburr, clean, radius, de-flash, descale, remove rust, polish, brighten, surface harden, prepare parts for further finishing, or break off die cast runners."

 

We couldn't say it better ourselves, as we work to accomplish all of the above on a daily basis for hundreds of customers, from automotive manufacturers to smaller CNC and custom machine shops. Our processes are designed to handle massive volumes of parts in a single load, which means better efficiencies for our customers.

 

Tumbling and Vibratory Finishing

Our finishing techniques includes barrel tumbling and vibratory finishing, both of which require a cyclical movement to create an abrasive environment for the parts in the process. Depending on the desired outcome, either a part on part, or a part with media process is used. Other additives such as water, soaps and rust inhibitors are added in the process, and cycle times can vary from fifteen minutes to as much as five hours.

 

Shot Blasting and Peening

Latem Industries also performs both shot blasting and shot peening operations, a process by which minute particles of steel pebbles are thrown at a substrate, at incredibly high speeds. Blasting is used to remove rust, scale and other unwanted foreign materials, while Peening pounds the steel, making it stronger.

 

Parts Washing

 

Dirty parts are just another problem that Latem Industries offers solutions for. We use both a drum washing process and an ultrasonic bath to deliver cleaner parts. Whether it's dirt, oils, rust or even some greases, our equipment and our experience are more than up to the task.

 

In our business, achieving the right result is as much an art as it is a science. The random action within our processing requires constant supervision and interaction to ensure the target is achieved.

 

To find out more on how we can be of service to your manufacturing operation, simply visit our website at www.latem.com

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Mass Finishing is Just Another Day in the Park

One of Latem Industries most cherished customers is also one of the top manufacturers of site furnishings, designing, and building everything from outdoor garbage cans and park benches to outdoor fitness equipment.

 

Green spaces all over North America have been significantly enhanced by their outdoor configurations, and to know that we at Latem Industries in Cambridge, have helped to finish many of these products is quite satisfying. It certainly makes that 'just another day in the park' more than just a metaphor.

 

 

We've Set the Benchmark in Mass Finishing

Latem Industries has been in the finishing business since 1977. It all started for us when the family, then based in London, Ontario, was looking for ways to polish up their trophies and awards pieces. Demand grew quickly, as the need for mass metal finishing became apparent. 

 

It wasn't long before a second business was formed, outside of trophies and awards, and the name Latem (metal spelled backwards) was born. From London, the business was moved to Waterloo, Ontario, and then to our current home, a shared 80,000sqft facility (with our sister company, Plastico Industries) right along the shoulder of the 401 in Cambridge.

 

Today, we have dozens of pieces of equipment, specializing in everyting from shot blasting and peening, to vibrabory finishing, tumbling, washing and ultrasonic cleaning. Our combined Latem services pump out millions of parts each week, the majority of those for the automotive industry.

 

But it's not just cars we work on. As this blog suggests, we see many, and continue to see even more, non-automotive categories.

 

Canada's Most Versatile Shot Blasting Service

Latem Industries uses tumbles blasters, hang lines, table and spin blasters and a large belt blaster to keep parts moving through our blast department. This allows us to offer our customers a number of finishing alternatives, and because each machine is set up differently, each delivers a different result, at a different price point, meaing we have the benefit of finding the most efficient finishing solution.

 

While our equipment sets us apart from other suppliers, it is our people who truly make the difference. Latem uses a team of full time operators, many whom have been with us for 10, 20, even thirty years, to process your parts. It simply means we rely on knowledge and proven expereince to get the job done.

 

Kinda makes that day in the park all the more enjoyable.

 

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Latem Scores with Canada’s Premier Hockey Suppliers

Latem has had the pleasure of rubbing elbows with some of the most influential and interesting manufacturers in Ontario. While most represent the automotive industry, we’ve had the opportunity to step into quite a few different arenas, including that of our national pastime.

 

We Always Have Our Game Face On

 

One of our customers supports Canada’s game with an impressive line-up of hockey arena supplies and services. They’re an official supplier to some of the world’s premier hockey leagues, including the NHL and AHL. You’ll find their boards and arena supplies in many of the top ice rinks in North America.

 

For anyone with a fondness for the game, stepping inside their showroom makes you feel like a kid in a candy store. Almost makes you wanna lace up for the nearest big-league tryouts!

 

 

 

Taking Our Best Shot

 

We kicked off our relationship with this customer by providing shot blast services for their staple product: large, fabricated channels used to hold hockey boards in place. Shot blasting is a crucial step in furnishing a better surface for coating adhesion.

 

These pros already had a system in place (one that’s highly respected in the world of professional hockey), but they put their trust in Latem Industries to further enhance their product. That’s a bit of a feather in our cap!

 

The company also supplies professional goalie nets. Latem Industries has had the privilege of placing our stamp on quite a few nets, so to speak, by providing shot blasting as a preparation service before the nets are coated.

 

Always ready for a challenge, our team clearly stepped up to the plate (oops, wrong game!) and delivered winning results for a champion customer. We understood their expectations, took our best shot, and achieved a win-win for both teams.

 

Score Big With the Right Mass Finishing Service

 

We often talk about how Latem Industries is all about ‘putting out fires’ for our customers. And while that is a majority of our business, there are a number of instances where our services just make life better for clients. The one simple step we add at Latem makes for a much better product in the marketplace.

 

An abrasive blast process is all but mandatory before coating because it strips imperfections from the surface and creates a much cleaner substrate. This allows the protective coating to fully bond to the surface. Conversely, an improperly-prepared surface will often flake or peel early on, which is nothing less than an invitation for corrosion.

 

Shot blasting and peening is just one of many finishing services we provide. Our customers also call on us for ultrasonic cleaning and parts washing, barrel tumbling, deburring, and vibratory services. Everything we do here at Latem Industries is about supplying the perfect finish for our customers, and we can back up that claim not only by the volume of parts we see, but by the number of repeat customers.

 

We’ve been at this game for 40 years, and we continue to be highly motivated to provide solutions to the manufacturing process. Looking back at the parts we’ve seen and continue to see, it’s encouraging to know our solutions are the real deal.

 

Sure, we love the game of hockey as much as the next Canadian (some might question our patriotism if we didn’t!) But we’ll admit that part of the fun is watching the pros play in an arena that may have Latem’s finishing touch.

 

Pretty cool, eh?

 

 

 

 

 

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Tim Keane
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February 22, 2018
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