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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.




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 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.




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.




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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Coated metal items


Plastisol is a PVC-type coating in plasticizing liquids. At room temperature, Plastisol is a liquid; when heated or cured, the liquid turns to a flexible, rubber-like barrier.


Once applied, Plastisol coating is practically indestructible, making it ideal for numerous high-impact applications.


Why Use Plastisol?

Plastisol coating is renowned for extreme corrosion resistance, but there is much more to it than that.


This coating is tough, making it nearly impossible to damage with impact – it will not chip or fray. Plastisol is often applied to components as a preventative measure to reduce wear or eliminate rattling. It also boasts impressive chemical resistance.


Although it is a PVC-based coating, Plastisol has a soft, almost rubberized feel. It is comfortable and easy to grip and boasts terrific sound-deadening properties. It can be used to reduce the wear on parts and eliminate rattling.


As an insulator with high dielectric strength, this coating also many electrical applications, including electrical sheathing.


How Is It Applied?

Plastisol begins as a fluid mixture of PVC particles and additives. In this non-processed liquid state, it can be poured into a mold or applied in a dipping process. Plastico Industries utilizes several carousel lines and a small monorail line for Plastisol dip coating.


The product is first preheated in an oven. Once the product reaches the determined temperature, it is lowered into the Plastisol solution. The product is coated and then returned to an oven for curing, which converts the liquid to its hardened state.


The thickness of the coating can be controlled by the temperature to which the product is preheated. The higher the preheat temperature, the thicker the coating. Lower temperatures deliver a thinner coating.


Is Plastisol Applied to the Whole Product?

The process of applying Plastisol allows for unlimited flexibility in coating.


In most cases, Plastisol is applied to the whole product, creating an indestructible seal around the piece. When customers ask for only a small portion of a product to be protected with Plastisol, the product is partially dipped to the desired coating requirement and then cured.


So, How Durable is It?

Plastisol offers many advantages not found in other coating options. It delivers a lifetime of protection to the product and is flexible in its composition.


Hardening agents can be added to deliver a cured hardness up to a Shore durometer rating of 90, which is harder than the plastic on a hard hat, while UV inhibitors protect against fading from the sun’s damaging rays.


Additionally, Plastisol has natural anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties and can even be formulated to meet FDA food grade requirements.


What Industries Use Plastisol Coating?

Plastisol bonds well to any metal substrate when properly primed and its extreme durability makes it the coating of choice for applications across every industry. The applications for coated products are wide-ranging. Industries that use Plastisol coating include Forestry, Mining, Aviation, Automotive and Heavy Machinery.


Its flexibility also lends this coating to small and delicate products. Locksmiths understand the advantages of a Plastisol coating, as even the tiniest of lock picks receive this durable coating solution.


Plastisol is also the coating of choice for outdoor municipal playground structures. With its extreme durability, UV protection and sound deadening properties, it’s no wonder why most playground equipment is coated with Plastisol!


To discover more about the many advantages of Plastisol and to receive a no charge quotation for Plastisol coating, visit our web site or call us at 1-888-664-9998.



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Nut, blots and washers


Nearly all metal components require some surface preparation before it can be coated, painted, plated or welded. Degreasing is an essential step in the surface finishing process for automotive, electronics and other manufacturing application, as any foreign contaminant can affect the adhesion of a coating or the quality of a weldment.


When parts need to go through several stages of cleaning and pre-treatment, a conveyor wash system is up to the challenge! We at Latem Industries have recently added a conveyor wash of our own, so here’s what you should know about this finishing solution.


What is a Conveyor Wash System?

It’s not simply a parts washer! The conveyor wash is best described as a multi-stage surface preparation system: the ultimate in flexibility for both cleaning and treating parts.


Parts requiring high corrosion protection, such as exterior automobile parts, appliances and office furniture, require multiple stages of cleaning. The precise number of stages depends upon the customer’s finish specifications and the complexity of the parts to be washed prior to powder or liquid coating, electrocoating or welding.


The conveyor wash system is designed to clean and protect parts of almost any size. The cleaning chamber itself can be as much as 50 feet in length to ensure each and every part is perfectly cleaned and protected.


The conveyor wash can accommodate parts that are up to 6 feet in width, 4 feet in height and 15 feet in length! It’s a fully dynamic washing solution for parts of any dimension.


How a Conveyor Wash Works

The conveyor wash is a continuous flow-through system. As the parts pass along the massive conveyor wash, they are first treated with a chemical wash, followed by a rinse, then a rust inhibitor before reaching the final blow-off and drying stages.


  1. Wash Stage - 360 degrees of clean! As the parts pass along the conveyor, powerful jets clean the parts from all directions. We use a proprietary chemical wash created at Latem Industries.
  2. Rinse Stage - Using clean RO water, the parts are rinsed to remove both the chemical wash and any remaining particles of grease or grime.
  3. Rust Inhibit Stage - Parts are immersed with rust inhibitor that coats and protects the parts from corrosion. At Latem Industries, the parts are treated with our own proprietary rust inhibitor.
  4. Blow Off/Dry Stage - Powerful air jets blow off any remaining liquid. The parts exit the conveyor clean and protected!

The speed of the conveyor can be adjusted to meet the customer’s specific cleaning requirements.


Our Conveyor Wash Services

For over 40 years, Latem Industries has offered our customers many wash options for removing contaminants from parts. Our leadership team continually searches the market for new and improved processes that drive efficiencies to best serve the needs of our customers.


That’s why we’ve expanded our parts washing operations to include a large conveyor wash system - capable of cleaning and preparing steel, aluminum and plastic parts up to 6 feet wide, 4 feet tall and 15 feet long!


We understand and appreciate that when our customers are faced with a finishing challenge, they look to Latem for an immediate solution. Contact us to learn more about our conveyor wash and other metal finishing services.


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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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