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Shot Blasting Systems: Flat Bed Rollers vs. Overhead Conveyors


Shot blasting is a method of descaling, derusting and deburring unfinished metal components. It is often a necessary step prior to assembly, or finishing touches like painting or coating.


In a previous post, we looked at the difference between two common shot blasting machine configurations: batch finishing and continuous finishing systems. To summarize:

  1. Batch finishing involves processing a load of parts into the shot blasting machine at once, then pausing the machine to remove the finished batch and add the next volume.
  2. Continuous finishing involves loading parts at one end of a machine one-by-one without pausing the machine, then offloading them at the other end. Parts move continuously down the line until they’re finished.

In short, batch finishing is stop-and-go, while a continuous system can keep going on and on for as long as you’re loading new parts. It’s not a competition ‒ both methods have clear advantages in different applications. But when it comes to processing large orders, continuous finishing often has the edge in terms of efficiency.


Today, we’ll take a closer look at two types of continuous finishing systems we use to process thousands of parts a week here at Latem Industries: flat bed roller conveyors and overhead conveyors.


Flat Bed Roller Conveyor


In a flat bed roller conveyor system:

  1. Components are loaded onto a massive roller conveyor outside of the shot blasting machine.
  2. When activated, the roller conveyor moves components into the machine and through one or more shot blasting chambers.
  3. The parts are processed using a 360 degree shot blasting pattern, treating virtually every exposed surface.
  4. The parts exit onto another roller bed on the opposite end of the machine. There, the parts are removed.


Roller conveyor shot blasting systems are ideal for treating long, flat components prior to welding, cutting and machining operations. Large parts can be effectively descaled, derusted or deburred using a flat bed roller conveyor system. It can also be used to remove paint or for general surface preparation.


At Latem Industries, our roller conveyor can accommodate parts as large as 7 feet wide and up to 30 feet long. Its design allows us to process steel plates, profiles, cast iron and galvanized steel pipes, and rolled steel H-beams and I-beams for structural steel construction.


Overhead Conveyor

In an overhead conveyor system:

  1. Components are loaded individually onto large racks hanging from an overhead conveyor.
  2. The conveyor moves along a rail, carrying parts into the machine and through one or more blasting chambers.
  3. Parts are shot blasted in a 360 pattern for complete surface coverage.
  4. Finished parts exit the machine at the opposite end of the rail, where they are unloaded.

Unlike flat bed roller machines (which are ideal for flat pieces) overhead conveyors can handle large components with unusual or complex shapes. These systems can be used to remove rust or scale, recondition stamped metal, or prepare components after die casting.


At Latem Industries, our overhead conveyor can accomodate parts weighing anywhere from 10lbs to over 300lbs. We’ve found it ideal for castings, welded constructions, forged and stamped parts, and complicated forms like large springs.


Choosing the Best Mass Finishing Method

When Ontario’s top manufacturers need to get rid of rust, edges, scaling or excess oils, they turn to Latem Industries. We use a wide range of shot blasting systems to meet your needs - including our overhead conveyor and flat bed roller conveyor systems. Get in touch today to find out what we can do for you!

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Shot Blasting Methods: Tumble Blast vs. Index Table Blasting


Have a big batch of metal parts that need finishing? Here’s a solution: let’s get blasted!


Well, we don’t mean that literally, of course. Our brand of blasting is all about cleaning and strengthening the surface of metal parts! We offer a wide range of metal finishing and surface preparation processes, including shot blasting ‒ one of the fastest and most effective ways to clean metal to a mirror-shine.


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 stick. 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, we’ll compare the applications and advantages of two of the shot blasting methods we offer: tumble blasting and index table blasting.


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 shots 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, copper shots and aluminum pellets.


During the tumble blasting process, the metal components are also continuously bumping against each other to help knock off surface contaminants and defects.


Advantages of Tumble Blasting

One of the biggest advantages of tumble blasting is the ability to deliver a consistent finish. The combination of tumbling and blasting ensures that even components with difficult geometry (deep recesses or tight angles) receive a perfect surface preparation.


Tumble blasting also allows components to impact each other, accelerating the removal of burrs and sharp edges.


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. 


One or more metal components can be attached to each satellite table. As the large table rotates on its axis, the satellite tables move along within it. Each table can rotate on its own axis independently.


The Index blast table machine we use at Latem Industries is divided into thirds, with a satellite table in each section. A typical blasting operation using this equipment goes like this:


One section of the turntable is loaded with components for shot blasting. The table then indexes or turns, moving the loaded table into the blast chamber for finishing.
As the first section enters the chamber, the second section moves from the chamber into the loading area. The second section is loaded with another set of parts. This step is then repeated to move the second section into the chamber and expose the third and final section.

When the table indexes a third time, completing a full rotation, the first section emerges from the blasting chamber with a stack of finished components. The processed parts are removed, and the is section loaded with a fresh batch of components.


This process is continually repeated until all of the parts that require processing have been finished.


Advantages of Index Table Blasting

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.


Tumble Blast vs. Index Table Blast: Which One’s Right For You?

We deliver solutions to most every metal finishing challenge with industry-leading results. To learn more about tumble blasting and index table blasting and find out how we can reduce your processing costs, contact the experts at Latem Industries today!

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Mass Finishing: Batch vs. Continuous Finishing Systems


Latem Industries has mastered a set of manufacturing processes that allow us to finish huge quantities of parts at once. Industries such as medical, aerospace, furniture, automotive, agricultural and 3D printing all use these processes as a means to get the precise finish they’re after.  The most common term for this work is ‘mass finishing,’ but we like to boil it down to a much simpler idea: problem-solving. 


Mass finishing is all about solving the problems that come up during mass production, including imperfections like burrs and contaminants like rust or oil. It can be used to radius, deburr, remove rust, polish, break edges, harden or clean manufactured metal parts. 


Mass finishing methods include:


Barrel tumbling and vibratory finishing, using cyclical motion to move large quantities of parts against one another and in some cases an added abrasive. This finishing media can be made from many materials, including aluminum, ceramic, walnut shells and steel. 
Shot blasting and peening, throwing tiny steel pebbles (called shot) at the parts with incredible velocity.
Parts washing, cleaning parts of dirt, rust, oils and greases.


Often, a liquid that includes cleaners or abrasives is added to assist or speed up the process.  A rust inhibitor may be used as well to inhibit corrosion.


These techniques can be rolled out using either batch system, continuous systems or a combination of the two. Deciding which of these systems to use is an important step in solving your manufacturing problems as quickly and smoothly as possible.


Batch Finishing Systems

Batch systems are those in which many parts are loaded into a machine, processed, then removed before the next volume of parts is added. 


When there is more than one finishing process to be applied, each group of parts is moved from one batch machine to the next. Say your machines can only process 10 parts at once. You can debur the first batch of 10 in one machine, then move that batch to another machine to be washed while a second batch of 10 is deburred in the first machine.  


Continuous Finishing Systems

Continuous systems (also called through-feed systems) are those in which parts are loaded into the machine at one end, and a finished product is offloaded at the other end.  


Unlike a batch system, parts are not moved from one machine to the next in batches. Instead, parts can be fed into a single machine continuously and automatically moved from one step to the next. Several continuous finishing machines can work together for variations in workflow.


Some finishing machines, known as multi-pass systems, can be used either as a batch or a continuous system.


Batch vs. Continuous Finishing

Depending on the parts and finishing methods in question, batch and continuous systems both have their advantages and disadvantages. 


Advantages: continuous finishing

One of the biggest advantages of continuous system is the ability to spot errors in processing and adjust quickly.
Continuous finishing systems are faster and more efficient overall. There is constant progress and no downtime between batches.


Disadvantages: continuous finishing

Continuous finishing isn’t well-suited to parts that require many or more complicated processing steps.
Parts that have very strong burrs or intense radiusing do better in a batch process.


Advantages: batch finishing

Batch finishing machines use less floor space than continuous systems.
Some processes and parts, such as heavy deburring of hard-to-machine alloys, can only be accomplished in batch finishing machines.


Disadvantages: batch finishing

The downtime between batches can increase the cost of processing very large orders.
If there is an error in a batch process, it has likely affected all the parts in that batch, which can mean more wasted material.


Choosing the Best Mass Finishing Method

Latem Industries has extensive experience using both batch and continuous-style systems, offering you a plethora of options to meet all your mass finishing requirements. We’ve been at it for over 40 years! Contact the experts at Latem Industries for help achieving the precise finish you’re after.


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Getting the Rust Out - Humidity and Corrosion

During the hazy, lazy days of summer, most folks are thinking of relaxing on the beach or by the pool. 


Not us. 


At Latem Industries, our summer focuses on removing rust that has unexpectedly occurred on our customer’s parts and equipment.


Why? When the atmospheric conditions are right, rust can form on unprotected metal from the humidity alone. Humidity-based corrosion is something that keeps us busy all summer long.


Unfortunately, many of our customers aren’t even aware of humidity-based corrosion until the rust has already occurred. Don’t let it happen to you! Here’s what you should know about preventing and removing rust and corrosion caused by humidity.  


How Humidity Affects the Rate of Corrosion

How does humidity cause corrosion? That’s an important question in the mass metal finishing and parts coating industries. To prevent and manage humidity-based corrosion, we have to first understand how it works.


Metal corrodes at a much greater rate under humid conditions. This happens because the moisture-saturated air reacts with oxygen and electrons on the surface of the metal. The longer metal components are exposed to humid air, the faster they will generally corrode.


This type of atmospheric corrosion can occur when the amount of moisture in the air reaches critical humidity, which is the point at which water no longer evaporates or gets absorbed from the atmosphere. In most conditions, this happens at 80% relative humidity (RH). 


But it’s not simply the humidity that causes corrosion; it is the change in temperature along with a significant increase in humidity that causes moisture to form on parts. There are two ways this can happen.


First, the relative humidity increases along with the temperature. Humidity changes during the day largely depending on the temperature. You’ve surely experienced this first-hand on a muggy summer afternoon. Every 50°F (10°C) increase in the temperature can double corrosion activity.


Second, when a surface cools below the temperature of the surrounding air, moisture will form on the surface as condensation. This is likely to happen in most manufacturing facilities as the temperature within the facility cools overnight. Later, when the sun comes up and the temperature rises again, humidity causes moisture to condense on cool, metal surfaces.


The higher the relative humidity, the smaller the temperature difference needed for condensation to form...which sets the stage for corrosion to occur.


How to Prevent Humidity from Creating Corrosion

In a perfect world, we would keep all our precious equipment in a climate-controlled facility that is never affected by the humidity. Of course, most of the metal parts we process aren’t meant to stay in a bubble, so we have to find other ways to protect them.


The simplest and most cost-effective way to protect parts from humidity-based corrosion is to seal them against moisture. This can be accomplished by placing large quantities of parts in Vapor Corrosion Inhibitor packaging, which slowly releases an anti-corrosion compound to protect exposed metal surfaces from corrosion. 


Humidity is also an important factor in the surface preparation and application of protective coatings. A high-quality powder coat can seal the surface to guard against corrosion. However, many coatings are not designed to protect metal from high humidity and may even be detrimental in some cases. 


How to Remove Humidity-Based Rust

What if the corrosion has already occurred? There is a significant expense and loss of revenue when you are forced to scrap processed parts due to rust.


Fortunately, scrapping parts is seldom the only solution! It’s possible to clean rust from almost any manufactured metal part quickly and cost-effectively, then treat them with a rust inhibitor to prevent it from happening again.


Latem Industries uses various processes to remove rusted areas from processed parts:

  • Shot blasting (often the most efficient method of rust removal)
  • Vibratory finishing
  • Barrel tumbling
  • Ultrasonic washing

The best process for removing rust from mass quantities of parts usually depends on the extent of corrosion and the geometry of the part. Latem has the capacity to clean away rust from millions of parts daily. Whether the part is the size of a thimble or as large a sheet of stainless steel, we have the best processes available to quickly and cost-effectively remove rust.

So, when rust impacts your operations, call Latem (Metal spelled backwards!) or use the easy Get a Quotation link here.

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Shot Peening - Strengthening the Surface of Parts

Shot peening is a time-tested method of enhancing and strengthening the surface of steel. It is employed as a practical and cost-effective way to extend the lifespan and performance of metal parts in numerous industries.


By introducing residual stress on the surface in a controlled manner, shot peening creates a compressive pressure layer that is more resistant to cracking, fatigue, and oxidation.


How Shot Peening Works

Shot peening entails blasting the part with shot (small beads of metallic, glass or ceramic particles) with sufficient force to create tiny indentations in its surface. Each shot acts as a tiny ball-peen hammer loaded with enough kinetic energy to cause plastic deformation - meaning the metal bends slightly on impact but doesn’t chip or fracture.


When this happens, an area of stress is created on the surface of the part. The material directly beneath the indentation, meanwhile, resists and becomes compressed. Each indentation makes the surface of the material stronger and more resistant to cracking.


This process repeats thousands of times during shot peening, gradually building up a strengthened stress layer that encases the entire component!


Shot peening is typically a cold working or cold forming process, meaning the metal is shaped at room temperature or at least below the recrystallization temperature. Other cold working processes include burnishing, roll forming, embossing and extrusion. 


Shot Peening or Shot Blasting?

Shot peening is similar to shot blasting...but differs slightly in process and end result.


Both operate by the mechanism of plasticity, changing the surface of the part while minimizing the amount of material removed in the process. However, shot blasting is most often used to clean and prepare components prior to coating. Shot peening, on the other hand, is used to make components stronger.


How Shot Peening is Applied

Shot peening is used to compensate for tensile stresses that occur during machining. Parts that have been through processes like grinding, milling, bending and heat treatment can often benefit from shot peening.


Compressive surface stresses can protect machined components from numerous performance issues, including:

  • Resistance to stress corrosion cracking: Microcracks do not form so readily in materials that are under compressive stress.
  • Improved fatigue resistance: Depending on the geometry and material of the part, shot peening and improve fatigue resistance by up to 1000%.
  • Improved oxidation resistance of nickel-based alloys: These alloys have wide applications in the aerospace, marine and chemical industries.

Parts that are commonly shot peened include:

  • Crankshafts
  • Gear wheels
  • Connecting rods
  • Automotive gear parts
  • Coil springs
  • Turbine blade
  • Airframe components
  • Suspension springs

How to Measure Shot Peening Results

Shot peening results are measured using an Almen Strip test. 


A flat test strip is placed in the shot chamber to absorb the intensity of the blast, causing it to deform into an arc shape. The height of the arc directly relates to the intensity of the peening blast and the resulting compressive stress. 


The intensity (i) of the shot is critical, as overpeening can lead to detrimental effects. Other shot peening parameters include:

  • velocity (v) (for wheel machines) or the peening pressure p (for air blast machines)
  • peening intensity (see results section)
  • mass flow (ṁ)
  • coverage
  • exposure time (t)
  • impingement angle

Our Shot Peening Services

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 shot peening and our other metal finishing services.

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Conveyor Wash: A Multi-Stage Surface Preparation System


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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Our Commitment to Quality

At Latem Industries quality and speed to market guide our decisions each and every day. Our quality processes are built around strict guidelines that were initially developed for the automotive industry. While our customer base spans a large number of industry sectors, we apply many of the elements of PPAP, Production Part Approval Process, to our quality standards.


Quality - Where does it start?


Latem recognizes that quality is essentially the outcome of every interaction we have with our customers and their products. In order to meet the needs of our customers we first must have an innate understanding of the challenges they face in order to create and execute the most efficient and cost effective solution. Our quality team is involved with every aspect of our business. In essence, quality does not begin or end anywhere but rather, is a perpetual mandate within our organization.


Creating Solutions - In order to best meet the requirements of our customers our internal quality process begins with customer supplied samples. Our quality team reviews these samples along with all customer supplied drawings and specifications. We then consider several key criteria for optimal processing including the size of the product, shape or geometry, material composition, material thickness, weight and the application of the part.


Trial Process - Once the best possible solution is developed, we then process the customer supplied samples on a no charge basis. These samples are then returned to our customer’s quality team for inspection and comment. Once approved, the production process is recorded within our quality system and we ready for production.


Production- Exacting Standards for Quality Consistency


Our commitment to quality is shared by every employee at Latem Industries. Our quality team developed several standards that ensure that our customers products are processed exactly as required every time, these processes include;


Control Plan - the Control Plan is created by our quality team and provides the operator or inspector with the information required to properly control the process and produce consistent results. It includes instructions regarding actions taken if a quality issue arises.


The Control Plan is used in conjunction with an inspection sheet or checklist and helps assure quality is maintained throughout process by establishing a standard for quality inspection and process monitoring.  Control Plans are living documents that are periodically updated as the measurement methods and controls are improved.


FMEA - Failure Mode and Effects Analysis - is a structured approach to discovering potential failures that may exist within our process. Failure modes are the ways in which a process can fail. Effects are the ways that these failures can lead to waste or defects for our customer. Failure Mode and Effects Analysis is designed to identify, prioritize and limit these failure modes. Simply put, its an analysis of understanding what could go wrong in order to ensure it doesn’t happen. It’s planning NOT to fail.


Quality Inspections - In order to ensure we meet our quality criteria each and every time, ongoing inspections and audits are completed throughout the process. There are 4 levels of audit that ensures we deliver consistent quality each and every time.


Level 1

Trained Operators - each process operator is trained to perform quality audits throughout the processing. Many of our operators have more than 30 years experience and are skilled at identifying potential quality issues.


Level 2

Production Supervisors - our production supervisors also preform quality audits throughout and at the conclusion of processing our customers products.


Level 3

Quality Team - Our quality team audits and signs off on process completed prior to returning the products to our customers.


Level 4

Layered Audits - Senior management regularly audits completed processes to ensure our customers expectations are met.


Our quality team utilizes several tools to inspect and measure the results of our processes. These are used in conjunction with any customer supplied instruments. These tools include;


  1. Vernier Caliper - a measurement tool used to monitor thickness, depth and diameter of processed parts
  2. Digital Thickness Gauge - Used to maintain a thickness specification
  3. Plug Gauge - Ensures the diameter of a hole or opening in a product is maintained throughout processing
  4. Durometer Gauge - Measures the hardness of a product after processing
  5. Tensile Tester - Determines the tensile strength or breaking point of a product
  6. Micrometer - Delivers an accurate measurement of a product
  7. Scanning Electron Microscope - Determines the amount of particulate that remains on a product after processing

We are the industry leader in mass finishing and coatings due largely to our relentless pursuit of uncompromising quality. Our complete team focus on quality combined with our experience means you will receive the Perfect Finish- each and every time.


The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten – Benjamin Franklin​



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Mass Finishing 101: Shot Blasting and Other Metal Finishing Methods


After a metal workpiece is punched, pressed, cut or formed, there are often flaws or remnants on the piece that does not meet quality requirements. These remnants include sharp points of metal (burrs), sharp edges along the radius of a component, and roughness on a component’s surface.  


In mass production, it is cost and time-prohibitive to correct the flaws of each individual workpiece by hand. Instead, manufacturers use methods such as shot blasting, vibratory finishing, tumble finishing (barrel tumbling) and harperizing to remove the flaws from hundreds of parts en-mass. Mass finishing is a crucial part of the metal manufacturing process. 


What is Mass Finishing? 


Mass finishing is a term to describe an abrasive process that allows for bulk or mass of components to be economically processed in large quantities. Generally, the components are made of metal, but other substrates can be processed in this fashion as well.  


In addition to deburring and edge breaking, mass finishing methods can be used for surface smoothing or polishing, removal of oil or contaminants, and descaling after heat treating.  


Why Mass Finishing?


Almost all components need refinement before they can be assembled by workers or handled by the consumer. Mass finishing delivers a low-cost alternative to finishing components by hand.  


Mass finishing also delivers a consistent result every time, whereas hand finishing is subject to the accuracy of the finisher labour intensive. In all cases where there is a large volume of components, mass finishing is a significantly lower cost than labour-intensive hand finishing.  


The consistent result of mass finishing also helps products meet quality standards. 


How Mass Finishing is Accomplished 


Vibratory Finishing - The components are placed in a massive bowl that holds abrasive media and cleaning agents. In operation, the bowl vibrates at an exaggerated rate, causing the media to turn up and down while rotating in a circular motion. The components travel with the abrasive media. Over time, the combination of rotation and vibration smoothes the edge and surface of a component while removing burrs. 


Tumble Finishing - The components are placed in a large barrel that also holds abrasive media and cleaning agents. The barrel rotates in a circular motion and the components and media roll together. This abrasive action is ideal for removing burrs, and the aggressive action of tumbling is well-suited to durable metal parts. 


Harperizing The components are placed in chambers holding media and cleaning agents, and the Harperizer creates a tumbling process that uses G forces to finish parts. Harperizing can clean and polish parts in a much shorter period than conventional tumbling and vibratory finishing. Because of the G forces produced, harperizing can reach areas conventional tumbling and vibratory finishing cannot reach. 


Shot Blasting - The components are placed in a chamber, where small particles of metal are shot or blasted at the component’s surface. Shot blasting can be used to remove edges and smooth the surface of components. It is also an effective way to remove rust formation or chemicals left behind from the components forming process. Shot blasting is commonly used to create an even and consistent finish for components that have been diecast in steel or aluminum. 


What is Finishing Media? 


Media is the abrasive material used to clean and finish components. The composition of media may be ceramic, plastic or steel. The media itself comes in a variety of shapes to meet specific cleaning requirements. Common shapes are oval, triangle, star, pyramid and ellipse. 


Learn More About Mass Finishing 


Latem Industries has been in the mass metal finisher in Cambridge, Ontario since 1997. To discover more about the many advantages of mass finishing and receive a no charge quotation for your mass finishing requirements, contact us online or by phone at 1-888-664-9998. 

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The Dirt on Grime: Industrial Parts Washing Methods


Nearly all metal components require surface preparation to clean and remove oil, grease or smut from the surface.  


Degreasing is an essential step in the surface finishing process of manufacturing automotives, appliances, electronics and other applications. As metal components are often coated, painted, plated or welded, it is critical to remove any foreign contaminants that may affect the adhesion of a coating or the quality of a weldment.  


Mass finishers have several fast, cost-effective ways to clean metal components at a mass production scale. However, not all oils are created equal. It is important to select a part-specific mass washing method that will remove grime efficiently without damaging the underlying parts. 


Latem Industries offers a wide range of component cleaning processes to meet virtually any requirement. These are three of the industrial parts washing methods we use in our mass finishing operations: 

  1. Auger Wash 
  2. Ultrasonic Wash 
  3. Conveyor Wash 

1. Auger Wash 

Imagine the agitator on an old school washing machine turned on its side and 20 feet long. With this thought in mind, you now have the idea of how an auger wash operates.   


First, components are loaded into the auger. Next, we add solvent-based or solvent-containing cleaning agents designed to remove water-insoluble substances such as grease, oils, waxes, tars and fats.  


The components then begin a long, 20’ spiral of washing and rinsing. Once the cycle is complete, the parts are off-loaded to an in-line drying oven.  


The auger wash is ideal for washing large quantities of smaller components. However, due to the aggressiveness of this method, it is not as well-suited for delicate parts. 


2. Ultrasonic Wash 

Ultrasonic washing uses cavitation bubbles created by high-frequency sound pressure waves to agitate a liquid. The components are placed in a basket and lowered into a transducer, which creates ultrasonic waves. The combined force of the agitation and cleaning agents creates pressure to force oil, grease and smut adhering to metal to be removed.  


One of the advantages of ultrasonic sound waves is that they penetrate through cracks and recesses to completely clean every facet of a part. Ultrasonic wash is also ideal for delicate parts, as the cleaning is created solely by sound waves. In addition to cleaning metal components, this versatile part washing method can clean components made of plastic, ceramic and glass. 


Latem Industries’ ultrasonic wash department includes two ultrasonic stations: one for general cleaning purposes and the other to achieve specific cleanliness specs. Our technicians use a state-of-the-art particle analysis system to ensure parts are completely clean at a microscopic level. 


3. Conveyor Wash 

As the name suggests, this mass washing method is completed on a conveyor line. Components are loaded onto the line and then travel through a massive, 50’ cleaning chamber that uses high-pressure wash from all directions to remove contaminants.  


Conveyor washing is incredibly versatile as it can accommodate both large and small components. In fact, components up to 4’ tall and up to 15’ long can simply and easily be cleaned in conveyor wash. 


Ask the Mass Finishing Experts 

From large and complex to small and delicate, Latem Industries offers a cost-effective solution to remove contaminants from any component. 


To discover more about the many options we offer for cleaning your components and to receive a no charge quotation, contact us online or by phone at 1-888-664-9998. 

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Removing Mill Scale from Steel Surfaces

Steel surfaces can sometimes exhibit residual mill scale as a side effect of the production process. Though not harmful in and of itself, the presence of scale is detrimental in conditions where corrosion is likely to occur, and it must be removed before a workpiece can be given a protective coating.


Shiny steel parts


This post discusses the role of mill scale in the steel production and coating process, including the fastest way to remove mill scale from surfaces.


Identifying Mill Scale

Mill scale (often known simply as ‘scale’) refers to the thin, flaky texture that forms on the outer surface of hot-rolled iron oxides and metals. It is a by-product of manufacturing hot-rolled metal plates and sheets, occurring as the surface oxidizes during the heating, conditioning and hot rolling processes.


Scale has a distinctive blue-grey colour and a flaky or powdery consistency. It is not a continuous layer, but rather a thin, uneven coat (1mm thickness or less) of mixed iron oxides that chips easily on contact.

Unlike rust, which forms over a long period of exposure to oxygen and moisture, scale forms on all steel and iron products that are hot rolled. The only way to prevent its appearance would be to manufacture them in an inert atmosphere.


Mill scale is not in itself harmful to the workpiece. In fact, in the short term, a layer of scale helps to protect the metal’s surface from corrosion and other negative atmospheric effects. The problem begins when the mill scale breaks – which, given its brittleness, is practicably inevitable during handling, storage or transportation.


Why Mill Scale Must Be Removed

Scale is very fragile, and the moment it cracks, it turns from a protective barrier to a detriment.


Mill scale is less reactive than the steel surface it covers, acting as a cathode to the more reactive material underneath. Once the scale coating breaks (which occurs easily) and moisture comes through, the presence of the scale iron oxide accelerates the corrosion process at the breakage point.


The presence of mill scale is also a hindrance to applying paint or powder coating, which adheres poorly to scale. Left in place, the scale will eventually chip and break the coating’s surface, allowing moisture to penetrate.


It is wasteful to apply a protective coating over a workpiece covered with mill scale. For this reason, scale removal is an indispensable step in the pre-coating process.


Removing Mill Scale from Iron or Stainless Steel

To achieve a smooth, durable coating, mill scale must be removed from an iron or steel workpiece before application. This is true for powder coatings, paints and other finishing techniques meant to protect the surface from corrosion.


Shot Blasting, a method used to clean, strengthen and polish metal, is a fast and cost-effective way to remove mill scale. This service is normally carried out to prepare the surface of steel before applying any coating. Having the steel prepared by shot blasting is generally considered to be the most important factor affecting any corrosion protection system or coating.


At Latem Industries, our diverse line of wheel/suction shot blasting equipment includes monorail, tumble blast, swing table and conveyor to suit your blasting needs.


Latem carries a wide range of shot and grit to service your needs, including:

  • Scale Removal
  • Shot Peening
  • White Metal Cleaning
  • Rust Removal
  • Deflashing of Castings
  • Commercial Clean
  • Uniform Finish
  • Prep Prior to Paint

For further information on shot blasting, or to request a free quote for shot blasting in Southern Ontario, please contact us.

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Tim Keane
November 4, 2019
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Traffic Soda
August 28, 2019
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Mike Zinger
June 28, 2019
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