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Mass Finishing - Centrifugal

Mass finishing, in its most basic definition, is the same as individual parts finishing, using many of the same methods, just in mass quantities.  When metal is worked to form a shape, whether it be through laser cutting, waterjet procedures, stampings or any other of the numerous ways to shape metal, it usually comes out of the process with sharp edges, exhibiting oil or stains, surface scale , rust, as well as other defects.  The metal part has to then be either sanded, filed, washed, etc. to prepare it for its next stage, be it welding, coating or assembly.


Finished parts


This stage can be very expensive due to the individual handling and processing of the metal parts.  This is where mass finishing comes into play.  The goal of mass finishing is to deburr, edge-break, burnish, radius, descale, clean, de-flash, rust removal, polish, brighten or even harden the surface, but to do it in mass, to reduce the cost expenditure per part. 


Mass Finishing can be done in different machines, but usually involves compounds and media.  Compounds are used to remove stains and rust as well as to brighten parts or remove scale.    Media is used to remove burrs, remove scale, refine surfaces as well as buffer parts from one another.  Media can be plastic, metal or organic.


Several factors will determine which machine, media and compound is used.  Certain compounds will not work with certain metals.  The correct compounds can assist with the process required, lessening cycle times.  Improper sized media can become trapped in part weld joints or holes, where as improper shaped media can degrade faster or not reach into required areas.   Different machines work differently as well.


Vibratory: Vibratory mass finishing systems come in a few different configurations, including bowl designs, oval race-track designs, u-tubs as well as continuous flow through machines. Parts travel through the machine, media, compound and usually water wearing down the edges, scale, etc.  This process is much like how small rocks, sand and water wear down jagged rocks over time.

Centrifugal: Centrifugal finishing is also known as tumble or barrel finishing. Centrifugal machines lend themselves well to efficiency and automation. They operate at speeds over 300 revolutions per minute, with the bonus of no part-on-part contact. These machines achieve this by generating centrifugal force, which keeps the parts at the barrel’s periphery.  This process is also extremely efficient at polishing parts as the media gently wears on the outer surface.   With the correct media and compounds, mirror surfaces can be attained.  This process also can be used quite effectively on 3D part’s imperfections.


Latem Industries Limited has been mass finishing for over 40 years.  We would love an opportunity to assist you with your mass finishing requirements.

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What is Isotropic Finishing?

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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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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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