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Mass finishing processes can effectively remove rust from metal surfaces through a combination of mechanical action, abrasive media, and specialized compounds.  Here are five ways in which mass finishing can assist with the removal of rust.


Image of finished polished metal pieces.


Abrasive Action – The primary mechanism in mass finishing for rust removal is abrasive action.   Abrasive media, such as steel, ceramic, plastic or organic are used to physically abrade the rusted surfaces of the metal parts.   As the media circulates within the mass finishing machine, they come into contact with the rust, effectively wearing it away.  This abrasion process helps to loosen and remove the rust from the surface.  Vibratory finishing, U-Tub and barrel tumbling are excellent examples of this type of rust removal.


Media Impact – the impact of the abrasive media against the rusted surfaces can dislodge loose rust particles and help break up thicker rust formations. For example, with shot blasting, the continuous collision of the steel media with the parts create a consistent and controlled abrasion, eliminating rust and giving a uniform finish to the metal part.


Compound Assistance - Compounds or additives can be added to the mass finishing process to enhance rust removal.  Rust inhibitors and specialized cleaning compounds can help dissolve or loosen rust, making it easier for the abrasive media to remove the rust, as well as inhibiting the formation of new rust during and after the process.  Ultrasonic cleaning using the proper chemicals can remove rust without the use of a media, especially useful for delicate parts.


Surface Polishing – While the primary goal is rust removal, mass finishing processes often have the additional benefit of polishing the surfaces.  Any pitting caused by the rust can be blended out, resulting in a cleaner and shinier appearance.


Coverage and Consistency – Mass finishing ensures uniform rust removal across all parts being processed.  The continuous movement of the parts and media helps to ensure that all surface areas of each part are exposed to the abrasive action, leaving no untreated spots.  Selecting the proper media and compound can also assist with hard to reach places, or internal bores and chambers.


It's important to select the appropriate combination of media, compounds, equipment and process parameters to achieve effective rust removal while avoiding over-processing or damaging the parts. 

Many factors play a role in the removal of rust.  The severity of the rust, the type of metal, the media chosen, the compounds chosen, the equipment as well as the duration of the process.

Latem Industries has been removing rust for our valued customers for over 45 years, in fact, it is something we excel at.  Latem offers quick turnaround and extensive experience in this field.  Let us assist you in getting rid of annoying rust.

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Sample of Vibratory Finishing

Mass finishing has been around for over 50 years and yet it remains one of the most under-appreciated technologies, as well as one of the least-understood.  Some circles view it as a simplistic/low-tech and due to this, do not put the time and effort into finding the proper equipment and/or process, resulting in scrap, rework, higher finishing costs, and overall disappointment.


Thinking it is an “easy” process, many companies will try and incorporate the process in-house.  How hard can it be, right?  You put parts in a vibratory bowl, or a barrel tumbler, throw in some media…the internet says ceramic is a good idea, so we’ll throw that in…and let ‘er run.  When the parts don’t come out as expected, the process takes way too long to be efficient, or the process doesn’t appear to be repeatable, “they” conclude that mass finishing is over-rated.


What “they” don’t understand is that it is in fact a multifaceted system, incorporating each specific item and working perfectly together to reach a predetermined end goal.  Let’s take a deeper look at how each item assists in reaching the end goal.

Determining what equipment is required is the first step.  Incorrectly sized equipment could end up damaging the parts or damaging the machine itself.  You need to determine the ratio of parts to media, and ensure the machine is large enough to hold the media and parts, as well as to properly move the parts through the machine. Is the equipment and motor large enough to handle the load?  Is it large enough to prevent part on part damage? Are we getting the throughput required to be efficient? Is it too large; resulting in inefficiencies and increased costs? Is the “worn” media removal method capable for the part and media being ran?


Media selection is another vital cog in the production.  Media will determine your surface finish.  Are you looking to remove a burr or to polish? What type of metal or base is the part you are looking to finish?  Metal and plastics all have different hardness and require different medias. Too abrasive of media could damage your parts; too soft of media will wear too quickly or make the process too long. Complex geometries of parts need be considered.  Will the media shape or size reach all areas required?  Will the media break or become lodged in a part?  Can the media and part be separated during offload?

Water is another key factor.  Water works as a coolant and in conjunction with a compound, flushes out the residue removed from the part as well as the worn media.  How much water?  Not enough, and the media and parts will remain dirty. Too much and you are wasting compound and increasing costs.  Water cannot be too hard nor too soft. What materials are you introducing to your wastewater?  These need to be considered and accounted for. 


Compounds are the final piece to the puzzle.  Compounds are used to assist in deburring, dissolving dirt and grease, to assist in keeping the media clean as well as to provide corrosion resistance.  Which compound is required and what ration to water and to parts is essential.

sample of tumbled parts

As you can see, the process is much more complex than most realize.  Using the proper machine, media and water/compound are essential to surface finishing.  The smarter option is usually to not “re-invent” the wheel.  Rather than trying to put in your own system and experiencing the disappointment of many, give Latem Industries Limited a try.


Mass finishing has come a long way over the last 50 years.  Today, mass-finishing systems can produce practically any surface finish, from simple deburring to high-gloss polishing, on practically any kind of workpiece.

 Latem Industries Limited has been in this industry for over 45 years perfecting finishing solutions.  Give us a chance to help you with your surface finishing needs.

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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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