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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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Getting the Rust Out: Metal Finishing Solutions for Rust or Corrosion

Imagine processing and shipping thousands of parts to your customer – only to discover your shipment was rejected due to rust.

 

Rust or corrosion is a significant issue in manufacturing facilities large and small, impacting resources and increasing operating costs. Rust is difficult to prevent and nearly impossible to anticipate on manufactured parts.

 

Remove rust and corrosion

 

When rust occurs, leading manufacturers look to Latem Industries for metal finishing solutions. Here’s how we can help.

 

So, What Exactly Is Rust?

Rusting is the common term for corrosion of iron and its alloys, such as steel.

 

Rust is an iron oxide (usually a red oxide) that forms when iron and oxygen react in the presence of water or air moisture. There are several types of rust that form under different circumstances and are distinguishable visually and by spectroscopy.

 

Surface rust can be spotted or flaky and does not protect the underlying iron, which enables the oxide to grow. With enough time, oxygen and moisture will eventually convert an iron part entirely to rust and disintegrate it.

 

How Latem Solves the Problem

Latem Industries uses various processes to remove rust or corrosion from processed parts:

The best process for removing rust from mass quantities of parts is often determined by the extent of the corrosion and the geometry of the part.

 

For minor rust problems around your home or workshop, you can try using this simple home solution: salt + lime. Sprinkle a little bit of salt on the rust, then squeeze the lime over the salt until it is soaking. Let the mixture sit for 2-3 hours and then remove the rust with the lime rind. This can also be done with a lemon, but we like the salt and lime a little more because they double as margarita ingredients.

 

Mass Metal Finishing Solutions for Rust or Corrosion

Latem (metal spelled backwards) has the capacity to clean away rust from millions of parts daily. Whether the part is the size of a thimble or as large as a sheet of steel, we have the best processes available to quickly and cost-effectively remove rust.

 

Once the rust is removed, we treat each and every piece with a rust inhibitor.

 

So, when rust impacts your operations, call Latem or use the easy Get a Quotation link on our web page.

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Meet Latem’s New Parts Washing Equipment: The Universal Cleaning System & Jomesa Cleanliness Analysis

Latem Industries has acquired two new systems to enhance and extend our parts washing services.

 

universal cleaning system

 

The Universal 81W cleaning system is a modular design parts washer that utilizes both ultrasonic cleaning and high-pressure immersion. It is suitable not only for removing oil from mass-produced parts but also for the fine cleaning of assembly parts.

 

In conjunction, we have also purchased our first particle analysis system: the Jomesa HFD4 (High Focal Depth) Cleanliness Analysis System. This state-of-the-art equipment is a fully-automated particle analysis system for measuring, counting and categorizing contamination on filter membranes. It can detect metallic, non-metallic, or fiber contamination at a microscopic level, allowing us to demonstrate our results with precision testing and proof of cleanliness.

 

We’re eager to combine these two systems to meet and exceed your parts cleaning needs. These investments reinforce our pursuit of perfection in parts washing and ultrasonic cleaning.

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Latem Industries is Proudly an ISO 9001:2015 Certified Metal Finisher

The team at Latem Industries is proud to announce our recognition as an ISO 9001:2015 certified metal finisher. We’ve worked hard to implement processes and produce results that meet these rigorous quality standards.

 

 

For Latem Industries (and our metal coating company Plastico Industries), ISO 9001:2015 certification means:

  • Latem Industries’ top management demonstrates leadership and commitment to upholding a Quality Management System that meets ISO 9001:2015 standards.
  • Our Quality Management System comprehensively addresses risks, opportunities, changes and quality objectives.
  • We have plans and processes in place to meet our customers’ requirements for our services.
  • All our employees have the training and resources they need to support our Quality Management System.
  • The roles and responsibilities necessary to uphold this commitment have been assigned, communicated and understood.
  • We continuously monitor, measure, analyze, and evaluate our Quality Management System with an aim to improve wherever we can.

Below, we’ll explain why being an ISO 9001:2015 metal finisher matters to us and our customers.

 

ISO 9001:2015 Certification: What Does it Mean?

The ISO is the International Organization for Standardization, an independent international organization that sets quality, safety and efficiency standards.

 

These standards apply across all industries, products and services, including metal finishing. The ISO is recognized worldwide and endorsed by both the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

 

ISO 9001:2015 is the latest revision to these standards. ISO 9001:2015 provides a clear roadmap to guide companies like Latem Industries in meeting (and surpassing) customer expectations and regulatory requirements.

 

Being ISO 9001:2015 certified is something that matters both to us and our customers. Internally, it demonstrates our commitment to the quality and consistency our customers expect. That means delivering exceptional metal finishing services and customer service that goes above and beyond what our customers expect.

 

When you see that a company has earned ISO 9001:2015 certification, you can trust that their promises are backed by a universal quality management process.

 

Latem’s ISO 9001:2015 Certificate

How do you know if a company is ISO 9001:2015 certified? A Certificate of Registration like this one.

 

This certificate demonstrates that Latem Industries’ Quality Management System and processes passed an independent audit by an accredited certification body. Our audit was conducted by The Registrar Company, a trusted certification body accredited by the ANSI-ANQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB).

 

ISO 9001:2008 vs. ISO 9001:2015

If you’re already familiar with the previous standards set in 2008, you’ll find few changes in the ISO’s current criteria. What has changed is:

  • New structure (expanding from 8 clauses to 10)
  • Renewed focus on top-level accountability, involving the highest levels of management in implementing and maintaining ISO standards
  • Emphasis on risk management throughout the organization, using the system as a preventative tool that encourages continuous improvements to process
  • More flexibility for organizations like Latem Industries to develop ISO documentation in a format that meets our needs as a industrial metal coater
  • Alignment with other key management system standards

Work with a Certified Metal Finisher

Latem Industries is proud to produce results that meet internationally-recognized quality standards. Start working with an ISO 9001:2015 certified industrial metal finisher today.

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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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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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