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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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Surface Finishing – Deflashing

One of the most common occurring casting defects, as well as with injection molding, is flash.


Flash, also known as casting fin or burrs, is any unwanted and excess material attached to a cast. It’s typically a thin sheet of metal that forms at the parting faces.


Causes of flash, fin and burrs


Flash on the casting surface is due to a crack or gap on the core surface. Insufficient weight on the mold or improper clamping of the flask can lead to a gap.

Flash can vary from minor to very serious. If it’s not too serious, manufacturers can remove flash by breaking it off with a hammer or pliers and filing it down to the parting line. However, this can be a costly process, involving labour and time that were not built into the piece price. 


Latem Industries Limited uses mass finishing technologies to remove flash, fin and burrs in a time effective, cost-efficient method.   Various methods are used depending on the material and geometry of the part.


Latem offers barrel finishing, tub vibrators, vibratory bowls, centrifugal finishers as well as tumble and conveyor blasting as a means to remove flashing.  This array of equipment allows us to process many different base materials as well as shapes, in our assistance with flash removal.


Zinc and aluminum cast parts usually require a soft metallic or resin bonded media, along with compounds to avoid gouging or impingement of parts.  Ceramic bonded media or metallic media are usually used on harder metal cast parts. 


Latem Industries Limited has been removing flashing for over 40 years.  Let us use our experience to assist you with your flash removal requirements.

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Ways to Combat Rust

Nobody wants rusty parts.  And nobody is happy when they find previously good parts are suddenly covered in 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.


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


Understanding Rust


What is rust – the short answer?


Rusting is defined as the chemical process in which there is a formation of red or orange coat on the surface of the metals. Rusting is a part of corrosion.


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.


Removing Rust


Latem Industries offers various processes to remove rust or corrosion from processed parts.  Let’s review some of these options.


Shot blasting


Compared to performing rust removal by hand, shot-blasting is significantly faster. It can be very cost effective as well.  The rusty part must be free of any moisture or oils before shot blasting, so a pre-wash/dry may be required.  Shot blasting will remove rust and many coatings, if required, from metal parts.  However, it can damage threads, or delicate surface areas. 


Vibratory finishing


Vibratory finishing is ideal for parts and components made of softer metals that would be susceptible to distortion or stresses in a tumbling process.  Using a combination of water, media and compounds inside a vibratory bowl, the friction the parts experience removes the rust.  Once the process is complete and the rust is gone, special rust inhibitors are added to the vibratory bowl to ensure the parts and components are protected from recurring corrosion.  Again, another very cost-effective way to do many parts at once.  Part size limitations due to bowl size can be a factor.


Tumble barrel finishing


Barrel tumbling is a mass metal finishing technique that can be used to remove rust. It involves placing rusty pieces into a horizontal barrel, along with compounds and sometimes finishing media, and using centrifugal force to work a clean surface. Excellent process with smaller parts.  Media lodging can be a concern.




Ultrasonic rust removal involves placing the rusted pieces into a cavitation bath.  Using special rust removal compounds, the rust is removed from the parts.  If pitting has occurred due to the rust, this pitting will not be removed in this process.  However, the ultrasonic process is excellent for threaded, frail, or delicate 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.


Latem Industries Limited offers each of these solutions to our customers.  If you are having issues with parts, small or large, contact Latem and let us work our magic!





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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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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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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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Metal finishing is a necessary step in numerous manufacturing industries. The finishing process has a substantial impact on the function, appearance and longevity of manufactured metal parts. The decision on whether to use metal finishing services in Canada or outsource the job overseas can also impact the final product.



Why choose a Canadian metal finisher? For some manufacturers, the choice may ultimately be a financial once. But there are other factors to consider when weighing the benefits of Canadian metal finishing versus finishing overseas.


1. Lead Time Required for Metal Finishing

Many metal finishing operations overseas are fast and efficient, able to process mass quantities of parts in a short time. But we can too!  Having parts finished overseas will always require a much greater lead time. There are no “rush orders” when your parts are an ocean away.


Canadian metal finishers can allow greater flexibility. The closer proximity to Canadian manufacturers means it’s feasible to accommodate unexpected orders or last-minute changes. Thousands of parts go through our factory floor and out the door each day, and our customers know we can get the job done when time is of the essence.


2. Transportation Costs

Whether you are manufacturing in Canada, or your end user is in Canada, having parts finished overseas can often mean greater transportation costs, especially when you’re dealing with large quantities of heavy metal parts.  Also, packaging costs can increase in order to avoid damage, rust, etc. 


In the current economic climate, it’s hard to predict how duties and  tariffs could change in the future, turning a lucrative overseas partnership into a financial headache.


Choosing a Canadian metal finisher provides far more clarity and stability in terms of cost.


3. Environmental Benefits

Today, the metal finishing and coating industries are more environmentally-friendly than ever before. However, they can still result in harmful by-products.

The metal finishing often follows a parts-washing process, which frequently involves the use of chemical solvents and cleaners. Depending on the finishing method of choice, the finishing process itself can produce wastewater, effluents, spent process solutions, and air emissions.


Here in Canada, metal finishers must conform to stringent industry standards and environmental regulations that ensure any waste is disposed of as safely as possible. Canadian metal finishers are also doing their part to achieve our provincial and national climate goals.


Unfortunately, this level of environmental protection is not a guarantee with metal finishers overseas.


4. Clear Communication

Email and VoIP technology has made it possible to communicate with foreign partners in an instant. Despite these advancements, miscommunication remains a problem for many Canadian manufacturers when it comes to outsourcing.   Again, if your manufacturing plant or end-user is in Canada, it behooves you to use a Canadian finisher due to the easy access and visitation distance.


5. Canadians Get the Job Done Right

Fact is, there’s no part of the metal finishing we can’t do in Canada. Canadian manufacturers who choose local finishers enjoy the benefit of a skilled, stable business partner get the job done to order.


Over the years, Latem Industries has continuously improved and expanded our operations to meet our customers’ changing needs. We’re proud to be a Canadian metal finishing company that support numerous North American manufacturing industries.   We are ISO approved, we are participants in Controlled Goods and we are a member of the MFJSA, (Mass Finishing Job Shop Association).


Let Latem Industries Limited be your Canadian Metal Finisher. Contact us today!

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Can burnishing help you?

Burnishing is a method of polishing and hardening the surface of a part.  Latem Industries Limited burnishes parts through the process of ball burnishing.  In this process, the part is brought into contact with steel balls.  The harder burnishing  balls run against the surface of the softer part, evening out microscopic peaks and valleys.  This reduces the roughness average or RA, while hardening the surface and producing a shiny finish.   While other processes can chip away at the surface, burnishing uses the tendency of metals to deform under stress.  This process in known as cold flow.  It results in a smooth texture and a shiny surface with superior strength. 



Metals that are commonly burnished include brass,  bronze, aluminum, stainless steel and copper.  Burnishing is often used to finish automotive parts such as pistons and transmissions parts.  It is also widely used in non-automotive parts such as plumbing fixtures and valves.  Decorative parts as well as jewelry are often burnished for the high shine it generates.


As mentioned, burnishing does more than just polish and shine.   By condensing the structure of the metal, it increased hardness.  A burnished part can range from 50%-100% harder than an unfinished part.  This also makes it more resistant to fatigue failure, as well as offering increased corrosion resistance.  In addition to increasing the visual of the part, it can also remove small surface imperfections. 


Can burnishing help you?  Give Latem a chance to shine! Contact us today.

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Have you ever had to toss out a whole batch of parts or components due to rust?


As a manufacturer, it’s on you to deliver parts and components that are strong, safe and corrosion-free...which can, unfortunately, force you to scrap parts or components affected by rust at your own expense.


It’s common knowledge that metals containing iron or steel are susceptible to corrosion. You’ve seen firsthand how a batch of components left exposed to air, moisture and oxygen can develop a layer of rust in no time.


The longer the exposure, the faster the process of oxidation occurs, especially under humid conditions!


Faced with this challenge, manufacturers like you trust Latem Industries to effectively remove rust and ensure manufactured parts perform better for longer. Here, we’ll review the advantages of vibratory finishing for rust removal by Canada’s Mass Finishing Experts!


Vibratory Finishing ‒ a Powerful Rust Removal Solution


Vibratory finishing processes are terrific for improving the surface of metal and removing dangerous burrs or sharp edges.


In addition to improving their safety and performance, vibratory finishing is highly effective at removing rust from manufactured parts or components.


Because it is a mass finishing process, vibratory finishing is a cost effective way to improve and protect large quantities of parts at the same time.


How Vibratory Finishing Removes Rust


Vibratory finishing processes consist of an operation in which cleaning compounds and specially-shaped media, along with rust removal compounds, are placed into a massive vibratory bowl. The size of the bowl can range from single-digit cubic foot machines to massive units well over 100 cubic feet! The rusted parts or components are then added into the bowl.

As the vibratory process begins, the machine and its contents vibrate at an accelerated rate (in the range of 900 to 3,600 vibrations per minute.) The vibratory action causes the contents of the bowl to move in a corkscrew pattern, pushing the finishing media up against the parts and components. As the parts or components brush up against each other and the media, their surfaces are cleaned of dirt, oil and rust.


Through proper process and media selection, it is feasible to finish a massive volume of parts in a relatively short period of time. Vibratory finishing is by far one of the most efficient and effective ways to remove rust in big batches!


In terms of its intensity, vibratory finishing falls somewhere between barrel tumbling and centrifugal finishing. Since there is no tumbling of parts, the process is a bit less aggressive (although no less effective) than tumbling. Vibratory finishing is ideal for parts and components made of softer metals that would be susceptible to distortion or stresses in a tumbling process.


Once the process is complete and the rust is gone, special rust inhibitors are added to the vibratory bowl to ensure the parts and components are protected from recurring corrosion.


The Best Way to Eliminate Rust


Left unchecked, rust can quickly and seriously compromise the safety of any structure, vehicle, or machines with iron or steel components.


Corrosion causes a weakening of parts as it slowly eats away at and degrades the strength of the steel. It also negatively impacts the painting or coating of steel due to a lack of adhesion on the unstable, rusted surface.


That’s why manufacturers like you turn to Latem Industries. We have lent our rust removal expertise to countless industries over the years, including manufacturers of automotive, sports and fitness products. Our ability to process several thousand parts at once means the cost to remove rust is negligible on a per-piece basis.


Contact us to learn about the many solutions we offer that add value to your business cycle!





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Finishing is an essential step in preparing fabricated metal parts and components for assembly and/or sale. The quality of the finish, including the application of protective coatings, will have a monumental impact on the product’s ultimate performance and longevity.


In other words, you need a mass finishing and coating partner you can trust, without fail, every single time.


We are proud to offer key advantages that will not only improve the quality of your products but help you cut costs and streamline your production as well!


1. One-Stop-Shop For Mass Finishing & Mass Coating

Latem Industries offers a full range of mass finishing processes, including parts washing, ultrasonic cleaning, blasting, peening, vibratory finishing, tumbling and sanding. We have close to a dozen vibratory units, multiple barrel tumblers, blasting and peening machines, two drum washers and what is quite possibly the largest commercial ultrasonic cleaning set up in Ontario.


Through our sister company Plastico Industries, we can also offer you numerous mass coating solutions. All our coating processes, including spray nylon and dip nylon coatings, Plastisol coatings, and Polyarmor coatings, are engineered to meet demanding automotive, heavy equipment and military specifications.


2. Smooth Pick Up and Delivery

Our 45,000 sq. ft. mass finishing and coating facility is conveniently located just off Highway 401 in Cambridge, Ontario. You’ve probably spotted our big blue sign on your commute!


Because of this location, we are able to offer shipping at a very competitive rate from the Kitchener area to the Greater Toronto Area.


For help with your trucking needs, call our Logistics Department 519-740-0292 ext. 247.


3. Industry-Leading Staff Expertise

With an ever-changing workload, experienced staff is a must. We invest in our employees through continuous education and training to stay ahead of the curve on all our processes and equipment.


You can count on Latem for a consistent, time-efficient finishing process each and every time.

4. Flexibility On Process and Volume

You’ll benefit from our flexibility in both sides of our businesses! Plastico and Latem Industries run two shifts a day, and many of our employees are cross-trained on a vast array of equipment and processes. This flexibility enables us to offer finishing and coating services for small runs, one-offs and prototypes in addition to mass production.


5. High-Quality Assurance

We have achieved recognition as an ISO 9001:2015 certified metal coater and finisher, demonstrating our commitment to the high level of quality and consistency our customers expect. Our most recent ISO audit was conducted in 2019 by The Registrar Company, a trusted certification body accredited by the ANSI-ANQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB).


See the ISO 9001:2015 Certificate of Registration for Plastico Industries and Latem Industries Ltd.


6. Experience and Technical Capability

Latem and Plastico have been in business for a combined 50+ years, polishing our processes and rounding the burrs that have come up along the way. We have plenty of experience putting out every kind of ‘fire’ that can pop up in mass parts manufacturing: sharp edges, rust, oil...the works!


Whether you’re dealing with a common manufacturing flaw or a brand-new product, you can count on us to come up with an ingenious solution.


7. Rapid Processing Time

You’ve got deadlines to meet! Finishing and coating are just two parts of a much bigger picture, and we know you can’t afford any delay.


With our well-trained staff and ample equipment, we’re able to commit to speedy processing times. We’re heavily automotive-based, so we’re well-acquainted with tight turnaround and the need for urgency.


Let our scheduling department impress you with what we can do!


8. Location, Location, Location

Did we mention we’re just minutes off the 401 in Cambridge, Ontario? Latem set up shop here for a reason! Not only are we able to deliver impressive shipping rates throughout the Greater Toronto Area, but we’re located in the heart of Southern Ontario’s manufacturing centre.


Latem Industries is proud to be the premier metal finisher in Southern Ontario.


9. Transparent, Competitive Pricing

To put it simply, we wouldn’t have stayed in business this long if we weren’t competitive! From closely watching efficiencies to improving processes and cycle times, Latem Industries is committed to offering competitive rates that help keep your production costs in check.


10. Environmentally Aware

Did you know our nylon powder coating is derived from Castor bean oils? Our Aquence coating is also environmentally sustainable, containing no heavy metals and very few volatile organic compounds (VOCs.) We also have an extensive wastewater treatment system that’d make a small city jealous!


Plastico and Latem Industries are committed to sustainability and constantly improving our environmental awareness.


At Latem Industries, we can say with confidence that you can count on us for your coating and finishing needs. You don’t have to take it from us - ask any of the hundreds of North American manufacturers who partnered with us over the years!


Call us at 1-888-664-9998 or reach out online to learn more about our mass coating and mass finishing services in Southern Ontario.

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