Centrifugal Barrel Finishing
Thursday, October 8, 2020
Centrifugal Barrel Finishing (CBF) is a high-energy finishing method where Centrifugal Barrel Machines are used. These machines are typically made up of two or four individual barrels (or drums) mounted on the outer edge of a turret. The turret is rotated in one direction, causing the barrels to rotate in the opposite direction creating very high G-forces or pressures, as well as considerable media sliding action within the drums. The movement mimics that of a ferris wheel. This action is due to either a Timing Belt, V-Belts or Chain that is connected between the main shaft and the centerline of the 4 barrels. In operation, this turret rotation creates a high centrifugal force. This force compresses the load into a tight mass causing the media and parts to slide against each other removing burrs and creating a superior finish. Short cycle times are realized as a result of the high centrifugal energy being applied to the parts.
Barrel tumblers work well for jobs requiring heavy burr removal. They are also good for burnishing, rapid radiusing of edges, heavy deburring with or without media and tumbling die-castings to break the parts off the runner. They are also a good choice for very heavy loads that will not run well in a vibratory machine where the media alone can sometimes weigh up to 300 lb per cubic foot. When estimating the capacity required, keep in mind that barrel tumblers run best 50% full.
Wet barrel finishing is a batch system for removing excess material or polishing parts, employing water and other agents to form radii, remove burrs, improve surface appearance, polish and clean. Wet barrel finishing works well for processing metal. Wet barrel finishing equipment may sometimes be used in dry tumbling operations.
Dry barrel finishing is a batch system for mass polishing or removing excess material from plastic or metal parts without liquids by tumbling them in a media and compound mixture. This process is valuable for finishing very delicate parts that would be damaged in a wet barrel. A dry system produces a smoother and higher finish. The finished parts have more of a hand-buffed appearance with greater uniformity. The result is something very difficult to do with hand finishing methods.
Although most methods for barrel finishing employ a wet process, dry tumbling has some definite advantages in particular cases. Some factories are not set up to handle large quantities of water, making wet tumbling impossible. Dry tumbling may be used under such circumstances to eliminate hand finishing.
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