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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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