Mass finishing as a mechanical surface finishing method has been around since the mid 1950’s. But because it is a largely empirical process, it is still one of the least understood and under-appreciated manufacturing technologies. Many manufacturing engineers still consider mass finishing as “low tech” and pay little attention to properly setting up and optimizing their surface finishing process. The results are usually higher overall finishing costs, higher scrap rates and a lot of unnecessary rework. This blog post is the first in a series of four that is intended to provide some “tips” towards avoiding some of the most common mistakes.
Tip #1 – Mass finishing is more than meets the eye
The first mass finishing vibrators were exclusively used for simple deburring operations on mass produced parts, mainly in the automobile industry. In the beginning nobody was thinking about defined edge radiusing, precise surface roughness readings, pre-plate finishes or mirror image polishing. Today, mass finishing systems can produce practically any surface finish, from simple deburring to high gloss polishing on practically any kind of work piece.
But even today, for many people mass finishing is still simply a vibratory bowl filled with some “rocks”. Yet, it is a lot more! It embodies a relatively complex system with multiple elements that must be perfectly matched to each other in order to guarantee perfect finishing results. Specifically, these elements are: