New developments in deburring technology

May/June, 2011

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Almost all parts produced need some sort of deburring or finishing, making both of them important processes. Yet deburring and finishing are complicated processes.

These processes are not “one-size-fits-all” by any means. There are a lot of choices on the market, so job shops need to take time to find the machine that best fits their needs.

“Deburring is a critical part of the manufacturing process,” says Tony McCue, president of AM Machinery. “Not everything is plain vanilla.”

If a job shop goes to buy equipment without really knowing what they need, McCue stresses that they could end up wasting a lot of money. Thus, careful research is prudent.

This month, eFab Shop Magazine will be looking at new equipment and new developments for deburring and finishing in an attempt to help our readers with their research.

AM Machinery

AM Machinery recognized a need in the industry for a finishing machine that could process small flat parts without the need for a vacuum table or a magnetic table.

Yet, as an importer, AM Machinery doesn’t build any machines of its own.

“We’re constantly traveling the world to find out different equipment that can help in the manufacturing process,” says company president Tony McCue. “We cover a full spectrum of metal finishing processes, and we consider ourselves experts when it comes to any part of them.”

As a direct result of AM Machinery’s constant search for the best equipment in the industry, they found a new machine that has the ability to deburr small parts down to ¾” – the size of a quarter – and it can do it without the use of a vacuum or magnetic table.

“That’s revolutionary in this industry,” comments McCue.

This new machine will allow AM Machinery’s customers to deburr small flat parts much faster, more effectively and with substantial savings in cost, as well.

Job shops might normally process such a part by putting it into a tumbler, yet that process could take hours, depending on the severity of the burr.

The new machine greatly simplifies this process – put the part on the conveyor belt, and within seconds, it’s deburred.

And without such a machine, job shops could potentially be stuck processing small flat parts on a larger machine – that is no longer necessary.

“People used to process small parts by putting them in a fixture and running them through a big machine,” explains McCue.

Further, larger machines require higher horsepower motors, which aren’t very cost-effective when processing smaller parts. The new machine, designed for such parts, uses a low horsepower motor that’s less expensive to run.

The machine also offers other savings in cost, which are accomplished through eliminating the need for vacuum or magnetic tables, as mentioned earlier.

Small parts can be deburred without these tables, saving the customer from having to invest in their costly maintenance.

Another machine that AM Machinery offers is their Steel Master. It can change to perform a number of different applications such as graining, deburring and oxidation removal.

AM Machinery’s Steel Master is designed to meet the ever-changing needs of a job shop. It accomplishes this by being the only machine on the market that features changeable brush heads mentions McCue.

Brush media can also be changed. A top brush with stainless steel bristles could be changed to ceramic bristles from one day to the next, or even from one hour to the next – whatever is required by the customer.

“There’s a world of versatility opened up, not only just to the style of the brush, whether its a top brush or a barrel brush, but on each one of those different styles, you have a whole array of different media to deburr and grain,” comments Brett Mandes, vice president.

For a job shop, this means that a whole array of applications can be performed on a single machine.

Lissmac

Lissmac’s new SBM-L G1S2 machine offers customers the ability to do several different finishing processes on one machine – it can grind and round the edges of parts, as well as deburr them.

“With our conventional edge-rounding machine, it’s a little bit tough to remove high burr on the surface [of a part] — you have to grind it away,” says Thomas Weinfurtner, vice president. “So that’s the reason we invented this machine with the grinding belts in the front [on both the] top and bottom, and then with the edge-rounding belts as the next step inside the machine.”

Two key features of the SBM-L G1S2 are that it’s able to process both the top and bottom of a part in a single pass, and its ability to grind only those areas of the surface where necessary – where the burr is.

The first feature is accomplished through the machine’s unique setup. On both the top and bottom of the machine, there are three belts – two for edge rounding and one for grinding.

The edge-rounding belts run counter-clockwise with the first moving in a left-to-right direction and the second the opposite way. This design ensures that all edges of a part are able to be covered in a single pass.

Weinfurtner explains that this makes the cost of deburring each individual part cheaper.

“If you have a part 2 ft. or 3 ft. long and 1 ft. wide, and you debur all the edges by hand, you have to go all around it and then flip it over,” he says. “But with this machine, you put the part on the table, run it through, pick it up, and it’s done.

“It can save in consumable and labor costs, as well as improve the quality of the parts.”

In addition to consumable and labor costs, the setup also saves customers time. The machine makes flipping the part over and running it again to process the other side unnecessary.

Lissmac also designed the machine specifically to remove high burr.

“The former machine could only round the edges, and couldn’t really remove high burr,” explains Weinfurtner. “So the next logical step was to put a grinding unit in front of the edge-rounding belts to handle this high burr or any spots on the surface.”

Weinfurtner also mentions that the machine’s setup can take care of the secondary sharp edge created when grinding, as the grinding belt is followed by the edge-rounding belts on the machine.

The second feature, as mentioned earlier, is the machine’s ability to grind only where it’s needed, which results in customers saving on power consumption and costs for consumables like grinding media. This is possible because the machine is only processing specific spots, and not the entire surface.

Less power consumption and less demand on the grinding media will ultimately save the customer money.

Lissmac will also work with customers to give them a piece cost calculation at no obligation.

Metal Finish LLC

The strengths of Metal Finish LLC lie in the company’s ability to prep sheet metal for total paint quality for both precision sheet metal and heavy plate, as well as offering a truly modular machine.

According to Daniel Dechamps, president, during the past five years, the ability to create edges/parts that allow for total paint quality for both precision sheet metal and heavy plate evolved as a key application.

“Our topic is really not surface graining of flat parts – we focus on processes addressing the edge of the components,” says Dechamps.

“We can prep parts for total paint quality in one pass on our machines. Which means we can do edge-rounding and laser oxide removal and, if necessary, deburring – the removal of dross and slag in one single pass on one machine.”

Dechamps also specifies that their machines can remove laser oxide on material that has up to one inch thickness, round edges up to a 0.040 in. edge radius and remove dross from 3/16 up to 6 in. thick. All of this is possible in parts with a distortion of up to 0.25 in. and a thickness variation of up to 0.100 in.

This is critical for acceptable paint quality. Dechamps explains, “Based on tests performed by customers, interesting perspectives surfaced. If you don’t take care of laser oxide on a part, you are likely to have paint adhesion problems.

“Adhesion is strictly a function of removing enough oxide, which is roughly 70 percent. However, this will accomplish absolutely nothing in terms of reducing corrosion in painted parts.”

Dechamps says that the number one factor in improving this aspect of paint quality is the radius created by rounding sharp edges. A sharp edge will eventually wear through the paint coating, which leads to corrosion and allows moisture to dissipate into the oxide layer on the cutting surface. This results in even more adhesion defaults. Metal Finish’s machines have processing options that resolve both of these issues.

The second strength of the company is its truly modular concept for its machines.

“Before, if you said machines were modular, it meant that they had certain components, and you could configure your machine with those components as you liked,” says Dechamps. “But then you would be locked into that very machine after it was built and delivered. Some machines feature exchangeable tools which require setup time.”

Metal Finish’s new modular concept, however, allows for seamless integration of additional modules to an already configured and installed machine. The machine can be split apart at its module seams, and a new module is placed in between and connected to the existing machine’s power-supply and controls. “All you do is hook up a data cable to the main control and put in the new software, and then you have a new expanded machine configuration to meet your future needs,” says Dechamps.

Dechamps mentions that the thought process behind this is that a shop really can’t anticipate what they need when they first purchase equipment. Also when a shop starts out, they have a certain budget, and when they grow, they don’t want to buy a completely new machine. They just want to add a component as their needs and resources grow. “It’s really customer driven because they want the best flexibility,” he says.

This modular concept allows Metal Finish to offer a wide range of applications, combining them into one machine. “It’s really like a Lego kit,” Dechamps comments. “Both wet and dry processing are offered for all but one of the modules.”

Beyond the modular concept, Dechamps also points out that Metal Finish has the only machine that can reliably remove dross and slag in heavy plate up to 6 in. thick and weighing 3,000 lbs., even in parts with as much distortion as 1/4 in.

If needed, the parts can also be ground top and bottom in one pass, with restrictions to part size when grinding from the bottom. “Some of our customers with flame and plasma cutting applications experience ROIs under four months depending on the volume they are processing,” adds Dechamps. “This, in addition to the benefit of reducing lead times often by a day, is a huge contribution to a service company’s value stream.”

Timesavers

Timesavers has introduced a 9-in. wide, two-head belt/disc machine that has the ability to deburr very small parts.

Dewayne Kangas, the company’s sales manager, mentions that minimum length capability on most machines is dictated by the distance between the rubber hold-down rolls located before and after the sanding head. The shortest part that’s able to be deburred might be between five and 12 in. long, depending on the diameter of the sanding roll, but Timesavers’ new machine offers a way around this limitation.

“The new machine has a special conveyor belt with an inherent tackiness that, if the parts are clean, will allow us to deburr them down to the size of a penny,” Kangas explains.

This machine saves customers from the hassle of needing to deburr small parts manually or with a tumbler. “Depending on the size of the burr, the machine will feed at a rate of 15 or 20 FPM, meaning production rates can be very substantial” Kangas adds.

Timesavers offers many other models in addition to its small-part deburring machine, which is their 1221-11-05 model, but two popular models right now are the Puma and the 19MWT.

The Puma has from one to four heads, and can handle parts up to 52 in. wide for deburring and finishing sheet stock.

The 19MWT is a 19-in. wide machine available with one to four heads for deburring and finishing smaller parts. Kangas adds that it can also be an excellent machine for finishing bar and rectangular tube stock.

When it comes to deburring and finishing, there’s a huge range of equipment on the market. Therefore it’s important to take the time to consider your applications to find the best machine match.

AM Machinery
Lissmac
Metal Finish
Timesavers

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