When To Use Tumble Polishing For Parts
Barrel finishing or polishing may also be called tumble polishing in some locations. It is well named regardless of the term used as is literally involves putting a large or small quality of parts or components in a barrel with a mixture of different media, water and compounds and then rotated to create a tumbling effect.
In tumble polishing, both the movement of the media against the parts as well as the parts against each other have an effect on the surface. The speed of the rotation of the barrel, the choice of specific media and even the type of compounds in the barrel will all impact the polishing effect.
As a process, barrel finishing can be used for everything from radiusing, or rounding the sharp edges of a part, through to deburring, descaling, deflashing and for polishing.
Wet and Dry Tumbling
Both wet and dry tumble polishing can be used on components and parts. Wet types of polishing or processing often include barrels with lined interiors that protect both the barrel as well as the parts. Different water levels, different speeds of rotation and different compounds added to the water will all impact the final look of the parts coming out of the barrel.
Dry tumbling includes using either an organic type of material or an inorganic material such as ceramic or plastic. In some cases, they may be combined based on the type of materials being polished or processed using the technique.
Time and Cost
The benefits of this type of metal or material finishing are that it is fast, requires limited manual handling of materials, and allows for large volume orders to be processed quickly.
The time involved in the actual polishing will be dependent on the factors mentioned above as well as the type of compound and media selected to achieve the desired finish. The material that the components are made of also has to be carefully considered as polishing too fast or too slow will result in either damaged parts or inefficiency throughput.
With new technology, the process of barrel polishing is very accurate and produces quality finishes that are smooth, even and uniform across even more complex shapes. Experience and expertise in working with various materials will be the most important factor to consider as this will allow the right combination of components, chemicals and physical processes are used on every order.