When a metal product comes off the assembly, it is usually far from being ready for sale. These products are not complete. They are unfinished. In order to get them ready they need to be finished. This can take many forms using a variety of techniques. Surface finishing is a term applied to an extensive number of techniques that will help prepare the component or other item for the marketplace.
Types of Surface Finishing
Various treatments are employed by finishing companies to help improve the surface of a component. They encompass diverse techniques and involve specific materials. From deburring to honing to superfinishing, some finishing companies handle them all. Others, however, restrict themselves to a few specific types. They may specialize in mass finishing processes. These work ideally with large numbers of components. Manufacturers often prefer this approach because, frequently, it is can more quickly accomplished and may feature a quick turn-around at a reasonable cost.
Among the prevalent methods or treatments of mass finishing are:
* Barrel finishing
* Centrifugal finishing
* Spindle finishing
* Vibratory finishing
All these techniques have one intent – to rapidly provide the mill surface of the manufactured item with specific desirable qualities.
Why Finish the Mill Surface?
A mill surface is often rough and unfinished. A simple finishing process can improve a number of aspects. It can alter the appearance of the surface, making it smoother, brighter and far more appealing.
This is superficial, but it can increase the perceived worth of an item. Yet, this is not the main reason behind the finishing of most products. In fact, this may be simply a sidebar, an added benefit. Engineers and technicians are looking for more. They want to improve upon the overall capabilities or qualities of a mill surface. They are intent on imbuing the item with several desirable and even essential characteristics including:
* Protection against the corrosive elements of air and water
* Improved resistance against a variety of forces that influence the wear and tear on the component
* Modification of electrical conductivity and resistance
* Ability to effectively tolerate to torsion and other similar movements
* Enhanced solderability
* Enriched tarnish resistance
* Augmented resistance to chemicals
* Better hardness and durability
* Greater bonding capability
Depending upon the component, the type of mill surface, the technique and the intent, the resulting product may exhibit some or all of the above qualities.
Surface Finishing: An Enhancement Process
When it comes to improving a product, manufacturers take the product to a finisher. They seek improvements in appearance, durability, longevity and overall capabilities. They are looking for a product that looks good, functions to perfection and will satisfy everyone – engineer and consumer alike. For manufacturers, surface finishing is not an option, it is essential if they want their product to perform to the level of expectation and beyond.
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