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Negative side effects when machining surfaces with vibratory finishing

Updated: Aug 31, 2023

The term 'side effects' is usually associated with something rather negative from the outset. This is not always the case, but here we deal with the negative 'side effects'.

There are vibratory finishing operations that give us the desired or expected result on the important parts of the workpiece, but in some cases the result achieved is associated with a side effect that may have a negative impact on the result of the surface finish.

This is because vibratory finishing is usually a holistic process. We cannot specifically machine corners and edges, but only completely or not at all. At least when machining in centrifugal disc finishing machines, trough vibrators or drums.

Material removal and shape changes: Material removal occurs mainly on exposed areas of the workpiece. With softer workpieces or longer machining times, undesirable dimensional changes can be produced here, which must be taken into account in precision-critical applications, e.g. by rate action. In the case of sensitive or complex workpieces, asymmetrical material removal can cause changes in shape due to edges and corners that are partially too rounded or deformation due to the application of too much force. Typical examples of this are the rounding at a "deliberate" needle point or at the tip circle of a gear wheel.

Surface roughness: Although vibratory finishing is often used to improve surface quality, in some cases unwanted surface roughness can occur. This can occur when abrasives that are too abrasive are used to remove heavy burrs. In this case, it may be necessary to restore or improve the surface quality with smoothing abrasives in a second step.

Part loss: Smallest or thin-walled parts could be damaged or even completely lost through the gap in the vibratory finishing process, especially in the disc centrifugal system. This can be minimised by suitable process control or design, even for these workpieces.

Corrosion: Corrosion can occur after vibratory finishing, especially if the workpieces are not properly dried or protected from corrosion. This can be temporarily counteracted by suitable corrosion protection mechanisms in the compound.

Abrasive residues: Abrasive wear can be deposited on the workpieces and leave abrasive residues after the process. These must be removed after vibratory finishing by washing or drying in the medium so as not to impair the functionality or appearance of the workpieces.

To minimise these side effects, it is important to carefully plan the vibratory finishing process, select the right abrasives and machining parameters, and take appropriate measures for surface cleaning and preservation after the process.


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