Skipping extra steps

By Gretchen Salois

Above: The SBM-M 1500 S2 performs light deburring and edge rounding on parts up to 59.07 in. wide.

Eliminating secondary processing helps skilled workers focus on more vital tasks

October 2014 - Sometimes the best solution is the simplest. When smoothing out edges for each order takes up too many man hours, it’s time to rethink strategy. For one company, upgrading equipment meant adding an edge conditioning machine to free up workers for other tasks.

A fully integrated sheet metal fabricator, All Metals provides custom manufacturing solutions. Needing to modernize, it purchased the SBM-M 1500 S2 from Lissmac Corp. in July 2013. The machine performs light deburring and edge rounding on parts up to 59.07 in. wide. “Our other deburring machines were constantly breaking down so we wanted to upgrade and improve efficiency,” says All Metals CEO Lance Thrailkill.

Clients come from sectors including telecommunications, alternative energy, industrial printing, oil and gas, medical, automotive, postal sorting machinery, banking and currency handling, and commercial kitchen equipment. “The Lissmac has helped us improve efficiency by reducing the time required to deburr parts,” Thrailkill says, adding that because the unit deburrs both sides of the part simultaneously, it reduces work time by half.

Almost all customer segments now require some kind of edge conditioning, says Tim Corley, Midwest regional sales manager for Lissmac. The deburring machine comes in two widths, 1,000 mm or 1,500 mm. Minimum part lengths are 6 in. “We are getting customers from all industries—veterinary lab equipment, agriculture, construction, food grade, telecom, power generation and medical are industries we see the most,” he says. “Edge rounding not only provides a safer part with no sharp edges, it can also help provide better paint adhesion. If you look at a part that has no edge rounding versus a part that has edge rounding, you will notice that there is not very much paint on the top and bottom edge of a laser-cut part.”


One-pass process

Deburring material in one pass saves handling and labor costs associated with the process. “If you have a different brand that only does the top side, you have to handle the part for the second time and run it through the machine again,” Corley says. “With the Lissmac machine, depending on which width you buy, you can set multiple parts across the working width of the machine and get the top, bottom, inside contours and all the edges in one pass.”

Corley recounts an example with a particular customer that had a stainless steel part with numerous cutouts and holes. “They were deburring/edge rounding the top and bottom of those parts by hand,” Corley says. “It would take 15 to 20 minutes to do it manually [per part]. With the Lissmac machine they were able to process the top and bottom in one pass in less than three minutes.” 

Lissmac’s machine processes uncoated carbon and stainless steel, aluminum, copper, galvanized steel and titanium. “Our SBM line of machines are dry, but if doing certain materials such as aluminum, we would recommend a wet dust collector,” Corley adds.

Two sets of sanding/edge rounding blocks attach to a belt that works from the top and two sets of sanding/edge rounding blocks attach to a belt working from the bottom. The belts run in opposing directions to ensure the part is getting edge rounding on each and every angle. The sanding/edge rounding belts run perpendicular to the feed direction of the parts being processed. This allows for consistent and slow wear of all sanding blocks no matter where the parts are placed on the conveyor, says Corley. 

Once the conveyor feeds parts inside the machine, pinch rollers grab the material while the belts work the top and bottom of each part. The sand belts are positioned between three pinch rollers. “Therefore, our machine can process the top and bottom of a part in one pass,” he says.

The individual sand blocks do not touch the conveyor or pinch roller, only the part. The operator can electronically adjust for material thickness, speed and the amount of pressure desired to achieve a rounded edge.

The blocks are made of sand paper and woven support material and are designed to hit the edges with pressure and then glide over the surface of the part. Stainless steel parts with a PVC coating to protect the  finish can be processed, too, while the coating remains intact. 


Trouble-free throughput

Using the Lissmac is easy, according to Will Shea, deburr department head at All Metals. “When you get the parts, you simply adjust the height based on the thickness of the material. Then you set the speed based on the size of the burrs and the length of the part. Lastly, you start feeding the parts into the machine.”

An example of a cosmetic part All Metals fabricates is stainless steel printing equipment. “The chassis and doors are run through the Lissmac during production,” says Thrailkill. Any secondary processing is unnecessary. “...You do not have to run the parts through on both sides. The Lissmac removes the burrs and sharp edges and puts a consistent finish on the parts with just one pass through the machine.” 

The SBM-M S2 and SBM-L G1S2—which features grinding belts for taller burrs—can process materials up to 2 in. thick. “If customers have requirements going thicker, they would need to step into our SBM-XL G2S2 machine. The G2S2 can process the top and bottom of parts up to 4.75 in. thick,” Corley says. 

“We typically see the G2S2 in steel service centers that cut with plasma or oxy-fuel. We also have a machine for oxide removal (SBM-M B2) and manufacture surface processing machines which can grind and grain parts: Steelmaster.” 

Lissmac acquired Steelmaster three years ago to complement its own product line. “Steelmaster machines can have up to four heads—consisting of any combination of wide belt, top brush and belt brush,” Corley says. “This is more a surface finishing machine than a Lissmac SBM, which works on edges. Steelmaster is a single-side process whereas the Lissmac is two-sided.”

Simple smoothness

The best way to judge Lissmac’s edge rounding capabilities is to send some sample parts to its U.S.-based headquarters in Waterford, New York. “We encourage customers to send sample parts,” he says. “Processing sample parts and giving the customer a number of different machine combinations will help us give the best solution and the right machine for their application.”

Lissmac has tested rounding edges of steel for customers that need to apply paint. “We conducted salt spray tests on parts that had the oxide removed and the edges rounded versus no oxide removal and no edge rounding,” Corley says. “After 240 hours of a salt spray test, there was no evidence of rust on the parts processed by Lissmac’s SBM-M S2 and SBM-M B2. The edge rounding and oxide removal provided the best paint adhesion.”

Because it’s a dry machine, corrosion is not an issue, Corley adds. Edges that are deburred off fall into a tray in the bottom of the machine. Finer particles are carried to the dust collector. Many machines on the market that grind and deburr are wet machines and do not have a dust collector. Wet machines use water that sprays on to the abrasives and parts to keep dangerous dust contained, Corley explains. 

Upkeep of the machine has also been hassle-free for All Metals. “All you have to do is vacuum out the machine weekly and replace the brushes occasionally,” Shea says. “This is drastically different from our other machines that are constantly having issues. The ease of use and reliability of the machine makes it one of the best in our shop.” FFJ


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