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Deburring/Finishing

Saving steps

By Gretchen Salois

Demand prompted a two-in-one finishing tool

March 2016 - With MIG welding, achieving a flawless finish cannot come at the cost of discoloration due to excessive heat buildup. To achieve the desired effect in a quick and uncomplicated manner while not removing, or gouging, the parent material proves worthwhile.

After Walter Surface Technologies received positive customer feedback for its Enduro-Flex deburring and finishing tool, the company found “the product quickly became a success as a one-step solution for achieving a sanitary finish needed in the food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries,” says Jonathan Douville, product manager for finishing solutions.

The tool can be used by other industries that consume steel and aluminum but “the removal rate and the finish are not optimal for those specific end-users,” Douville says. So Walter developed a more aggressive solution—the Enduro-Flex 2-in-1 Turbo.

Cyclone technology

High removal rates leave few options when it comes to removing burrs and welds without damaging the overall material. Walter’s Cyclone technology was created with the intent to quickly remove burrs and welds. “These engineered grains and cooling agents are designed and tested under some of the highest pressures and temperatures,” Douville says. The Cyclone technology’s orange coating acts as a lubricant which will increase the speed when removing burrs and metal while at the same time lowering the temperature, which is particularly useful when working with harder metals. 

Cyclone technology was introduced in 2010, followed by Blendex technology in 2013. “Since 2014, we have been working on merging both technologies together to deliver the Enduro-Flex 2-in-1 Turbo,” says Douville. 

Walter addressed TIG welds on stainless with its initial Enduro-Flex 2-in-1. The latest Turbo version is specifically designed for MIG welds, which are typically larger and take more time to remove. “The need for cooling agents becomes imperative as heat will build up and discoloration must be avoided,” he says. Self-sharpening grains increase removal rates. The original Enduro-Flex 2-in-1 does not use Cyclone technology since the removal rate is not the main objective “but rather a sanitary finish on stainless steel,” he explains.

Mixing metals is not an option and specific abrasives work better for specific metals. “A good example of contamination is stainless steel by carbon steel,” explains Douville. “Stainless steel can rust if treated with an abrasive that was previously used on carbon steel.”

Burrs and edges resulting from laser and plasma cutting are typically heavy. Blending the burrs requires an aggressive abrasive that will remove burred edges without changing or harming the parent material. Blendex was developed for surface conditioning. “Pairing it with Cyclone technology allows the Enduro-Flex 2-in-1 Turbo to have an extremely high removal rate but at the same time, provides a consistent surface finish,” Douville says.

FFJ 0316 deburr image1

Cyclone technology allows the Enduro-Flex 2-in-1 Turbo to have an extremely high removal rate but at the same time, provides a consistent surface finish.

Comparative advantage

To break down the differences between typical burr removal methods and what is possible using Walter’s Enduro-Flex 2-in-1 Turbo, Douville compares two common dilemmas experienced by customers. A customer tackles a job normally consisting of 18 ft. of welds, which are cut down with 24-grit flap discs and cleaned up with a 60-grit flat disc, says Douville. “This process currently takes 75 minutes to finish.”

Walter’s latest solution includes the customer running the Enduro-Flex 2-in-1 Turbo at a 3,500 rpm to grind and finish 18 ft. of welds. “The process took 27 minutes to accomplish a paint-ready finish,” he says. The customer was able to obtain a high and fast removal rate and accomplish “his required paint-ready finish in one step without any final finishing touchup, saving him over 65 percent in labor time.”

Instant polish 

Finishing parts by polishing pieces quickly using pre-applied discs and belts are “breakthrough innovations,” says Douville. “They allow metal finishers to polish in a matter of seconds.” Discs are available for circular finishing, producing a reflective finish on a smaller surface. 

Belts are available for larger surface polishing. “The standalone paste can be applied on cotton wheels or felt materials for end users who already have a process in place using standalone paste,” he says, resulting in only needing one product to get the finish.

After years discussing polishing with customers, Walter saw a need to produce an easier method to produce mirror finishes. “It’s one of those techniques that requires a high level of expertise,” Douville says. “Typically perfecting the #8-mirror finish is a skill only a few individuals within a company can master—metal polishers are hard to find.” 

A customer in Colorado tested the new product, called Instant Polish. After polishing a 2 in.-by-2 in.-by 28 in. long stainless steel 316 bar from a 2B finish to a mirror finish, Walter confirmed how much faster it worked compared with other methods. 

The process the metal fabricator used previously involved running a drum belt in a fine grade, followed by running a superfine drum belt. Step three was running a polish compound on a felt drum. “This process takes the polisher one hour to complete a total of three pieces of stock (all four sides),” says Douville. “We started the finish with Walter Instant Polish Drum Belts running each piece at a 2,000 rpm on the Line-Mate. With one step, Walter’s process took 40 minutes to complete, saving 20 minutess.

The most common complaint Walter receives is how dirty finishing processes tend to be. Avoiding contamination was difficult from one paste to the other. Having a single-step solution helps diminish the mess, Douville says. “On top of that, having it pre-applied makes the whole process faster and more consistent as the amount of paste applied on the felt is always the same.” FFJ

Sources

  • Walter Surface Technologies
    Windsor, Connecticut
    phone: 860/298-1100
    www.walter.com
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