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Deburring/Finishing

Honing satisfaction

Above: Wolfram Manufacturing uses both coarse and fine-grit hones to achieve desired finishes.

Bringing abrasive operations in-house decreases cycle time in machine shops

March 2018 - Standing out in a crowded, highly competitive market is difficult; however, one way that companies can rise above their competitors is speed. For contract part manufacturers, the ability to produce tight-tolerance parts at a faster rate helps them remain profitable, and they constantly seek creative ways to improve on overall cycle time, including improving metal finishing operations.

Often, machine shops are focused primarily on their main job—machining. Sometimes they have auxiliary finishing equipment, but many shops send parts out for secondary finishing operations, such as thermal deburring, tumbling and burnishing.

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Tim Urano, Wolfram's quality manager, says that incorporating secondary operations right into the machining process saves time and money.

Austin, Texas-based Wolfram Manufacturing, a job shop that machines metal parts with complex geometries on 4- and 5-axis machines, found that sending out parts for secondary finishing not only added to the total cost of the part but also affected part quality and increased the time it took to deliver them to customers.

“There’s the additional time, not to mention the additional cost of having someone else do the work. We’re often faced with [demands for] short lead times from customers,” says Tim Urano, Wolfram’s quality manager. “Having to send parts to an outside vendor eats into our lead time and takes significant planning.”

Incorporate secondary operations

A better alternative for many machine shops, says Urano, is to incorporate machine tools that can complete the finishing tasks within the machining process.

“Any time we can incorporate secondary operations right into the machining process, we save time and money, and reduce our work in progress,” he adds.

For one of its customers, Wolfram produces a unique part for a sliding valve assembly. Sliding valves are used to direct the flow of a working fluid into the proper channel. In this case, the assembly is part of a larger product used in a pressurized down-hole drilling tool.

To operate properly, the valves use O-rings that must be seated correctly and maintain tight contact with the bore without getting cut by any sharp edges from intersecting holes or undercuts. As a result, the part has complex internal geometries and requires a high surface finish on the internal bore and the elimination of any sharp edges from drilling.

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Crosshole deburring before (left) and after (right) using the Flex-Hone.

“The customer’s primary concern is that the O-ring seal is protected from being cut or damaged by any sharp edges or burrs,” says Urano. To remove burrs, the company uses the Flex-Hone tool from Brush Research Mfg. Co., Los Angeles. The specialized abrasive tool has small abrasive globules permanently mounted to flexible filaments. This flexibility allows it to produce a controlled surface condition.

Flex-Hone brushes are available in many sizes, abrasive types and grits, and can be used for deburring, edge-blending, cross-hatching, and for removing cut, torn or folded metal.

“It’s very easy to put the flexible hone in a toolholder, give it a simple tool-path cycle and let it run. Some of the other in-machine deburring tools need complex 4- or 5-axis paths to be effective,” explains Urano.

Consistent results

For the sliding valve assembly, Wolfram Manufacturing needed to reliably remove burrs and sharp edges from the cross-drilled holes and other difficult-to-access areas, such as undercuts. Parts that weren’t properly finished wouldn’t meet the customer’s requirements.

“The part has some undercuts and some intersecting cross-holes, so we use the tool to edge break and help blend the chamfers at the same time,” says Urano. “The hone is one of the only tools that can reach that edge. It doesn’t alter the feature geometry, but it rounds it enough that it won’t damage the O-ring.”

FFJ 0318 deburring image3

The best solution for many shops is to incorporate tools that can complete finishing tasks within the machining process.

A high surface finish is called for on the internal bores where the valve assembly actuates. As part of a multi-step process, Wolfram Manufacturing utilizes a coarse grit Flex-Hone to smooth out any irregularities left during drilling and finishes the bore with a fine grit hone.

“Final finishing operations don’t accommodate much variation, so they need the uniform surface preparation that the flexible hone provides,” explains Urano. “By using these tools, we can achieve more consistent results.”

Although Flex-Hones are often used with automated production equipment, they can also be used for offline deburring. And, if any damage occurs to the bore finish during post-processing or inspection, Wolfram is able to go back in with the hone and clean it up.

Urano says that Wolfram Manufacturing will continue to use the Flex-Hone tools. “Whenever we see applications with intersecting holes or particular surface finishing requirements in a bore, it’s one of the first tools we will go to.” FFJ

Sources

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AIR FILTRATION

HYDRAULIC PRESSES

NESTING SOFTWARE

SERVICE CENTERS

Camfil APC - Equipment Beckwood Press Co. Metamation Inc. Admiral Steel
Camfil APC - Replacement Filters Triform

PLASMA TECHNOLOGY

Alliance Steel
Donaldson Company Inc.

LASER TECHNOLOGY

Messer Cutting Systems Inc.

SOFTWARE

BENDING/FOLDING

AMADA AMERICA, INC.

PLATE

Enmark Systems Inc.
MetalForming Inc. Mazak Optonics Corp. Peddinghaus Lantek Systems Inc.
RAS Systems LLC MC Machinery Systems Inc.

PLATE & ANGLE ROLLS

SigmaTEK Systems LLC

BEVELING

Murata Machinery, USA, Inc. Davi Inc. Striker Systems
Steelmax Tools LLC TRUMPF Inc.

PRESS BRAKE TOOLING

STAMPING/PRESSES

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LINEAR POSITION SENSORS

Mate Precision Tooling AIDA-America Corp.
Bradbury Group MTS Sensors Rolleri USA

STEEL

Burghardt + Schmidt Group

MATERIAL HANDLING

PRESS BRAKES

Alliance Steel
Butech Bliss Fehr Warehouse Solutions Inc. AMADA AMERICA, INC.

TUBE & PIPE

Red Bud Industries UFP Industrial Automec Inc. BLM Group
Tishken

MEASUREMENT & QUALITY CONTROL

MC Machinery Systems Inc. Prudential Stainless & Alloys

CONVEYOR SYSTEMS

Advanced Gauging Technologies SafanDarley

WATERJET

Mayfran International

METAL FABRICATION MACHINERY

PUNCHING

Barton International

DEBURRING/FINISHING

Cincinnati Inc. Hougen Manufacturing Flow International Corporation
ATI Industrial Automation LVD Strippit

SAWING

Jet Edge Waterjet Systems
Lissmac Corp. Scotchman Industries Inc. Behringer Saws Inc.

WELDING

Osborn Trilogy Machinery Inc. DoALL Sawing American Weldquip
SuperMax Tools

METAL FORMING

HE&M Saw Strong Hand Tools
Timesavers FAGOR Arrasate USA Inc. Savage Saws T. J. Snow Company

 

MetalForming Inc.

 

 

 

MICROFINISHING TOOLS

 

 

 

Titan Tool Supply Inc.

 

 


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