Finer finish

By Gretchen Salois

Above: The wear compensation gauge on the SBM-L G1S2 1500 measures the wear on the sanding block stations and automatically compensates as material runs through the machine.

Shifting to a hands-free process saves time while considering operator safety and fatigue

December 2019 - Higher demand requires amped-up production, which requires operators to move quickly throughout the shop floor while managing additional work.

“We’re a job shop and cater to a lot of OEMs,” says Tom Carroll, co-owner of Pro Metal Works Inc., DeForest, Wisconsin. “The type of equipment we run to stay competitive includes CNC lasers and CNC punch lasers with fully automated material handling systems that allow us to run around the clock. We wanted to optimize efficiencies while reducing physical stress on our operators.”

A customer approached Pro Metal Works with a job requiring UL1439 safety tests for edge sharpness on 20-gauge grade 304 stainless steel. “This standard is put in place so consumers don’t cut themselves when using the finished product,” explains Jim Grunewald, director of operations.

FFJ 1219 deburring image1

With the Lissmac unit, users can engage the stations needed based on the processing required for the part.

Pro Metal studied its options for edge rounding machines before selecting the SBM-L G1S2 1500 from Lissmac. “The big advantage to us was the ability to process both the top and bottom in one pass,” says Grunewald. “Other machines we looked at needed two separate operations to process both the top and bottom.”

The control package was another deciding factor. With the Lissmac unit, users can engage the stations needed based on the processing required for the part. “The user interface is simple to maneuver and easy for our machine operators to use,” Grunewald notes.

Automatic adjustments

Pro Metal purchased a wear compensation gauge for its SBM-L G1S2 1500, which measures the wear on the sanding block stations and automatically compensates for any wear on the sanding block as material is run through the machine.

As a result, “parts are consistent from the first part to the last part of a production run. You’re not asking an operator to visually inspect the edge and make adjustments during the production run,” Grunewald says.

Total wear compensation will automatically adjust the sand blocks into the part as the sand blocks wear down. “In the past, the operator had to open the machine to monitor and adjust for sand block wear,” says Tim Corley, director of sales for metal processing machines at Lissmac.

Tool changes are also faster and simpler. By merely touching the command screen, the operator is able to raise and lower the grinding belts and sand blocks when it is time for belt changes.

All Lissmac SBM machines will remove a vertical burr formed on some parts, but the machine also has sand block belts to round a part’s top and bottom edges as well as interior cut-outs/holes in one pass.

FFJ 1219 deburring image2

The Lissmac SBM-L G1S2 has a Siemens S7 controls package and PLC that are easy to operate. “The control allows the worker to simply touch the screen to activate the top, bottom or all heads either on or off,” Corley says. “More than 2,000 part-specific programs can be saved” directly onto the machine.

After running some trial parts, Pro Metal made its first production run on a demo machine. “We were able to get started using [that] machine while we waited to have ours delivered and installed,” recalls Grunewald.

Pro Metal noticed process improvements immediately. “Before, we had to hand deburr parts or in some cases round an edge by hand,” he says. “Now we can more effectively use that labor elsewhere in the shop while getting a much more consistent product using the Lissmac machine.”

The SBM-L G1S2 is able to remove vertical burrs and round the outside edges and interior cut-outs in one pass, whether from laser or waterjet cutting or punching.

“If your laser parts don’t have vertical burrs, dross or fuzz, you can turn off the grinding belts and just use the sand blocks for edge rounding,” explains Glenn Miller, regional sales representative for Lissmac.

Stainless or aluminum with PVC coating to protect special finishes can be processed through the machine without removing the coating on the parts. The Lissmac also allows customers to increase paint adhesion in order to prevent premature rust.

“OEMs have dealers all over the world,” Corley says. Transporting material across oceans exposes it to high winds and salt water.

“The consistent edge rounding provided by Lissmac SBM machines has proven to provide long lasting paint quality, and less reworking from paint failure or premature rust, which is better for paint warranties,” he continues.

In addition to applications in agricultural, transportation and forestry equipment, Lissmac’s edge rounding capabilities also benefit the food equipment industry. “While the cutting speeds of new fiber lasers have helped customers create more parts in a day, the edges tend to be very sharp,” explains Miller. “The parts will be safely and consistently deburred using our machine versus the old way,” which meant additional labor. The machine does the work instead of manual grinding by operators, making it easier for companies to redistribute people to other sections of finishing and assembly operations.

FFJ 1219 deburring image3

In addition to removing vertical burrs formed on some parts, the Lissmac has sanding block belts that will round a part's top and bottom edges as well as interior cut-outs/holes in one pass.

Made to order

One customer tasked Pro Metal with smoothing the edges of metal seats. “Our customer then upholsters these seats so they can’t have sharp edges,” says co-owner Carroll. “This was a big manual process before we got the Lissmac. Now we have completely eliminated the manual side of it and the customer is happier knowing we can take care of edges faster.”

Pro Metal originally had to quote parts, which included the edges machined with radii by an outside vendor. By bringing this capability in house, the savings are passed on to the customer.

“It opened the door for us working with this particular customer as well as others because we can do more [in house], quickly.”

Operator fatigue and safety is a constant concern, particularly ailments like carpal tunnel syndrome from manual deburring. Adding the Lissmac SBM-L G12S 1500 model has eliminated some manual deburring.

“Investing in automation and manufacturing technology is what will make the difference when putting our shop’s capabilities up against competitors,” Carroll says. FFJ



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