in Vol. 10 - September Issue - Year 2009
A Day Without Mass Finishing
Products of daily use like coffee spoons are vibratory finished
In every car there are mass finished parts
Coin blanks are mass finished
On any given day, we can go through the whole day without giving a single thought to items that we use that were mass finished at some stage in their manufacturing process.
Most people do not need to relate to slide grinding, or vibratory finishing, or other variations that are used to eliminate sharp edges, or improve the surface finish of the component.
Most people, in fact, do not relate to processes or discussions about stampings, powdered metal parts, die castings and other terms from the manufacturing industry.
However, if we progress through the day, it is surprising how many items that we encounter are mass finished.
The day may start with a cup of coffee. The heating plate of the coffee maker is vibratory finished, and the surface prepared for soldering. Poor surface preparation, and we have a defective heating element connection, and the coffee is cold.
Typically, the spoon to add the sugar, and stir in the cream is stamped, and without deburring, the edges might be sharp, and cut the user’s mouth. Most people would recognize the need for safe utensils.
Ceramic plates can be vibratory finished prior to glazing, although few people would acknowledge that while they are having toast.
The routine of washing the plates requires water from a faucet, which can use plastic media and vibratory or centrifugal finishing as part of the manufacturing process. The drain basket in the kitchen sink is also probably processed in similar way, perhaps being burnished using steel media.
Many men use an electric razor as part of their daily routine. The very fine foil of the razor can be finished to improve the quality of shave.
Leaving the house usually requires the use of a key in the door lock. Mass finishing is commonly employed in this industry.
We just expect our cars to be reliable, but so many of the assembly components are mass finished to exacting specifications. The more consistent the manufacturing is, the more reliable the vehicle is likely to be.
The variety of automotive components that are mass finished is really quite astonishing to those who are not typically involved in the manufacturing process.
Aluminum rims can be drag finished. Components of the seat belt assembly must be deburred for reliable operation. Pins and links for timing chain are mass finished in centrifugal disc or barrel to new and critical specifications that improve the operating life of the car.
Other components that usually don’t get consideration, but are appreciated every day, include audio speakers, shift levers, door hinges, door closing mechanicals, brake pads, and other components that might be appreciated for their appearance, such as wheel nuts, and perhaps the wrenches and socket ratchets in the tool kit.
A drive through fast food restaurant might be a quick stop during the day. Typically, a small purchase will be made with coins from our spare change. Many people are surprised to learn that coins are mass produced following a process of burnishing, or automated centrifugal finishing, another mass finishing technology.
Mass finishing is given very little acknowledgement in a typical day, but a day that is not directly touched by the technology would be a day without most of the items we use, but take for granted.
It is the process of mass finishing that gives us the quality of products that we enjoy in our daily lives, and it is that quality of life that gives us those good vibrations.
by Mathieu Geuting
Spaleck Oberflächentechnik GmbH & Co. KG