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The vibratory finishing process is the movement of a mass of media, parts, water, and compounds within the confinement of a machine. The machine provides a source of containment as well as the means to provide the motion required for finishing. The vibratory finishing media and compound work in conjunction to clean the surface of the workpieces providing the desired finish. Bowls and tubs are the most common configurations of vibratory equipment. Vibratory processes are often used to deburr, burnish, descale, clean, and polish.

What is Vibratory Tumbling Media?

Vibratory tumbling media is typically a preformed abrasive that is used to remove unwanted matter from a surface or create a polished finish to very low Ra values. The compound and the media work together to provide a consistent finish.

Vibratory tumbling media comes in many different shapes, sizes, and compositions. Three factors to consider when deciding on tumbling media is the shape, size, and type. Typical vibratory tumbling media types are:

  • Ceramic media is the most common media in the industry. It generally has a higher density than plastic. Ceramics can easily grind and polish harder materials like high-temperature alloys and steel. It is also used for general-purpose polishing and is often used with plastic, steel, stainless, and aluminum parts.
  • Plastic media can be better for cleaning softer, non-ferrous metals like aluminum, zinc, and brass. Plastic media is a good option for pre-painted, or pre-plate finishing, and polishing. Plastic media is used commonly for finishing die-cast work pieces.
  • Steel media is a very popular form of media for burnishing and polishing. It can also be used on aluminum or brass components. Steel media does last for a long time with proper maintenance and housekeeping guidelines. Steel media does take specific equipment for processing due to its high bulk density.
  • Organic media is a very lightweight media popular for drying parts after vibratory processing. Both walnut shells and crushed corn cobs are commonly used for polishing soft alloys and jewelry. Crushed corn cob has excellent water absorption to prevent corrosion and clean media residue from parts.

Benefits of Vibratory Tumbling:

Vibratory tumbling has a variety of applications since it has a wide range of characteristics that can fit any project. Vibratory tumbling media is commonly used in many industries such as aerospace, orthopedic implants, firearms, oil industry, and transportation. Tumbling media stands out due to these key benefits:

  • Can be used with both heavy and delicate or fragile components
  • Provides consistent finishes from lot run to lot run
  • Cost-effective
  • Significantly reduces manual hand finish labor
  • Improves cosmetic appeal and reduces imperfections

SurfacePrep houses a large quantity of vibratory tumbling media and tumbling equipment. We pride ourselves on forging strong partnerships by providing the right tumbling media for your application based on the type of finish desired for your unique requirements.

With our cutting-edge technology, our knowledgeable representatives are eager to test parts to find the appropriate material and machine to produce the most favorable results.

Contact us today to learn more, receive a quote, or place an order!

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