REDwire A guide to proper media selection

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Vibra Finish Limited

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When it comes to media selection, there are many options, and just as many factors that must be considered before making a selection.

Choosing the right combination of media, compound and equipment for the application is the first step to achieving quality results in any mass finishing operation. When it comes to media selection, there are many options, and just as many factors that must be considered before making a selection.  

Vibra Finish has more than 40 years of experience in manufacturing machinery and production finishing. Its knowledgeable team has the expertise to help customers choose the most appropriate media for their application. And, with ceramic, plastic and steel media available in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, colours and compositions, the Mississauga, Ont.-based company offers this primer on media selection: 

Composition: The composition of the abrasive media is important because it determines its grinding performance and the surface finish effect. 

Shape: The shape of the media is key because it must fit the shape of the component to ensure all contours can be reached and lodging is avoided. Media shape also has an effect on the performance. Larger heavier media cuts more aggressively and leaves a more textured surface. 

Grades: There are a wide range of ceramic and plastic media grades, all recommended for different applications. For example, media with no abrasive is recommended for very fine burnishing and polishing, while extremely heavy, high-density media can be used to replace steel media in certain applications. Grades which contain silicon carbide abrasive are recommended for use on parts that can have no aluminum oxide impregnation. Plastic media, available in large sizes, is often used with complex aluminum and zinc die cast parts. Steel media imparts compressive stress, causing the surface of the part to become hardened. Parts processed with steel media have longer cycle lives and greater resistance to wear as a result of this compressive stress. When parts are finished with steel media, a compacting action helps eliminate porosity and can increase the corrosion resistance after plating and painting.

Size: The difference in size between the component and the media must be sufficient to allow for separation. Usually media is smaller than the parts to allow the media to pass through a screen if the process involves automatic separation.

It’s the right combination of these four factors that will lead to success in mass finishing operations. Vibra Finish can help guide customers along the selection process. Contact Vibra Finish to learn more. 

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Vibra Finish Limited

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