Automating the deburring process

Increase workplace safety, decrease operating costs

Practical Welding Today January/February 2012
January 10, 2012
By: Mike Marshall

A good deburring process will provide you with that by removing sharp edges, thus producing a better finish. An edge that is properly finished lowers material handling costs and increases workplace safety. Finding the right machine and automating the process seamlessly may allow you to run your machines a little faster, increasing your output, lowering your costs, and most importantly adding profit to your bottom line.

Automating the deburring process -

Finding a deburring machine that can fit into your fabrication scheme seamlessly can increase productivity.

Manual deburring processes have been around for years, and the people who are good at them are regarded for their expertise, manual dexterity, and skill. But it is becoming increasingly difficult to find workers who want to learn the trade or are willing to perform this less-than-glamorous job. For these reasons, many job shops are automating some of their deburring applications. The end result might also include increased efficiency, lowered operating costs, and higher profits.

Why deburr in the first place? Quite simply, we live in a time when a better fit and finish are very important. A good deburring process can provide you with both by removing sharp edges, thus producing a better finish. Too, sharp edges are a safety hazard that must be avoided at all costs. An edge that is finished properly decreases material handling costs and improves workplace safety.

Types of Burrs

A burr is an unwanted raised edge or small piece of metal that remains attached to the workpiece after a modification process. You encounter burrs anytime you use plasma, waterjet, laser, punch press, or a shear to fabricate or profile-cut sheet metal. The faster that you can finish the deburring process, the sooner you can return to fabricating.

Welding fabricators that deal with sheet metal and steel plate generally encounter two types of burrs: mechanical and thermal. Mechanical burrs are placed into three categories: Poisson burrs, rollover burrs, and breakout burrs. Rollover and breakout burrs are the most common and often are formed by shearing, punching, drilling, routing, and sawing. A tool that is sharp and set at the correct feed and speed rates can reduce the number of burrs that occur, but it won’t eliminate them altogether.

Thermal burrs, generally identified as dross or slag, occur during laser or plasma cutting. Setting the proper cutting speed and gas mixture, and using clean and well-adjusted cutting tips as well as the correct optics and gases on laser units, can greatly reduce these burrs.

Selecting a Machine to Fit Your Scheme

Before choosing a deburring method, it is important to define your desired finish requirement on the component edge. Unfortunately, no industry standard exists for a burr-free edge. Instead, the finish is determined by the specific application at hand. If you spend too much time deburring, you will drive up costs. If you spend too little time deburring, you run the risk of rework. It is very important to find the optimal balance.

Selecting the right machine isn’t merely a matter of looking at the deburring process. The machine has to fit into your overall fabrication scheme. Several tools on the market can help you to find this balance. One tool with two large-diameter, coated abrasive flap wheels turning in opposite directions performs double-sided deburring on sheet metal up to 0.2 inch thick in a single operation. It can be set up with 40-, 60-, 80-, or 120-grit flap wheels, depending on your finish requirement. For most carbon steel jobs, 40- or 60-grit flaps are sufficient, while stainless and aluminum applications require either 80- or 120-grit flap wheels.

The machine’s flap wheels can be adjusted as they wear, and one set of wheels lasts for approximately 6,500 ft. of stainless steel sheet. In addition, this type of machine can be set up in the shop either vertically or horizontally to handle the deburring operation from the top or from the side. A dust extraction port can be attached to the machine to couple with an industrial dust collection system, increasing efficiency and workplace safety.

When you need to perform deburring on thick materials, a precision beveling and faceting machine suitable for all metals can bevel parts with cross-grinding that results in zero opposite burr. This machine type can produce an infinitely adjustable beveling angle from 30 to 60 degrees and infinitely adjustable facet width from 0 to 3⁄8 in.

You might find that a beveling and deburring machine with a fixed beveling angle of 45 degrees and an infinitely adjustable beveling width from 0 to 3⁄8 in. fits your scheme. Precise adjustment of the facet width is controlled with a handwheel.

Automating the deburring process -

Sharp edges are a safety hazard and can result in product liability. Removing them instantly makes your work environment safer.

These machines are stationary, require little maintenance, and are operated by a single person. They run on 220- or 440-V power. If possible, try to place the deburring equipment directly into the fabrication process.

Relying on an automated deburring machine to do more of the cleanup may allow you to run your machines a little faster, increasing your output, lowering your costs, and, most importantly, improving your bottom line.

Automating the deburring process -

Many job shops are using new technologies to improve efficiency, lower operating costs, and increase profits.

Mike Marshall

Technical Sales & Marketing
CS Unitec
22 Harbor Ave.
Norwalk, CT 06850
Phone: 800-700-5919

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