Used in many types of deburring, polishing machines utilize very fine abrasive deburring compounds such as fine-grit aluminum oxides, polycarbonates, sand and ceramics.
The main purpose of polishing machines in deburring processes is the removal of burrs, or unwanted materials on parts created by machining processes such as welding, etching, engraving, drilling and turning.
Thus, although minimum materials are typically removed, polishing machinery used in deburring applications must still accomplish some, targeted, material removal.
Some of the many diverse industries that benefit from polishing machines include: automotive and aviation, for polishing of exterior components such as the metal body frames and hubcaps for an enhanced appearance; industrial manufacturing, for polishing of small components such as bolts and hinges where little material removal is required; retail, for applications including the polishing of gems, decorative stones and fine metals for jewelry; and construction, for the polishing of building materials such as tile, marble, stone and concrete.
In accordance with the wide variety of applications, there are an extensive array of polishing machines that range in size, shapes and the means in which polishing is achieved.
There are two main ways in which polishing machines accomplish deburring: through vibrations or rotational force. Widely used as polishing machines, vibratory tumblers utilize barrels to contain parts or materials that are then subjected to continuous vibrations that serve to grind and polish away burrs.
Vibratory tumblers are generally used for smaller parts polishing, along with other types of polishing machinery including polishing lathes, hand-held wheels, belt grinders and abrasive nylon brushes.
Rotational tumblers may also be used, although instead of vibrations, they function to polish by enabling a sliding motion through the utilization of rotational movement.
Both types of tumblers often use abrasive tumbling media, but do not require it. For large parts polishing applications, polishing machines often require the addition of belts, wheels or brushes. Not only requiring extra parts, large part polishing is typically done through automated processes such as robotic polishing.
One common type of polishing is buffing, a process that uses very low abrasion to produce extremely smooth and shiny surfaces. Buffing compounds can be added during the polishing process in order to coat surfaces with a protective coating, often able to come in a wide variety of colors if desired.