High Speed Finishing
There is an old axiom; “Time is Money”. When working with precious metals; this axiom aptly applies. Process time of jewelry products equates to a time-cost-of-money calculation. The higher the metals cost and the longer the process time, the more cost to the manufacture. High speed finishing shortens the process time to manufacture products.
For high speed finishing; G&S Jewelry Mfg has a large model HZ-120 Centrifugal Barrel Tumbler manufactured by Mass Finishing, Inc. (MFI) of Howard Lake, MN. This system has four sealed tubes that spin in a planetary system very dynamically. So much so that it can reduce a typical two day tumbling cycle to less than 7 hours.
However, the size of the system presented some issues with handling small parts with intrinsic high value. This was most manifest with unloading the tubs after tumbling is complete. We made contact with the technical team at Mass Finishing to solve this issue. They suggested an elegant solution to our problem.
A sealed insert canister was their solution. The frame around the canister could be securely inserted into each tub. The parts, media and solution would be loaded into the canister. A pair of “o” rings seal the plug in place. The pictures below show these attributes in detail.
Maintaining control of the parts is easy with this design. Opening the canister and removing plug makes for easy emptying into rinse basket.
The canister is placed in the tub and the cover of the tub locked in place. The frame is held tightly under the tub lid. The frame is clamped securely between the lid and the lining of the tub.
Our system has four tubs. Tub loading is sequential. First the tub marked “1” is unloaded. Similarly, the tub marked “2”; second and so forth. Tub tracking ensures that system balance is maintained. This in fact will minimize vibration. Furthermore the MFI system has an excellent jogging control function. This reduces the loading time between tubs. Before long, the system is fully loaded. Finally the safety lid is lowered and locked in place and the system started.
Meanwhile when system is running, previously unloaded material can be rinsed. The canisters are then reloaded and prepared for the next lot to be finished. That is to say having multiple canisters in back of those operating increases throughput dramatically. We believe a second complete set besides the set in the machine to be perfect for handling long runs.
After the parts were removed we compared to our previously tumbled samples. The results were exceptional. To clarify; the tumbling time will vary depending upon the process step and finish requirement. First stage is cut media, followed by a second stage of burnishing. Lastly a third stage of ceramic media to deliver a mirror finish.
To sum up; the use of these canisters has shortened process times dramatically. Before our avalanche barrel tumbling took two or three days to complete. Today we have shortened times around 60% across the board. Now our planning is centered around how best to leverage this time savings.
For more information; please contact us. If you are manufacturer; we highly recommend contacting Mass Finishing, Inc. Lastly, we wish to thank Cole Mathison and his team at MFI for their able assistance and for using our project as a case study for their equipment and problem solving abilities.
G&S Jewelry Mfg is a small woman owned business located in Albuquerque, NM.