RX ceramic grinding media

 

RX Ceramic Grinding Media

RX ceramic grinding media is produced by mixing porcelain, kaolin,clay, river clay together with brown alumina oxide abrasives. The wet material is formed into desired shape (usually by extrusion and cutting) and then fired to vitrify. Fusion bonding is used to make some media. Such media are available in a wide range of shapes and sizes. Also, when the engineer selects the proper grade of abrasive, the correct proportion of abrasive to the binder, and the most suitable binder, this media will adapt to a great variety of application, and workpieces.

ceramic deburring media

The binder acts as a burnishing surface, and this works against rapid cutting.

The options available for choosing which materials you use in the deburring process make it necessary to know the differences in the materials, the mixtures and shapes available, and the specific uses of each type, which make them more and less effective for your specific needs. Since we’re focusing on ceramic media particularly (as opposed to plastic media or metal media), we’ll be dealing specifically with parts that require a moderately more abrasive process than the average polish.

stamped parts deburring with ceramic media

Light finishes, polishes, or other types of milder reshaping such as what you would use to take the edges off aluminum alloy parts, would usually imply other types of deburring media like plastic. Ceramic deburring media is focused on parts made from the harder metals and is better suited to smaller, more precise work. But before we discuss the specific reasons you would use ceramic media in the deburring process, we first have to ask: what is deburring?

What is deburring?

Unpolished, uneven, or dirty machine parts reduce or prevent the efficiency of your machines. Deburring is the process of mass finishing parts by using abrasive material – called “media” – to alter and finish the parts by sanding off obstructive machining edges or cleaning the parts for more effective use. Friction between the set mold of the deburring media and the material brings the edges into contact with an abrasive inside the mold that can be used to either polish, sand, or even de-grease the parts.

centrifugal disc finishing with ceramic media

The material comes in contact with the media en masse in a “finishing machine,” of which there are many types depending on the intended use. Since this is done in huge batches, the process (and the finish) is uniform.

Which material you choose as the basis for the deburring media depends on the work you want to have done on the material you want to have it done on. The shapes of the deburring molds come in a large variety to prevent the heads from getting stuck in the holes of the many parts you might need to polish or deburr. You have to know the properties of each specific material to choose the right one for your specific job.

Creating Ceramic Deburring Media

To achieve the wide range of shapes and sizes necessary to deburr all kinds of machine parts, ceramic deburring media is made, according to Inovatec, “by mixing porcelain, kaolin, clay, and river clay together with brown alumina oxide abrasives.” The type of abrasive used determines what materials the finished mold will deburr (such as using sand for the process of deburring softer metals and harder silicon or aluminum abrasives for a more intense grinding process).

ceramic-media

This wet mixture can be formed into the many shapes needed to create versatile deburring molds, including balls, triangles, cylinders, ellipses, tri-stars, and cones. The parts with a larger area also call for larger deburring molds, which make for a much more intense deburring process. Likewise, the smaller parts call for smaller molds, and a much longer time deburring in the machine due to the finer nature of the edges and burrs on smaller material.

For different uses, engineers mix the material with a different grade of abrasive and a different proportion of binder. This binder wears away as the deburring media is used, continually allowing the metal to come into contact with the abrasive. Due to the uniformity of the mixture and the symmetry of the shapes used, the media wears away at a constant rate when used in the vibratory finishing machine and retains its shape throughout the deburring process.

Uses of Ceramic Media

The specific uses of ceramic media vary, particularly when you need polishing or light to heavy deburring done on the parts but don’t want to go all the way to the heaviest deburring media (like steel). Ceramic deburring media is often used to remove rust from metal parts, do precise deburring on smaller parts, or polish and deburr plastic or stainless material. Again, depending on the abrasive used, the intended use can vary.

ceramic deburring steel metal parts

The shape of the media also influences what material the finished molds will be used for. To prevent the heads from getting stuck on grooves and holes in the parts, many differently shaped deburring molds are available.

When working with softer metals like aluminum, ball-shaped ceramic media is recommended so it doesn’t dent the part and render it unusable. Sharper shapes like tri-stars and pyramids provide a finer finishing, allowing the machine to reach into complex areas of parts that are difficult to access normally. But in general, the more specific and refined the shape of the media, the more susceptible it becomes to wear and chipping, which can get stuck in parts and slow the whole process down.

Vibratory Finishing Machine

Once you’ve chosen not only the ceramic but the mixture of binding to abrasive specifically tailored to the type of part you’re going to deburr and the shape of the fixed mold, you’ll probably be using a vibratory finishing machine to actually initiate the process. This is the most common type of finishing equipment, consisting of a large bowl or drum that vibrates so that the parts swirl down into the machine against the deburring media in a circular motion.

vibratory finishing and separation metal parts

This is where the relationship between the work you want to have done and the choice of media becomes apparent, as harsher shapes will provide a more particular finish but may also break and chip in the machine. Subtler and more rounded shapes will provide a finer, more uniform finish but will also take much longer to do their job.

Conclusion

Ceramic deburring is a subtle combination of chemical, engineering, and mechanical processes that accomplishes the specific goal of cleaning and refining your machine parts. You may think that new and gradually more refined manufacturing processes make deburring less and less important, but the opposite is often true. Now that manufacturing processes are so refined and particular, the benefit of smooth parts is even more important, as even small burrs can cause injury on assemblies, cost the longevity of your machines, and prevent manufacturing and operation processes from working as effectively and efficiently as they can.

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