Case Study: Part Cleaning Solutions and Chemistry

Covert Manufacturing is a woman-owned company based in Galion, Ohio, that specializes in precision machined products. As part of the finishing process, the company had been using coolant to clean parts in parts washers. While the coolant was able to get the parts clean and provide rust protection, at the same time, it created problems for the equipment.  The parts were run through the washers and the coolant was gumming up the machines.


Covert had tried other cleaning solutions, however, they all left residue on the parts. Additionally, they wanted to process the parts in water at ambient temperature to save electrical costs. Covert wanted to improve the process and worked with Kathy Hanchar at Checker Industries to provide a solution. Hanchar explains “After the initial consultation, we went into our lab and developed a chemical to replace the coolant and give them the rust protection they needed to maintain the part specifications.”


The formulations were developed at Precision Finishing Inc.’s laboratory where it could be analyzed and prepared for testing. The formulae was developed and shipped to Covert for testing in their facility. Changing over to the Chemtrol Sprayhib 6000B took about 8hrs per wash tank. Training was provided to ensure the chemistry mix is correct for each batch.
Robin Risner from Covert Manufacturing comments, “Checker brought in a good product with a lot of knowledge on cleaning Solutions. The Chemtrol Sprayhib 6000B has helped us in several areas such as presenting a good cleaned, finish product, from all of our wash tanks; as well as long-lasting solutions with rust inhibitors. The Chemtrol Sprayhib 6000B lasts longer than the product we used before.” Risner summarizes “Checker Industries provides very good customer service. We can ask them anything and they will find you an answer.”

Hanchar elaborates, “I visited Covert every three months to ensure that the process and formulae was working correctly. At one point we had to tweak the chemistry by adding a biocide to eliminate bacteria in the process.”

The results of the new chemistry provided a better finish on the parts while keeping the wash tanks operating efficiently.  After the parts are washed they are packaged and ready for shipment. The new chemistry ensures rust protection as the parts are sent to the customer for further processing.

Posted in Chemtrol, Washing Compounds | Tagged | Leave a comment

Case Study: Replacing A Suction Blasting System With A Pressure Cabinet System

The Flinchbaugh Company in Manchester, PA provides quality machined parts and job shop services to the United States military and many leading private sector manufacturers. The company desired to improve the productivity of the existing blast machine that was breaking down frequently.  Flinchbaugh contacted several companies to come in and review the machine as well as the production process. After many consultations, the company chose Precision Finishing to provide the solution.

The specialists at Precision identified that not only was the twenty year old machine having significant issues, it was not the ideal type of machine for the production process. “Once we completed our on-site assessment, we invited the manager and machine operators to visit our facility in Sellersville, where we ran their parts in the type of machine we thought they should have.” states Bob Stansbury, Process Specialist for Precision Finishing Inc..  “What they needed was a pressure cabinet system instead of a suction blasting system. We recommended a Clemco Mini-Blast room.”

Clemco mini blast
Clemco Mini Blast Room BNP-6012P-900 DF

During the testing phase in Precision’s facility the parts were processed completely on the Clemco machine in 30 seconds of runtime. This same process was running at 3minutes per part in the Flinchbaugh facility using the older blasting machine.  Stansbury adds “We had Flinchbaugh’s operators actually run the parts in the new machine; they were completely amazed at the speed, efficiency and ease of processing.”  From there Precision worked on the actual process and part specifications for Flinchbaugh to gain even more efficiencies in the production process. This included analyzing and making recommendations on the part size, production needs and the entire finishing process.  Productivity savings on run time has been a reduction between 35-50% consistently.

Chris Jordan from the Flinchbaugh Company comments on Precision’s approach and findings, “The team at Precision Finishing Inc. was extremely helpful in finding a solution to our production needs.” Their customer service, technical aptitude, live demonstrations showcased their complete capabilities.  The equipment purchase has added value and increased productivity by reducing our run times and providing a safe and ergonomically friendly environment for our work force.”

The final results of the entire evaluation process included a 2 ½ minute per piece processing time reduction as well as reduced wait-times in the painting department.

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Case Study: Switching from Black Beauty to Garnet Blast Media

Precision Manufacturing and Engineering is a machine shop based in Greencastle, Pa. that had a need for new blasting equipment. They contacted Bob Stansbury from Precision Finishing to analyze their Clemco blast room.

“When I arrived at the facility one of the first things I noticed was that they were using Black Beauty as their blasting media” states Stansbury. This material is not ideal, and has safety / environmental issues associated with its use. As I was watching them run the process, after five minutes of blasting with black beauty, the operator could not see what he is blasting.”

The consultation included a recommendation and estimate for a new blast machine along with a trial program using Garnet instead of Black Beauty. “During the trial, the main benefit was that the Garnet didn’t create as much dust and the operator could see what he was blasting” states Jason Summers, Operations Manager for Precision Manufacturing and Engineering.  “We decided to change over to the Garnet material and have had great success since we started the program”

Garnet Blast Media

Garnet Blast Media



Black Beauty

Black Beauty


GMA Garnet consists of totally natural almandite garnet known for its natural hardness, durability and abrasive characteristics. Garnet is free of any heavy metals or toxic components and meets all OSHA requirements. Black Beauty is coal slag.

The company immediately saw an increase in production through-put, and the finish on materials was greatly enhanced. In addition to the improved working conditions for the operator, the company realized cost savings. The Garnet material is more expensive initially, however it does not breakdown like Black Beauty and is reclaimed for use so the overall cost drops significantly.

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Vibratory Finishing Equipment Maintenance

For your Vibratory Finishing Machine to operate efficiently and safe, you have to make sure regular inspections and maintenance are completed. Like most equipment maintenance it is a good idea to track Preventative Maintenance (PM), Corrective Maintenance, and Inspections through the use of a maintenance program. The best way to drive your maintenance program is by equipment hours as most equipment manufactures suggest certain PM’s and Inspections at hourly intervals.

Lubrication and Inspection of the Drive System

Mantinance Blog-1[1]

Some vibratory equipment is installed with automated lubricating system. Make sure this system is monitored to ensure correct lubrication. Another is manual lubrication. Follow your equipment lubrication schedule to ensure the proper amount and type at the correct intervals. Following the manufactures Lubrication schedule will ensure you extend the life of your equipment’s drive system. Inspect any belts, pulleys, springs, and shafts at these intervals and replace as necessary.

Compound Delivery Systems
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There are many different types of compound delivery systems. To extend the life of your compound delivery system it is always a good idea to flush your compound system with fresh water at the end of each operation cycle to avoid build ups and residues.


Mantinance Blog-3[1]

You will want to check your lining for excessive wear. The easiest way to do this is by
hammering a finishing nail through the lining to check its thickness. If the lining is less than 1/8”-1/4” thick then it time to contact your vibratory sales rep to schedule a reline.

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What Is “Glazed Media” And Why Is It A Problem?

All too often a customer performing vibratory finishing work calls in and tells us
“the media is not working like it used to” and they need to change to a media that
works.  My thoughts take me to a few different possible scenarios; is the media worn
out? Is there not enough media in the bowl?  Is the media glazed over?  All three can
cause problems in a vibratory application but one is more common, GLAZED MEDIA!!!!

Clean Media

Clean Media

Glazed Media
Glazed Media


Most vibratory media is made with an abrasive characteristic impregnated in
the ceramic or plastic.  The abrasive, shape, and size of media is what does the
cutting, deburring and surface improvement in most applications.  The amount of
abrasive in the media is what categorizes it as a non-abrasive, general purpose or aggressive media.

Vibratory Media
Vibratory Media

Glazing happens when the media is coated with a contaminant, covering the abrasive and rendering the media less abrasive.  These contaminants could consist of oils from not using a proper cleaning compound in the vibratory application, soap scum from not rinsing the compound after run time, or even ceramic or plastic waste from the media being run with plain water in the application.  This can make even the most aggressive vibratory media less aggressive and efficient if not properly maintained.

Clean Media (Magnified)

Clean Media (Magnified)

Glazed Media (Magnified)

Glazed Media (Magnified)

If you are running a vibratory application and are experiencing high run times,
dirty finished parts or burrs remain post-finishing; you may be experiencing the result
of glazed media or you could be using the incorrect vibratory media.  Call the
Precision Finishing or Checker Industries office and our finishing professionals will be
able assist you, and help you make your vibratory process as efficient as possible.

Posted in Ceramic Media, Glass Bead Blast Media, Vibratory Finishing | Tagged | Leave a comment

Waste Treatment/Recycling Case Study: Mass Finishing Job Shop

Waste Treatment/Recycling Case Study – Mass Finishing Job Shop

A mass finishing job shop generating 5000 gallons per day of a variable waste stream used a chemical flocculation system to treat their wastewater prior to discharge to sewer.


Due to the variable nature of the waste stream, the chemical flocculation system required full time monitoring with frequent chemical feed adjustments.  The waste stream nature is an abrasive, high solids waste with dissolved heavy metals particularly copper, zinc, and lead.  The required high feed rate of the flocculation chemicals resulted in an annual chemical bill of $46,000 per year and excessive sludge generation.

The EPA required the local sewer authority to reduce their heavy metal discharges, which in turn reduced the heavy metal limits for the industrial dischargers.  Some of the limits were reduced to as low as 0.1 ppm.  It was determined that the chemical flocculation system could not achieve these limits on a consistent cost effective basis.

Posted in Mass Finishing, Recycling Vibratory Waste Water, Vibratory Water Treatment, Waste Treatment | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Waste Treatment/Recycling Case Study: Fabrication Job Shop

Waste Treatment/Recycling Case Study – Fabrication Job Shop
A fabrication job shop cleaned, deburred, and finished steel, stainless steel, and aluminum parts in several vibratory bowls.  The daily volume of wastewater was 500 gallons per day.  Occasionally, the plant was in violation of its heavy metal discharge limits.  The local sewer authority was also requesting the plant reduce it’s discharge volume.


The plant operated an existing batch chemical flocculation system for treating plating bath discharges.  Plant personnel desired an automated system for recycling the vibratory wastewater without sacrificing part quality. Precision Finishing’s process engineers met with the plant personnel to review the problem.

A pilot study was conducted duplicating the plant process conditions.  Based on the results of the pilot study, a Chemtrol CTS 8/16-2 filtration and recycling system using a Chemtrol recycling compound was recommended.  Supported by Precision Finishing Inc.’s sales and technical staff, plant personnel quickly assimilated operation of the system.

The system requires a 30-minute cleaning once or twice a week and the automated system takes care of the rest.  Routinely the concentrated solids or sludge is removed from the system and further dewatered in a drum evaporator.  The small amount of dried sludge is a non-hazardous waste and is disposed of in the plant’s industrial trash bin.  Monthly, a sample of the recycled water is sent to Precision Finishing Inc. for evaluation.

The results enable plant personnel to fine-tune the system operation for maximum performance.  Approximately 125,000 gallons of water is reused annually.

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Blasting Oily Parts?

Many operators make the mistake of blasting parts contaminated with oil, grease or water in a cabinet not designed handle those soils.  The majority of blasting is done in a dry cabinet, airless or wheel blast machine and contaminating media will gum up hoses and guns causing down time and lost production.   Added time and money to a down operation is unfortunate however avoidable, with proper review of your parts and blasting operation prior to production.

Although majority of blasting is done with a dry abrasive or glass media there is equipment and media that, when necessary, have the capabilities of blasting oily or greasy parts.  Wet blast applications use a mixture of water and abrasive or non-abrasive media to
clean or prep the part and can only be used with special equipment designed for this process.

Precision Finishing Inc

Oily Part – Before Processing

Oily Part - After Processing

Oily Part – After Processing

Another option would be to use sodium bicarbonate, or baking soda.  This media has many unique properties, one being removing grease and oils without causing problems for the equipment. This like wet blast, is used in equipment specially designed to handle this type of application.

Precision Finishing Inc

If you found this helpful or would like more information, please contact the Precision Finishing or Checker Industries office to set up a review of your blasting application and help us help you get on the right track.

Posted in blast cabinets, Sodium Bicarbonate Blasting Media, Wet Blasting | Tagged | Leave a comment

Dry vs. Wet Tumble

In the world of vibratory finishing there are two choices, wet or dry processing. 99% of vibratory finishing
is run in a wet application but both applications have their pros and cons.

Wet Tumbling Pros
Wet applications have several benefits and few limitations. When running a wet application all types of
media are eligible for use… ceramic, plastic, synthetic, porcelain, abrasive or non abrasive. The most
apparent benefit is a cleaner, more polished part. Water combined with a vibratory compound cleans
the part and keeps the media from building up impregnated soils, keeping the process clean and
efficient. Media wear can slow when using a wet application, which saves the customer on cost during
the application. Customers are able to clean, de‐burr and inhibit parts in one step as well.

Dry vs. Wet Tumble

Wet Tumbling Cons
Wet applications will produce an effluent you may need to treat. Whether you are using a closed
system, pumping it out or sending it down the drain; you need to be aware of the method and costs
involved in each. Drying parts is a normal secondary process that needs to be accounted for. Centrifugal
Dryers and in‐line systems are common but require planning on your part.

Dry tumbling Pros
Dry applications are not common in vibratory finishing. Any media style is possible… however not recommended. It will usually be
accomplished with a synthetic or non abrasive media to help control dust. There is no compound cost or waste effluent to worry about
which can offset the high cost of the media.

Dry vs. Wet Tumble2


Dry Tumbling Cons
The media required for dry tumbling is expensive. The process requires specially engineered formulas that produce minimal dust
and break down slowly. To maximize the life of your media, washing the parts before you run them is necessary. Heat can also be a
concern with dry processes. The amount of friction in a machine can vary, however the time cycle, type of media and how aggressive you
run the machine all play a role. Dry tumbling can be VERY LOUD so noise abatement covers could be required.

Using the right process is key to a successful project. Contact us if you are having any issues with your current applications, looking to increase efficiency or have a new start up. We have engineered both
applications to meet customers needs so you can rely on our skill and prior experience to help you

Posted in Finishing Compound Formulations, Finishing Process, Tumble Blast Machine, Tumbling, Vibratory Process | Leave a comment

What is High Energy Finishing?

What is High Energy Finishing?
High energy finishing is exactly what you think it is, high energy. A bit redundant, yes, but by using
centrifugal force and mechanical advantage, standard vibratory time cycles can be reduced dramatically.
High energy processes are used for high polish applications, quick material removal, heavy radiusing,
reducing time cycle, you name it. With processing times up to 10x faster and relatively simple to
automate, these machines can easily make your processes more efficient.

Common choices of equipment are Centrifugal Disc, Centrifugal Barrel, Plunge, Drag and Spindle
Finishing Machines. Extensive testing for Media, Compound and machine type is required for efficient
and successful processing.

What is High Energy Finishing

All types of parts can be considered for high energy applications. Centrifugal Disc and Barrel machines are
well suited to smaller stampings, fine blanked parts, bearings, small castings or forgings and medical
components. Larger, more complex parts that require no part on part impingement are typically used in spindle or
drag finishing applications.


If you feel you may have a part that would be a good fit for high energy finishing or just plain interested to learn
more, don’t hesitate to contact Precision Finishing and Checker Industries for testing and information.

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