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What is Isotropic Finishing?

It seems recently there has been more talk about the advantages of an isotropic, non-directional finish on machined surfaces obtained through a chemically accelerated vibratory process, however, not all processes need to utilize a chemically accelerated chemistry to achieve an isotropic finish.  The vibratory finishing process is what is producing the isotropic non-directional finish which reduces or eliminates the surface stress on machined components. 

The addition of a chemical accelerant to the vibratory process has increased the use of vibratory finishing as a means to produce very smooth finishes because it drastically reduces the time required to achieve this finish and requires only one media type where multiple media changes have been required.

What is Isotropic Finishing? Webster’s definition of isotropic is “exhibiting properties with the same values when measured along axes in all directions”.

Since its evolution, the vibratory finishing process has produced an isotropic non-directional finish which improves the surface finish and edges of machined components. The manufacturing process inherently creates stress risers and vibratory finishing reduces or removes them. This improved isotropic surface enhances any subsequent final finish in addition to increasing the overall strength and condition of the component due to the relief of the surface stress.

The beauty of vibratory finishing is it provides a repeatable, non-directional, uniform finish from part to part at a very reasonable cost.  It is widely recognized as the first step to finishing a component requiring deburring, radiusing and/or micro surface improvement.  There are tremendous advantages to applying an isotropic finish to the surface of a part, however, most people see deburring as the biggest or only advantage to vibratory finishing.

So where does this chemically accelerated vibratory process fit into isotropic surface improvement and what is its’ true advantage over the conventional vibratory process? Traditional vibratory finishing requires multiple media changes to acheive the same results Accelerated Surface Finishing achieves with one media, at time cycles that double or triple that of an ASF process. Utilization if high density media's reduce reduce media consumption as well as reduce the amount of water and chemistry consumed in the process.

The take away is application based... An Accelerated Surface Finishing process is not right for everything. Many variables have to be considered, like waste water, material being processed, and equipment considerations among other things. The best way to looking into the process is to start testing and comparing conventional tumbling to an ASF process with our lab.

Get in touch with us and we can schedule testing for your components and look into what process direction is right for your application.

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