Burrs Enemy of Form, Function, and Beauty

De-sta-co clamp

Metalworking and fabrication are multi-stage processes. From design to calibration to material selection to placement, a piece goes through several iterations before it ever actually gets to the cutting tools. Likewise, before a piece is complete, it must pass through several phases, such as inspection and testing. And in that end-procedure, there is deburring.

Deburring is the removal of “burrs”, small splinters or shavings of material that are left on machined edges by the cutting process. These burrs are still attached to the material, and must be removed with special deburring tools or abrasive belts. The deburring process can often be a source of significant expense within a facility, especially a facility that produces a high volume of parts and components.

Burrs are not only unsightly, they’re inefficient. For a machine to run properly, its parts must fit together well. For a machine to run at peak efficiency, its parts must fit together perfectly. Burrs prevent surfaces from contacting the way they were intended to contact, and prevent pieces from moving the way they were intended to move.

There is also a major question of safety when burrs are involved, as splinters of metal or wood can easily injure inspectors and testers. Abrasive sanding belts can be used to remove shavings and splinters from plastic, wood, and metal, to ensure safe handling in end-stage construction processes. Thermal deburring can also provide a quick and efficient removal, with peak temperatures reaching 3,000 degrees Celsius, and typical time per burr lasting only 20 milliseconds.

And of course, burrs also reduce the aesthetic appeal of a machined part. Abrasive belts and buffs can simultaneously remove burrs and leave metal shiny and smooth, which also makes for easy cleaning, consistent maintenance, and more efficient lubrication if need be.

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