Jewelry burnishing and polishing by hand is a labor intensive and time consuming process and is far too expensive to use in a mass production, large-scale environment to get desired jewelry finishes. Using mass finishing and jewelry burnishing systems, jewelry manufacturers save time and money as compared to the more traditional hand finishing techniques.
Mass Jewelry Burnishing and Finishing
In the jewelry manufacturing industry, mass jewelry burnishing systems can provide excellent jewelry finishes:
- Significant reductions in labor costs
- Increases in quality control
- Increases in productivity
- Reduced losses of precious alloys
The purpose of the process is to polish/finish jewelry in a quick and efficient manner in order to get the jewelry finishes on pieces ready for the next step in the process.
What equipment is needed to set up a mass jewelry finishing system?
There are generally 3 items required in setting up a mass jewelry finishing system:
- Barrel Tumbler and/or Vibratory Bowl Machine
- Stainless Steel Burnishing Media
- Walnut Shell Grit
- Polishing Compound
The most important tool is the jewelry burnishing machine. The two most common types of machines are barrel tumbling systems and vibratory bowl systems. Both are more than capable of obtaining a variety of jewelry finishes.
The Barrel Tumbling System rotates the jewelry pieces and media inside a hexagonal barrel, causing the items to tumble over and over again. This tumbling action, combined with the proper media, will burnish jewelry pieces to a beautiful brilliance. Either the MT Series Wet Barrel Mini-Tumbler System or the K14 Series Wet Barrel Tumbler System are ideal for this application and both come in a variety of barrel sizes to accommodate any capacity needs.
The Vibratory Bowl System is a widely used type because it is very effective and cost efficient. These systems can produce high quality jewelry finishes and can polish virtually any item suitable for mass finishing. The MB Series Mini Bowl Vibratory Finishing Systems offer a wide range of capacities suitable for any size operation.
Stainless steel is the preferred media to use in a barrel tumbler. In a vibratory tumbling system, ceramic media is preferred for polishing and walnut shell grit or corn cob grit for jewelry burnishing. The stainless steel media and ceramic media will make the metal surface very hard and very shiny, while the walnut shell or corn cob grit will finish the jewelry pieces to a high luster.
For a truly deep brilliance, use a burnishing compound with stainless steel media. The Kramco 910 Burnishing Compound is a high lubricity, high polishing product designed with jewelry polishing in mind.
Having the right equipment for mass jewelry burnishing will save time and money and result in high quality jewelry products.
Metal Finishing Equipment
Many metal finishing machines can be used for a particular application including getting the high polish jewelry finishes. Depending on your project needs, you may find the following metal finishing machines helpful:
- Plating machinery: These machines bond a thin layer of metal to the exterior of the substrate to improve corrosion resistance, appearance, magnetism, or to attach two materials.
- Brushed metal finishing machines: These machines apply a parallel texture to eliminate surface defects.
- Buff polishers: They deliver high luster and smooth finishes, usually for decorative products.
- Powder-coating equipment: This applies a surface effect like painting, but with enhanced durability
- Hot-blackening machines: These machines coat the substrate in black oxide for a matte appearance and improved abrasion resistance.
When referring to jewelry finishes, the term finish has more than one significance. It might allude to the general degree of workmanship in the piece. Jewelry typically is made to have a high degree of polishing usually a near-mirror surface finish. Furthermore, the finish may allude to the style of surface jewelry burnishing. A surface may need to be semi-brilliant or matte or it might require a brushed, peened or similar finish.