Selecting the appropriate compounds for a vibratory tumbling process will have dramatic effects on the performance of the process and the finish on the parts. Using the proper compound is more than just adding a few drops of ‘dish soap’. Compounds perform a number of different functions:
- Lubricant: The lubricating action helps to tumble the media and parts efficiently and reduce friction. This function also extends the life of the lining.
- Cleaner: The detergents remove oils and dirt from the parts and keep it from ‘loading’ into the media.
- Impingement: The water, compound and foam help to cushion the load and reduce part on part impingement.
- Brightening: Selecting the proper compound based on the part composition (i.e., steel, aluminum, plastic, etc.) can remove oxidation, clean and brighten parts to a high shine.
- Media Life: Tumbling compounds will provide even break down of deburring media maximizing media life and producing consistent part finish from batch to batch.
Both recirculating systems and batch processes are used with compound solutions. A recirculating or flow-through system will keep the process cleaner but may produce a larger waste stream. Metering the compound at a rate that keeps the process wet but not flooded will require a solution level of about 5% of the overall capacity of the vibratory tumbler. The solution from batch processes should be changed regularly. Typically, compounds are diluted at a rate of 1-2 ounces per gallon of water for optimal performance.
Selecting the proper compound and using it correctly are the key to a successful process.