New water based deburring technology avoids need for chemicals

Nicola Brittain

Water-based deburring solution promises to make industrial processes more environmentally friendly.

Processing plants that create parts for finished products will often need to deburr them - this entails removing sharp edges, burrs, fins or inconsistencies from material, such as metals, steel and alloys, leaving the material with a smooth edge and a finished surface. Materials requiring deburring include aluminium, steel, alloys and other metals, as well as plastic, rubber, composites or any other material worked in manufacturing processes.

Deburring is frequently performed after machining operations which can leave a jagged surface. the process improves the surface quality of a part making it flush for adhesion or joined to other parts, as well as safer, more functional and more aesthetically appealing.

There are many technologies available but arguably one of the most interesting is the ‘ultrasonic’ deburring product from Vollmer UK, called the UltraTec A25.

The patented technology is unusual in that it only uses water and avoids chemicals. This makes it an appealing solution for plants that are monitoring their environmental impact.

Avoiding harsh chemical

Formed in 2019 UltraTec uses an ultrasonic horn that oscillates to generate sound waves as well as cavitation to clean and deburr external and internal edges. The solution provides sharp edged burr-free parts and eliminates common challenges faced by other systems since chemicals can lead to deformation, discolouration and changes to the oxide layer on the component.

It is suitable for small and delicate components that may be damaged by alternative methods making it suitable for applications in heavily-regulated sectors as the medical, food and drug industries, aerospace and electronics.

How it works

The UltraTec ultrasonic A25 creates a formation and dissolution/implosion of bubbles in water that release an intense energy during implosion. This is created by an ultra high oscillation of 20kHz with an oscillation width of +/-80-120 microns, this far exceeds the amplitude of ultrasonic cleaning, cutting and welding technologies. An ultrasonic horn that is fully submersed in water is set into resonant vibration via mechanical oscillations to transmit the forces into the water tank. The ultrasonic horn is fixed in a position and components are robotically moved around it to create a cavitation jet that breaks burrs from the parts.

Conveyor loading is an option for clients as well as different component tray configurations. Additional options include various waterproof gripping systems or a selection of motor and air pressure spindles for additional processes like brushing and re-gripping stations.

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