Vibratory tumblers are barrels or drums that function by agitating materials in a side-to-side motion at high rates, creating friction and continuous grinding between the vibrating parts or deburring materials. The friction enables the parts tumbler to polish, finish and/or deburr, which refers to the removal of unwanted extra materials called burrs.
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Applications of Vibratory Tumblers
Most often used as a type of polishing machine, vibratory tumblers are one of the two main types of tumbler used in deburring applications. The other main type of deburring machine is called a rotary tumbler. While rotary tumblers are much less noisy, vibratory tumblers have several advantages in other areas. These include an increased load capacity, reduced finishing time and an enhanced ability to retain the original part shape with destructive deburring.
As a result, vibratory tumblers are often used in a broad spectrum of industries, such as commercial (in which they are commonly used in jewelry polishing applications and in artillery stores for shell casing finishing), industrial fields (for manufacturing batch and continuous process applications), automotive (for parts such as bearings, castings, engine pistons, and various engine accessories), electronics (for components, devices, and a wide range of power supplies).
Vibratory tumblers can also be referred to as mass finishers as they are able to process a large volume of materials and can be used for small parts, such as gem stones, or large, bulky parts, such as intake manifolds and chassis parts. Another advantage of vibratory tumblers is that they can be used for fragile parts, as they do not employ a tearing action or unequal forces that result in distortion or bending.
How Vibratory Tumblers Work
Unlike rotary tumblers, vibratory tumblers have no moving parts and consist of a barrel or a large bowl, a drive, and a motor. The tumbling barrel is typically made from a hard, durable material, such as welded steel or stainless steel. The drive can be one of two types: electrical or mechanical. Both types of drives require motors to provide the necessary vibrations, and both the motor and the drive are contained in the base of the tumbler. The barrel is attached to the base through the use of springs, which allows the barrel to remain stationary while the base vibrates the parts.
Vibratory tumblers may be used with or without tumbling media. For wet deburring, vibratory tumblers provide a smooth polish because the media laps the parts. However, wet deburring is not often recommended for standard vibratory tumblers because it requires a lot of rinsing, which significantly reduces the service life of the machine. As a result, dry deburring is more frequently used in vibratory tumblers and works exceptionally well due to the upward and angular force created by the vibrations. This force results in a shearing action between the parts inside the barrel and acts in much the same way as the process of erosion.