Finishing Machines for Vehicle Parts

Finishing Machines for Vehicle Parts
Finishing Machines for Vehicle Parts

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The manufacturing process employed determines the surface finish level. Some processes are inherently capable of producing better surfaces than others. The processes recognized for good surface finish are honing, lapping, polishing, and surface finishing.

Finishing Machines for Vehicle Parts

Finishing machines play a crucial role in the automotive industry by polishing, buffing, and deburring various vehicle parts to achieve a desired surface finish, enhance functionality, and improve aesthetics. These machines are employed in various stages of the manufacturing process, from pre-treatment to final finishing, ensuring that vehicle parts meet stringent quality standards.

Types of Finishing Machines for Vehicle Parts:

  1. Vibratory Finishing Machines:

Vibratory finishing machines are widely used for mass finishing of small to medium-sized vehicle parts, such as engine components, transmission parts, and automotive accessories. These machines utilize a rotating tub filled with abrasive media, typically ceramic chips or plastic beads. As the tub rotates, the parts tumble within the media, creating friction and abrading the surfaces to achieve a uniform finish.

  1. Centrifugal Finishing Machines:

Centrifugal finishing machines are particularly effective for finishing complex-shaped or intricate vehicle parts. They employ centrifugal force to rotate the parts against abrasive media, resulting in rapid polishing and buffing. These machines are also suitable for achieving a more aggressive polishing effect on specific areas of the parts.

  1. Barrel Finishing Machines:

Barrel finishing machines are commonly used for finishing large batches of vehicle parts, such as castings, forgings, and machined components. They utilize a rotating barrel filled with abrasive media, and the parts tumble within the barrel as it rotates on its axis. Barrel finishing machines are effective for achieving a consistent finish across large quantities of parts.

  1. Belt Finishing Machines:

Belt finishing machines are employed for polishing and buffing flat surfaces of vehicle parts, such as car panels, bumpers, and trim pieces. They utilize a series of abrasive belts that move continuously against the part surface, removing imperfections and achieving a smooth, consistent finish.

  1. Rotary Polishing Machines:

Rotary polishing machines are used for polishing and buffing curved surfaces of vehicle parts, such as headlights, taillights, and wheels. They utilize rotating polishing wheels or buffing compounds to remove scratches, haze, and other imperfections, restoring the part’s original shine.

Key Features of Finishing Machines for Vehicle Parts:

  1. Variable Speed Control: Adjustable speed control allows for tailoring the finishing process to the specific type of vehicle part and the desired finish.
  2. Precise Abrasive Media Selection: The choice of abrasive media is crucial for achieving the desired finish, considering the material properties of the vehicle part and the desired surface texture.
  3. Automated Control Systems: Advanced control systems ensure consistent finishing parameters, such as speed, pressure, and media flow, maintaining quality and minimizing variations.
  4. Dust and Fume Extraction Systems: These systems remove dust, debris, and fumes generated during the finishing process, maintaining a clean and safe work environment.

Benefits of Using Finishing Machines for Vehicle Parts:

  1. Enhanced Functionality: Finishing processes can improve the functionality of vehicle parts by removing burrs, imperfections, and surface irregularities that can affect performance or cause wear and tear.
  2. Improved Aesthetics: Finishing machines restore the shine and appearance of vehicle parts, enhancing the overall aesthetics of the vehicle and contributing to its perceived value.
  3. Corrosion Resistance: Finishing processes can create a smoother, more uniform surface, making it less susceptible to corrosion and environmental damage.
  4. Reduced Friction and Wear: Smoother surfaces reduce friction and wear, extending the lifespan of vehicle parts and improving overall vehicle performance.
  5. Enhanced Paint Adhesion: A clean, smooth surface provides better adhesion for paint and other coatings, improving the durability and longevity of the vehicle’s finish.

In conclusion, finishing machines are essential tools in the automotive industry, providing a range of benefits that enhance the quality, functionality, and aesthetics of vehicle parts. By employing these machines in various stages of the manufacturing process, automotive manufacturers ensure that their products meet the highest standards and deliver optimal performance to consumers.

Honing as Finishing Machines for Vehicle Parts

Honing is a surface finishing operation based on abrasive action performed by a set of bonded abrasive sticks. It is generally used to finish bores of cylinders of engines, hydraulic cylinders, gas barrels, bearings, etc. It can reduce the level of surface roughness below 32 μm. It produces a characteristics surface pattern across hatched which is a fit case to retain
lubrication layer to facilitate the move to moving parts, their best example is the IC engine.

The honing tool used to finish the internal surface is shown in Figure. The honing tool consists of a set of bonded abrasive sticks. The number of sticks mounted on a tool depends on its circumferential area. The number of sticks may be more than a dozen. The motion of a honing tool is a combination of rotation and reciprocation (linear).

The motion is managed in such a way that a given point on the abrasive stick does not trace the same path repeatedly. The honing speed may be kept up to 10 cm per sec. Lower speeds are recommended for a better surface finish. Manufacturing defects like slight eccentricity the way surface, light tapper, and less circulating can also be corrected by honing process. The process of honing is always supported by the flow of coolants. It flashes away the small chips and maintains a low and uniform temperature of tool and work.

Honing Machines as Finishing Machines for Vehicle Parts

Honing machines resemble vertical drilling machines in their construction.
The reciprocating motion of the spindle is obtained by hydraulic means. The rotary motion may be by a hydraulic motor or by a gear train. Depending upon the movement of the spindle or hones a machine may be vertical honing machine or a horizontal honing machine. Generally vertical honing machines are used. Horizontal honing machines are recommended for finishing the internal of long gun barrels.



Lapping is also one of the abrasive processes used to produce finished
(smoothly accurate) surfaces. It gives a very high degree of accuracy and smoothness so it is used in the production of optical lenses, metallic bearing surfaces, measuring gauges, surface plates, and other measuring instruments.

All the metal parts that are subjected to fatigue loading or those surfaces that must be used to establish a seal with a mating part are often lapped. The process of lapping uses a bonded abrasive tool and a fluid suspension having very small-sized abrasive particles vibrating between the workpiece and the lapping tool.

The process of lapping is shown. The fluid with abrasive particles is referred to as a lapping compound. It appears as a chalky paste. Normally the fluid used in lapping compound is oil or kerosene.

The fluid should have slightly lubricating properties to make the action of abrasive and mild in nature. Abrasives used in lapping compounds are aluminiumoxide and silicon carbide. Their girt size is kept at 300 to 600 μm. It is hypothesized that two alternative cutting mechanisms are working in the process of lapping. In the first mechanism, the abrasive particles roll and slide between the lapping tool and workpiece.

These particles produce small cuts on both surfaces. Another mechanism supposed to work in lapping is that the abrasives become embedded in the lap surface to give cutting action like in the case of grinding.

Machine Lapping as Finishing Machines for Vehicle Parts

Machine Lapping

Machine lapping is recognized as a fast lapping process. Gudgeon pins with 25 mm diameter and 75 mm long can be lapped at the rate of 500 units per hour. Mechanical lapping machines have vertical construction with the work holder mounted on the lower table which is given oscillatory motion.

The upper lap is stationary and floating while the lower one revolves at 60 rpm. Some special purpose lapping machines are available for the lapping of small parts such as piston pins ball bearing races, etc. in machine lapping pressure upto 0.02 N/mm2 for soft material and 0.5 N/mm2 for hard material is applied.

Lapping Applications

Materials processed by lapping range from steel, and cast iron to non-ferrous metal like copper, brass, and lead. Wooden parts, made of hardwood, can also be finished using wood laps. Lapping removes material at a very slow rate. So lapping is generally followed by accurate machining of work pieces. Lapping is a costlier process so its applications are justified only when very Lapping Tool Lapping Compound Lense Blank (Work Piece)high grade of surface finishing is required. Lapped surfaces are well resistant to corrosion and wear, used in the manufacturing of high precision parts.

Polishing and Buffing as Finishing Machines for Vehicle Parts

Polishing and buffering are similar surface finishing operations. Polishing is used to remove scratches and burrs from a machined surface. It develops a very smooth surface by means of abrasive grains embedded in a polishing wheel rotating at high rpm. The rotating speed is equivalent to 2300 meters per minute. The rotating wheels are made of softer materials like canvas, leather, or paper. Thus, the wheels are enough flexible to finish the cavities and internal intricate shapes.

Polishing as Finishing Machines for Vehicle Parts

Polishing is carried out with the help of above-mentioned polishing wheels. Abrasive grains are bonded by gluing to the outside periphery of the wheel. After the abrasives have been worn down and used up, the wheel is replenished with new girts. Depending on the girt size polishing is divided into three categories.

  • Rough Polishing: Girt size is maintained at 20 to 80.
  • Finish Polishing: Girt size is kept at 80 to 120.
  • Fine Finish: For polishing to give a very fine finish abrasive grit size is maintained above 120.

In the case of fine finishing process oil, tallow or beeswax is used as a lubricating agent. There is a limitation of the polishing process that the parts with irregular shapes, sharp corners, deep recesses, and sharp projections are difficult to polish.

Polishing Tool

Polishing can be done by hand, but for mass production work, specially designed semi-automatic and automatic polishing machines are available. Abrasive particles are Al2O3 or diamond. The carrier of abrasive particles have already been discussed. Polished surfaces may be buffed to obtain an even finer surface. Polishing does not improve dimensionless accuracy as done by lapping.

Difference between Polishing and Lapping

  • Lapping and polishing differ in the following manner, polishing produces a shiny surface but lapping does not produce a bright shiny surface.
  • Lapping removes metal from the surface to be finished, however, polishing removes a negligible amount of metal.
  • Lapping involves cutting action but polishing consists of producing a kind of plastic flow of the surface crystals so that the high spots are made to fill the low spots.


Buffing is similar to polishing in appearance, but its function is different. Buffing is used to provide attractive surfaces with high luster. Buffing is like a polishing operation in which the workpiece is brought in contact with a revolving cloth buffing wheel that usually has been charged with a very fine abrasive as shown in Figure.

Buffing status is somewhere in between polishing and lapping. A minor cutting action with a microchip is done in case of buffing. Buffing wheels are made of discs of liners, cotton, broadcloth, and canvas. These are made more or less firm by the amount of stitching used to fasten the layers of the cloth together. Buffing tools are enough flexible to polish up to the interior of intricate cavities. The buffing tools are named as BUFFING ROUGES.

There are semi-automatic buffing machines available consisting of a series of individually driver buffing wheels which can be adjusted to the desired position so as to buff different positions of the workpiece. The workpieces are held in fixtures on a suitable rotating worktable so as to move the buffing wheels. The application of buffing produces mirror-like finish. It is used for finishing of automobile parts, boats, bicycles, sports items, tools, furniture, fixtures, commercial and residential hardware, household utensils, and home appliances, etc

Super Finishing

Superfinishing is an alternative process similar to honing. This also uses
bonded abrasive stick moved with a reciprocating motion and pressed against the surface to to be finished. The relative motion between the abrasive stick and the workpiece is varied so that individual grains do not retrace the same path. Cutting fluid is used in the process for cooling of tool-workpiece interface.

Coolant also washes away the tiny chips produced in the process. The time needed for super finishing is very small. The workpiece may be super finished to a roughness of the order of 0.075 within 50 seconds. Sometimes the process of super finishing can be continued up to 3 minutes for very fine quality finish. Superfinishing can be differentiated from honing in the following ways:

  • The superfinishing stroke length is comparatively shorter but the frequency is larger. It is up to 1500 strokes/minute.
  • It requires low-pressure application as compared to honing process.
  • During the process fed is given to the workpiece, and the fed rate in case of super finishing operation is smaller than honing.
  • The grit size of the abrasive used in the case of super finishing is smaller than that used with hones.
  • Major applications of super finishing are finishing computer memory drums, sewing machine parts, automotive cylinders, brake drums, bearing components, pistons piston rods, pins, axles, shafts, clutch plates, guide pins, etc.