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How to find the right metal deburring machine for your company

Important criteria to consider before buying a deburring machine

Perfect sheet metal fabrication is essential to keep up with the competition and reliably meet the customers’ expectations.

A fabrication process always produces sharp edges or burrs that later prove problematic. It is important to remove these rapidly and cleanly. For many companies, a metal deburring machine is a worthwhile investment.

Burrs are unavoidable

One thing is certain: There is no avoiding sharp edges, burrs and residue when fabricating sheet metal. These are largely byproducts of laser cutting, punching, blanking and flame cutting. Yet they also hamper the smooth and rapid fabrication process. At the same time, the sharp burrs also create a risk of injury. That is why it is essential to deburr metal sheets and parts after cutting. Relying on a Profimach metal deburring machine ensures rapid, thorough and efficient results.

There are several different options for deburring sheet metal.

First of all, there is manual deburring. Specialists utilize brushes or angle grinders to remove the burrs. However, this approach is very time-consuming and does not guarantee consistently reproducible results. Instead, the results are highly dependent on the employee’s skill and experience. The use of a tumbling drum is another option and is primarily suitable for smaller parts. The sheet metal parts to be processed – such as small flame-cut parts – are poured into a drum together with abrasive media. These parts are mixed in the drum for a certain period of time in order to deburr and dull the edges. However, this approach is not suitable for large parts. In addition, targeted rounding of the edges is also not possible. If you have to deburr high quantities and large parts, a profimaach metal deburring machine is a worthwhile solution.

The market offers a variety of machines which target specific requirements.

You need to consider the following three criteria in order to choose the right machine for your job and your company:

1. The number of sheet metal parts to be deburred

The more parts you need to process, the more worthwhile the use of a metal deburring machine. Taking into consideration time-saving and cost-efficient work is important, especially with large quantities. These two factors play a critical role in your company’s financial success. As a rule of thumb, one employee with a modern metal deburring machine can handle at least four times as many parts as the manual alternative. Where manual deburring required 2500 hours per year, a metal deburring machine requires less than 500 hours for this job.  A threshold at which a metal deburring machine for industrial sheet metal fabrication has long since paid for itself. In addition to the reduced personnel overhead, other aspects also have a positive influence on the investment calculation: There is a significant increase in occupational safety as the metal deburring machine eliminates the risk of injuries from hand tools. In addition, the entire working environment is cleaner as the machine extracts the grinding dust. Consequently, both the employees and the entire production environment benefit. If you add up the total cost of your hand tools and the cost of their abrasives, you would be surprised at how much less expensive a modern metal deburring machine is to operate.

2. The type of sheets to be deburred

Thin sheets or heavy plates, large or small burrs, what am I aiming to achieve? That is the key question. When searching for the right metal deburring machine, you need to know what types of parts it will primarily be processing. That is why you need to take into consideration your parts spectrum and the edge requirements when selecting the right machine concept. The goal should always be to find a metal deburring machine which always delivers optimum quality for your most important parts spectrum. While also delivering high process reliability and low part costs. It is very important to bear in mind the cost per part when selecting an adequate deburring solution.

Automated deburring of flame-cut parts, for example, has proven to be the best and most cost-effective method. However, it also restricts the minimum part size and limits the minimum workable thickness. Nevertheless, there is no reason to forgo this most economical method of deburring flame-cut parts if these are the main pieces to be processed. Instead, it is worth considering how often “exceptions” are needed. This is the only way to focus on the most efficient procedure when handling your primary business.

Laser-cut parts may be an entirely different case. Ideally, you should use an approach which covers the entire spectrum of laser-cut parts, including both thin and thick pieces. Nevertheless, you might also ask yourself how consistent and to what degree the edges have to be rounded? Or whether processing speed is a more important criterion? When addressing these questions, make sure that you consider your most important customer requirements along with your specific sheet metal process chain.

The sheet metal process chain is always an essential factor in terms of cost efficiency. Document all of your fabrication and processing steps, their duration along with the individual costs of the process stations. Consider the costs of the metal deburring machine in the overall context. This lets you compare the purchase of the machine to the other process steps and create a detailed cost-benefit calculation. This is a key factor for your company’s financial efficiency.

3. Single or double-sided deburring?

The third criterion when selecting a metal deburring machine is the question of whether you need to deburr your parts on one or both sides. A metal deburring machine with single-sided processing may appear adequate at first for companies that generally only deburr one side of the sheet metal part. Nevertheless, the moment the parts are no longer pre-sorted before being fed into the machine, the operator has to start checking that the parts are oriented properly and adjust them accordingly. A machine capable of deburring both sides eliminates the need to pre-sort or rotate the parts. This, in turn, can benefit the process.

However, sheets generally need to be deburred and rounded on both the top and bottom sides. In this case, the benefit of a machine capable of processing both sides is obvious. In comparison to a machine which only works on one side, these machines deburr and round your jobs in less than half the time and require half the manpower. The calculation speaks for itself: Double-sided deburring generally pays off after only 15-25 machine hours per month.

Single-side machines are primarily used for small parts. As in the case above, the main question here is whether deburring the small parts is a primary task or an additional function. Most machines with double-sided processing also include solutions for sporadic jobs with small parts. An additional machine for working with small parts pays off in this case when compared with the savings that users gain from double-sided processing.

This also applies to the lead time, costs and benefits, the technology used along with the quantity and characteristics of the sheets. Companies familiar with their requirements are sure to find the right metal deburring machine for customized deburring and high-quality sheets.