Valve Maker Develops New Method of Honing Burrs with Flexible Hone

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Special deburring tool delivers significant cost savings versus previous method

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The results indicate that the honing tool has generated significant cost savings over previous methods.

Humphrey Products of Kalamazoo, MI, a leading manufacturer of air valves, has developed a new method of honing burrs created during the molding of the aluminum body for a quick exhaust valve. The new system incorporates a flexible hone deburring tool in a drill motor. Results indicate that the honing tool has generated significant cost savings over previous methods.

Humphrey Products manufactures a variety of valves for industrial use. However, it was the company’s line of quick exhaust valves that required a new solution.

In the past, the aluminum body of the valve was molded by an outside vendor and shipped to Humphrey Product’s plant for finishing and assembly. The part would first go through manual inspection and then onto a milling operation to rework the diaphragm sealing area.

From there the piece would be transported to the vibrator department. The part would go into a vibratory finishing machine with steel media for polishing and removal of the external parting line created during casting.

At the same time, Humphrey Products was using the steel media to remove the flashing on the inside parting line. It was at this point that the company was experiencing costly production problems. During the finishing process the steel media lodged into the 8mm diameter, ¾-in. deep hole in the valve’s body.

The company was losing between 100 and 150 parts during a typical run of 3,000 – an unacceptable 5%.

Looking for a solution, the company adopted an innovative deburring tool known as Flex-Hone®. Manufactured by Brush Research Manufacturing Co., Inc. (Los Angeles, CA) the flexible hone consists of a resilient-based hone with abrasive laminated to the ends of high-density nylon filaments. The 180-grit silicon carbide honing tool rotates in a right hand direction at approximately 400rpm.

The new system at Humphrey Products operates much as before, but now the parts are taken from an external vibratory finishing process to the Flex-Hone deburring station. Here an operator takes each body and runs it through the deburring tool to remove the inside flashing. Any potential problem with valve failure is avoided by the thorough removal of loose flashing with the flexible hone.

As a result of using the flexible hone, the company achieved highly cost-effective results over the steel media deburring method.

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Heather Fowlie-Jones
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