What is Deburring: Smoothening Out Your Metal the Right Way

What is Deburring- Smoothening Out Your Metal the Right Way
Figure 1: The Process of Deburring

As a professional in the manufacturing industry, you must come across unwanted rough edges with metal parts that dreadfully impact the workpiece’s performance. Despite appearance and functionality, the imperfection and burrs make the workpiece look unsightly and absolutely unsafe. 

So, how do we eliminate unwanted material from metal surfaces?

Deburring is an ideal and most efficient solution for this. It is a well-recognized process to smoothen out rough and sharp edges from the metal surface. It significantly reduces the safety risks and improves the quality of metal pieces. 

Do You Know?

The Future Market predicted that the global demand for deburring machines is expected to rise at a CAGR of 5.8% to $1500 Million in 2033.

The exceptional surge in the deburring market results from industrial growth and the extraordinary benefits of the process.

If you want deep insight into the deburring process and how to smoothen your metal with the right tools, you have landed at the right place. In this article, we will discuss everything about deburring and its advantages. 

Without any further due, let’s get into it!

What is a Burr, and How Does It Affect Machining?

What is a burr, and how does it affect machining
Figure 2: Different types of Burrs

You must have heard of the term “burr” in the professional manufacturing industry. But do you know what exactly a burr means and how it impacts the other machining processes?

Understanding the problem is half of the solution. Therefore, before you jump into understanding deburring, it is crucial to find out what a bur is. 

A burr refers to small rough bumps and edges on the metal surface formed after thermal cutting and machining a metal piece. According to the latest research, manufacturers claim that burr removal takes 40% of the total machining time and reduces working efficiency. 

The manufacturing processes such as drilling, milling, or turning cause burrs on metal pieces, causing several issues if not addressed on time. 

Let’s discover how a burr affects the machining processes;

  • Inferior Quality: One of the significant impacts of burr is the bad quality of the metal product. It causes mechanical malfunction, aspect deformity, and dimensional errors. That means it fairly damages the final product’s quality and functionality. 
  • Reduced Safety: Sharp thin ridges cause the risks of injuries and equipment failure at the workplace. It impacts operators’ safety and handling, thus, giving rise to safety hazards at the workplace. 
  • Increased Stress: A metal piece with burrs is delicate to corrosion and fractures. It increases the stress during machining operation and final handling. Furthermore, it impacts the assembling and lubrication of the final piece. The unwanted scrapes and ridges cause interference during the final application of powder coating, wet painting and electroplating. 

Therefore, it is suggested that avoiding burr formation on metal sheets is inevitable in order to prevent such complications. However, it is impossible to cut without forming rough ridges in some processes. So, in such cases, deburring comes as a life-savior option.

What Causes Burrs When Machining?

What causes burrs when machining
Figure 3: Burr Formation from Drilling

If you are a professional manufacturer, you must put forward your best efforts to avoid burr formation. But do you still face the issue of burrs during the machining processes despite all the precautions? 

It is a common issue that can be caused by various factors such as machining processes, material properties, tooling equipment, improper cutting and surface treatments. However, the root cause of burrs on metal surfaces is different manufacturing processes. 

The following are the most common cutting and manufacturing methods that leave a burr;

  • Turning Process: The burr formed in the turning operation when the cutting edge of the tool extends over the edge of the workpiece. This type of bur is called rollover burr. It usually occurs on the sides of the workpiece. 
  • Drilling Process: A worn-out drill is a common cause of burr formation during machining. In the drilling process, a burr is formed when the sharp drill tool exits the workpiece uncut chip, causing rollover burrs. 
  • Milling Process: The milling operation causes several types of burrs on supporting equipment and the workpiece. In the milling process, it is formed due to poor surface quality and inconsistency of the machinery. 

Moreover, cutting processes such as blanking, punching, laser cutting, shearing, and plasma cutting are the common causes of burrs when machining. Understanding the causes of burrs is necessary to avoid inefficient machining processes and achieve precise final products. 

Why Is Deburring Necessary?

Why Is Deburring Necessary
Figure 4: Deburring of Small Parts

Would you appreciate the presence of thin and sharp ridges on the metal products? Absolutely not!

The appearing burrs on metal typically cause costly rework and rejection of the products. 

We all know that small, unwanted edges on metal pieces impact the quality, cause assembly issues, and reduce efficiency and safety grade. Deburring is a process that removes the burrs and sharp edges from the metal surface. Thus, it is essential to smoothen the entire metal manufacturing process. 

According to SCIRP Annal’s – Manufacturing Technology Survey, manufacturers claim that burrs increase the cycle time by 15% and cause machinery breakdown by 4%. Deburring certainly adds up to the total cost and time, but it is necessary to ensure the high quality and functionality of the final products. 

Let’s break down some most common reasons which make deburring utterly necessary;

  • Product Quality: The first and foremost reason for investing in deburring tools and techniques is to improve the quality standards and specifications of the end product. Burrs significantly affect the precision and accurate manufacturing process. Therefore, you can improve the quality and visible aspects of metal by deburring.
  • Workforce Safety: Since burrs cause cuts on the fingers and similar injuries at the workplace, deburring ensures a safer working environment to reduce health hazards. As a manufacturer, you can reduce the risks of severe injuries and health threats by removing the sharp edges from metal. 
  • Efficiency: With improved quality and appearance, deburring enhances the working efficiency of the manufacturing/ machining processes. This process removes the unnecessary material from the metal surface, allowing smooth insertion and fitting of parts. It reduces cycle time, production errors, and labor efforts. Moreover, it benefits the overall business with an increased production rate, seamless assembly, and increased output rate.
  • Longevity: Last but not least, deburring is necessary to increase the reliability and durability of metal products. With smooth functioning, the product lasts longer with satisfactory performance. 

The deburring process is essential for removing burrs, especially from stencils and molds used for plastic manufacturing, to prevent the deformity of metal molds.

Are you interested in learning more about machinability – Check out our recent blog post.

Recent Blog Post: What is Machinability and How Is It Measured?

How Do You Remove Burrs From Metal?

When it comes to removing the burrs from the metal piece, many techniques and tools are available to ensure the quality and effectiveness of the products. The choice of deburring process depends on the material type, geometric specifications, complexity of the workpiece, and desired precision. These methods include manual and automated processes with their own advantages and downsides. 

Here is the list of the five most commonly used techniques that manufacturers leverage to remove the burrs from the metal surface;

1: Manual Deburring

Although manual deburring is the most classical method of removing burrs from the metal. The rough edges are removed manually with sandpapers, files, and abrasive pads. The manual deburring process is a cost-effective and convertible option that can remove different burrs. 

However, it is time-consuming and not a recommended process for high-volume productions. 

2: Grinding and Rolling

Mechanical deburring by rolling and grinding is the most consistent and cost-efficient deburring method. In this process, a grinder and deburring tools remove the rough, sharp edges from the metal. It is a versatile method that supports high product quality and production runs. 

Large parts and accuracy are the common disadvantages of mechanical deburring. 

3: Electrochemical Deburring

Electrochemical deburring is a commonly used technique for eliminating small burrs that are unreachable with other deburring methods. It involves electric current, electrodes, and an electrolytic solution. The electrochemical tools remove the burrs, and the sodium chloride solution flushes away the excess material. 

The process precisely smooth’s out the burrs and rough edges with correct orientation and handling.

4: Hole Deburring

Hole deburring
Figure 5: Cross-hole Deburring Results

You probably need this method if you have a burr in a metal product’s inner surface cavity or hole. Flat surface methods are not effective in removing burr from the small spot. In this process, a cutting tool on the spindle is designed with a spring-loaded function. The cutting tool is positioned in a way that removes the burr from the hole smoothly. 

This process is only limited to hole deburring and is not versatile for other burrs. 

5: Brushing

Figure 6: Automated Brushed Deburring

As the name suggests, this method utilizes special types of brushes to remove the burrs from the metal product. These deburring brushes are made of abrasive material that cleans the metal surface with a particular grit number, like sandpaper.

However, the process is faster and more efficient than manual deburring. Moreover, it can be automated to achieve high production runs.

Removing burrs from the metal products with different deburring processes ensures the quality and safety of the final product. These tools and techniques are often used for deburring in CNC machines.

If you have no idea about CNC machining, read our comprehensive guide on CNC Machining.

5 Simple Tips for Deburring Metal

Deburring may seem a hectic and time-consuming task for some people. However, following the right strategies can make it effective and faster. Here we have organized 5 quick and effective tips that you can follow to make the deburring process simple and efficient.

1: Take Advantage of Automated Processes

Automated processes appear to be cost-effective and versatile, but applying consistent pressure to remove burrs can be daunting. Moreover, repetitive back-and-forth motion in manual grinding causes injuries. Therefore, consider automated processes to increase efficiency and safety while deburring your metal pieces.

2: Use Rotary Brushes for Surface Coated Metal Parts

Rotary brushes will be the right choice if you want to smoothen metal parts with a surface coating like laser cladding, zinc, or laser coatings. Deburring methods, such as mechanical deburring or electrochemical deburring, damages the metal coatings. 

However, rotary brushes evenly deburr the surface area without damaging the coatings. 

3: Use the Special Lubricant

You must use cutting fluid or lubricants for a smooth finish and precise outcome. These lubricants decrease the level of friction and heat between the metal and deburring tool. Cooling lubricants or cutting oils reduce the risk of friction damage. It boosts the speed and ensures a fault-free deburring process.

4: Deburr and Finish Simultaneously 

Usually, manufacturers complain that deburring takes over 25% of the total finishing time. But, they can minimize the finish cycle time by performing deburring and finishing operations simultaneously with the right tools and machinery. 

Machinery with brush heads and belts can simultaneously deburr and finely assemble the final without much effort.

 5: Be Mindful of the Safety

Be cautious of the sharp edges and flying debris produced during deburring. Always use safety equipment and gear to protect yourself from harmful injuries. Moreover, it is crucial to be mindful of the heat, sparks, and explosions produced by thermal deburring. 

Design Considerations and Cost-saving Tips

As deburring escalate the finishing cost of the metal products, consider the following tips to minimize the cost-effectively;

1: Minimize or Prevent Burrs

“Prevention is better than cure,” same goes with metal deburring. You can always prevent burrs by operating and configuring the machinery mindfully. Be cautious while machining expensive and complex metal parts.

2: Only Remove Burrs When Necessary

Sometimes it is irrelevant to remove burrs if the burrs do not impact the functionality or cause any physical injury. Also, removing burrs on the machined pieces that will undergo further processing is completely unnecessary because they might get more rough edges in the following machining process. So, it’s better to remove burrs after all the machining processes.

3: Abrasive Brushing is More Economical

Instead of buying expensive tools every time, you can consider abrasive brushing at different stages while machining your metal piece. It is an economical, easy-to-use and swift technique to get rid of unwanted burrs. 

Kemal: The Best Choice for Machining Services

Are you looking for a precise machining solution for your metal components? Well, your search is over, as Kemal is your one-stop solution. We utilize advanced equipment and tools to ensure your final products are free of surface imperfections and burrs. 

With our own factory and qualified machinists, we provide quick prototyping and precisely engineered machining services. Apart from this, we provide CNC MachiningMold Manufacturing, and 3D Printing services.

We have 28 years of experience in manufacturing accurate and functional machining parts that will exceed your expectations. At Kemal, we follow a strict inspection process to ensure the products are free of any faults. We are ISO 9001 certified and provide quality-standard products. 

Bring your machining vision to life with Kemal. For free quotes and additional information, contact us. Our expert team is available around the clock to provide assistance.

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