Industry News

A Guide to Superfinishing for Small Titanium Parts

The superfinishing process removes material on surfaces after modifications, using fine-grit abrasives to remove the residual layer left over from previous operations. Sometimes referred to as micro-finishing, the superfinishing process refines a component’s surfaces.

These abrasive materials rotate while being spun around opposite the titanium part they’re finishing. This results in the removal of the amorphous surface layer resulting from grinding processes used during finishing, increasing a titanium component’s lifespan by mitigating normal wear while also allowing the part to seal better.

The superfinishing process allows users to: 

  • Eliminates defects caused by grinding, such as chatter, factettes, and noise
  • Enables nearly any type of surface finish
  • Enhances efficiency at which a part functions, reducing friction and noise
  • Produce consistent surface finishes in a predictably repeatable process
  • Removes microscopic burrs left due to grinding
  • Tweaks the geometry to make components fit better by making them rounder or flatter

The result of the superfinishing process is a predictably uniform finish. While the part may not have a polished look, it will be exceptionally smooth. The surface of a superfinished part will also have microscopic lines that go in random directions, sometimes called an isotropic surface, giving it an aesthetically pleasing look.

Benefits of Superfinishing for Small Titanium Parts

Superfinishing creates a very aesthetically pleasing finish with a cross-hatching look that can’t be attained through regular polishing. It also lengthens how long moving parts last, as the superfinishing process produces a low-friction surface. These parts also work better than other methods for modifying surfaces, which enables better sealing capabilities.

The superfinishing process offers benefits that include:

  • Creating micro-annular grooves to make an oil seal on the surface through the removal of feed marks
  • Making mirror-like finishes with an average roughness of less than .01 micron, 4 micro inches
  • Deburring oil holes
  • Decreasing the thickness of oil film
  • Eradicating ferrite caps
  • Getting rid of chatter and lobing caused by any pre-processing procedures
  • Lowering the cost of maintaining warranties
  • Allowing components to work more efficiently
  • Permitting better performance by lowering friction
  • Requiring no breaking-in of components
  • Exceptional geometrical features and surface finishes

The Superfinishing Process & Industry

Superfinishing is used to fabricate titanium parts without amending their actual form, an important aspect of the process when dealing with components with complex geometries. Manufacturers use the superfinishing process to keep from destroying fine features or rounding off any distinct edges. This degree of precision and it’s repeatability makes it necessary for various industries, either for aesthetic appeal or to improve the lifespan of a titanium component.

Superfinished titanium parts are particularly well-suited to operate in harsh conditions. They’re typically utilized in critical equipment requiring high-quality parts with good fatigue and high corrosion resistance, and titanium’s tensile strength properties. For this reason, superfinishing titanium must be done to the highest standard so that the components are reliable.

Industries and applications utilizing superfinished titanium components include: 

  • Medical industry
  • Cutting-edge vascular and drug-eluting stents
  • Micro-opto-electromechanical systems
  • Microfluidics
  • Bio-micro-electromechanical systems
  • Medical devices and implants
  • Automotive industry
  • High-velocity components like rods and shafts
  • Metal ornaments
  • Display pieces
  • Aerospace industry
  • Gears and other components that experience the most wear
  • Turbines

To learn more about the superfinishing process or other types of finishing processes for titanium, call us today at (603) 335-2132 or contact us online!