The ceramics, optics, semiconductor and automotive industries rely on lapping and polishing machines to produce precision surfaces with a high degree of smoothness. Lapping produces smooth surfaces by rubbing two surfaces against each other with an abrasive material in between. The lapping process can be done by hand or by a machine. Lapping machines come in different sizes and types, depending on the job for which they are needed.
Creating precision surfaces with polishing machines
Lapping table machines can polish many different kinds of materials to a high degree of precision. Components made from ceramic, silicon, glass, sapphire, metal, and plastics can be polished to surface accuracy or flatness defined in the width of light bands. The unit of measurement is Helium Light Bands, with one HLB equal to 0.000011 inches or 280 nm. Typically, surfaces can be polished to accuracies of 1 to 3 HLB.
Lapping processes are most often used to produce flat surfaces, though sometimes concave or convex surfaces are needed. Using interferometry and specialized polishing machines, or working by hand, skilled lens makers can achieve surface accuracy of better than 30 nanometers, or one twentieth of 1HLB.
Types of grinding machines
Grinding and polishing machines come in many different types. There are single and double sided lapping machines, edge grinders and double sided fine grinders. Consumables like abrasives, slurry, polishing pads and cleaners need to be replaced from time to time. Depending on the part to be polished, different abrasives can be used. Diamond abrasives are an efficient and cost-effective choice for polishing ceramics. They are better for the environment, because less slurry is used in the process.
Polishing machines come in sizes from small table top units to the largest ones which have 72 inch plates. Double sided lapping machines can be used to polish components as thin as .002 of an inch; they can process parts with diameters as large as 20 inches. If the part to be polished is very small, anywhere from 3 inches to a few millimeters, a lapping jig is used to hold it in place on the lapping table. The jig also helps in making adjustments during the polishing process.
Spare parts keep your business running smoothly
Spare and replacement parts help to keep grinding and polishing machines working smoothly, without interruptions. Parts and accessories such as abrasives, consumables and lap plates constantly need replacement. Any delays or breakdowns can delay and jeopardize the entire production process. A reliable source for spare parts eliminates worry and costly delays.