Manual Metal Polishing vs. Automatic Metal Polishing Services

Posted by Helander Team on Fri, Oct 16, 2020

Metal polishing is a finishing process that uses abrasive materials to improve the surface of precision metal components. Polishing enhances the functional and aesthetic quality of the metallic surface by removing surface imperfections (e.g., scratches and nicks), improving corrosion and oxidation resistance, and/or adding a coarse, satin, fine satin finish.


Metal polishing operations utilize a variety of abrasive tools to achieve the specified finish on the workpiece. This process may also involve multiple stages. Generally, the polishing process starts by producing a coarse finish on the workpiece to remove burrs and other excess material. A series of successively finer grit abrasives are then used until the desired finish is reached.

Metal forming companies employ a variety of methods to complete metal polishing operations. Here, we provide a quick overview of manual metal polishing and automatic metal polishing, outlining the key advantages and typical applications of each.

Overview of Manual Metal Polishing

As suggested by its name, manual metal polishing involves human workers polishing the metal workpieces by hand. It is suitable for softer materials that require a more delicate and sensitive touch to avoid damaging or overworking the surface and for parts with complex or intricate designs, complicated geometries, highly specific finishing requirements, and/or large dimensions. This polishing method is ideal for small volume production runs.

About Automatic and Robotic Metal Polishing

Automatic metal polishing operations utilize preprogrammed robots to polish metal workpieces. By minimizing the need for operators, automated technologies allow for lower labor costs, better employee safety, and faster turnaround. Given the higher upfront costs and automated equipment’s limited responsiveness to delicate, complex, or very large parts, this polishing method is best suited for simple and small parts produced in high volumes. For example, it would not be appropriate for finishing giant nozzles.

Partner With Helander for All of Your Metal Polishing Needs

Manual metal polishing and automatic metal polishing both offer advantages, given the right application - one is not inherently better than another. Determining which type of polishing is right for your project necessitates evaluating your part and production requirements (e.g., part design, part size, production quantity, and expected turnaround time) and assessing which method best suits your needs. If you are looking for an experienced and knowledgeable partner for your next metal polishing project, turn to the experts at Helander.

At Helander, we provide advanced metal polishing services to customers across a wide range of industries. We offer polishing capabilities for all metals, including aluminum, brass, bronze, copper, stainless steel, and steel, to finishes ranging from 36 to 240 grit. Equipped with over 80 years of industry experience and state-of-the-art metal polishing equipment, we have what it takes to deliver polished parts and products that meet the industry’s highest standards.

Our team is fully committed to providing customers with quality polished components for their applications. This commitment is reflected by our adherence/compliance with numerous industry standards and specifications, including ISO 9001:2015, AS9100D, ASME, NADCAP, ITAR, and PPAP.

For general inquiries or questions our metal polishing capabilities, contact us today. To discuss specific polishing requirements with one of our experts, request a quote here.

Tags: metal polishing, new equipment

Highlighting Our New CNC Metal Spinning Lathe & Capabilities

Posted by Helander Team on Thu, Feb 27, 2020

At Helander, we are able to offer innovative and cutting-edge spinning solutions to our customers by regularly expanding our equipment portfolio. We are pleased to announce the recent addition of a CNC metal spinning lathe with machining capabilities to our equipment line. 

Our new lathe is designed to tolerate hot spinning up to 2,000° F and is equipped with thermocouple feedback and temperature control to facilitate temperature monitoring. Our team can now spin form blanks up to 8 feet in diameter and metals up to 2 inches thick, depending on the metal grade and the temperature applied. These aspects and capabilities make the CNC metal spinning lathe ideal for applications requiring larger components, heat resistance, or precise temperature control.

Compatible Parts & Industrial Applications

CNC metal spinning lathes enable an exceptional degree of design versatility and can be used to produce parts for a wide range of industries and applications. The high level of precision and consistency achieved with CNC metal spinning lathes make them especially well-suited for producing complex components for aerospace and defense operations. 

Several examples of products commonly manufactured through CNC metal spinning include:

  • Exhaust ducts
  • Liners for airplanes or spacecraft
  • Tank heads
  • Pressure vessels

At Helander, we are capable of holding tolerances within +/-0.030 of an inch, allowing us to manufacture complex parts with incredible precision. The many metal alloys we work with include titanium; 321 stainless steel; and 7075, 5052, and 6061 aluminum, with material thicknesses ranging from 0.018–2 inches. 

We also possess a hydroforming facility that is equipped to produce parts up to 20 inches in diameter and 10 inches in height. We are able to accommodate orders ranging from a single piece up to 50,000 pieces annually.

The CNC Metal Spinning Lathe Process

The metal spinning process uses friction created by a high-speed lathe to transform metal into spherical or conical shapes. A flat metal disc or tube known as a blank is rotated on a lathe and pressed against a tool called a mandrel to shape it into the requested configuration. With traditional metal spinning methods, an operator manually controls the spinning process to produce axially symmetrical parts.

While manual spinning methods are still critical and widely used within the metal spinning industry, using a CNC machine to control the spinning process offers excellent intricacy, precision, and repeatability in part production. With CNC spinning, a trained machinist programs an operational sequence on a computer, which will then be used to shape the metal workpiece according to the customer’s specifications. 

Benefits of CNC spinning technology include:

  • Quick and efficient production
  • Short lead times
  • High repeatability
  • Wide range of possible designs, patterns, and details
  • Relatively low production costs
  • Low-cost tooling

CNC Metal Spinning Services at Helander 

CNC metal spinning lathes are among the latest and greatest innovations in metal spinning technology today. Applying computer programming and automation to the metal spinning process enables the quick and efficient production of high-precision parts with reliable repeatability. CNC technology is an ideal fit for manufacturing components used in competitive and demanding industries where precision is critical to safety and performance.

With the addition of our new CNC metal spinning lathe, Helander is more prepared than ever to meet even the most stringent manufacturing requirements of customers from virtually any industry. With more than 80 years of experience in metal forming and fabrication, we are exceptionally qualified to provide carefully tailored manufacturing solutions for applications of any complexity. Given our long track record of successful projects, you can count on us for high-quality products, excellent customer service, and prompt deliveries.

For additional information regarding our metal spinning services and other manufacturing capabilities, check out our ever-expanding free resource center or contact our team today.

Tags: welding, metal polishing, new equipment