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Removing Etch Marks To Leave A Satin Finish On Stainless Steel

Removing etch marks from a finished stainless steel component is a tricky balance. Enough aggression is needed to remove the etching without causing additional damage to the finished product.

Our customer faced the problem of removing an etched logo from several hunderd stainless steel components in order to fulfil an order. To make this worthwhile, a short process time and cost efficiency were everything. They came to AFS for a technical solution, here's what we did.

Process: Present the component (in this case the stainless door handles) against the bench grinder wheel. Apply increased pressure when removing the etching and reduce pressure when applying the final finish.
Machine: Bench Grinder
Speed:  3,000 rpm.
Product:  FA5 Unitised 150mm Wheel

This simple yet effective process offers enough aggression to complete the etching process but does it in such a way that the soft satin finish is retained. Leaving a fine 320 grit satin finish on the stainless steel door handles.

The initial passes with firm pressure allows the etching to be removed. Then on the same abrasive wheel you can apply the satin finish. However, ensure you are backing off on the pressure to allow the finish be applied.

Benefits of the New Process

  1. Speed - As the video illustrates, the whole process from removing the required logo to having the 320 grit satin finish is achieved very quickly
  2. Finish - The forgiving FA5 unitised abrasive wheel provides enough aggression to remove the etched logo whilst not reshaping the component
  3. Cost -  A fast process gives a low labour cost whilst the premium Cibo unitised abrasives give excellent performance and lifetime and therefore a low unit cost

Background Info

Our customer required a solution with the removal of an etched logo from one of their 316 stainless steel components. They came to us so we could recommend a solution to this.

Given that a high aggression process would damage the profile of the component, we had to strike a fine balance between something that would remove the etching yet something that would leave the high quality satin finish required.

The FA5 Unitised wheel, to be fitted on a bench grinder was the ideal solution. A simple process, where varying your pressures removes the etched logo and let's you apply a good finish in one action without changing machine speeds.

Benefits of the New Process

The benefits of this bench grinding process is that it is a very simple process and members of staff could be trained extremely quickly.

Once you have the idea of the pressure required to initially remove the etching and then applying the finish, the process will become second nature.

We found our customer extremely happy with our solution, the unitised abrasive FA5 wheel did good job of removing the original etching and then apply a 320 grit soft satin finish in one action.

Hints & Tips

  1.  Beware not to put to much heat into the stainless steel by applying too much pressure
  2.  If too much heat has got into the metal, back off and one more single pass will apply the satin finish back on to the workpiece

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