Microfinish: Applications for a Modern and Sustainable World
Reducing friction in internal combustion engines
Even with modern technology, internal combustion engines lose around 30% of fuel energy due to internal friction between moving parts. In order to reduce these losses, engine component surfaces and geometry are improved using microfinish.
Machined parts include crankshafts, camshafts, tappets and balance shafts. An extremely smooth surface is not always the goal: using microfinish, tiny rivets can be integrated into the component's surface structure, permitting improved oil retainment and optimized lubrication.
Expanded lifetime and mobility for artificial hip joints and spinal discs
Artificial hip joints and spinal discs need to provide their owners with maximum mobility and, due to the fact that replacement requires a complicated operation, last a long time. By improving the surface and the sphericity of the head and insert - also known as the ball and cup - of the artificial hip joints, friction between the two parts is reduced to a minimum. The same is achieved by machining the spinal discs. As a result, the owner is able to move without complications. Wear is also significantly reduced, so that even with daily use the component liftetime may exceed 20 years.
Microfinishing also makes hip joints more affordable: in some instances, hip joint heads and inserts are matched to each other and cannot be used interchangeably, making them more expensive and difficult to replace. This dilemna can be solved via microfinishing, which reduces deviations between machined heads, inserts and discs to nanometers.
Optimized metal sealing for high pressure fuel injection and hydraulic systems
In fuel injection systems as well as hydraulic systems, high pressures require the use of purely metal sealing solutions. By microfinishing ball valves and fuel injection components such as gaskets, extremely tight seals can be attained. In many instances, the finished parts will be able to support much higher pressures. The same advantages are achieved by finishing ball valves (photo). Both the ball and metal ring are finished to ensure the closest fit possible.
Reducing friction in ball bearings and roller bearings for reduced noise and expanded performance & lifetime
Ball- and roller bearings are used to reduce friction in thousands of different applications, ranging from high-speed trains to wind turbines and roller skates. As a result, manufacturers must also reduce friction within the bearings to a minimum. Today, nearly all roller bodies (rollers and balls) and raceways on bearing rings are microfinished. This reduces friction and noise, while also improving longevity.
Coating glass with gold and other precious metals
Some glass products, for example high-quality vials and flacons for luxury perfumes, include parts that are coated with precious metals. By microfinishing the glass, a surface structure with favorable adhesive properties can be generated. In this manner, the manufacturer can reduce the risk of flaking and simultaneously apply a thinner layer than would otherwise be possible.
Microfinished coining dies for forgery-proof coins
Yes, it is possible to (literally) make money using Microfinish. For many years the U.S. Mint has employed Thielenhaus machines to finish the coining dies used to make the world-famous "Quarters", "Dimes" and "Nickels", i.e. the 25-, 10- and 5 cent coins. The finishing of the coining dies makes it very difficult for forgers to reproduce the U.S. currency.