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Bigelow Components’ tumbling process leads to finished, deburred part


Springfield, New Jersey (April 3, 2012) – The Bigelow Components Corporation commitment to excellence and meticulous preparation has paved the way for more than five decades of superior cold-headed and stamped custom component manufacturing. Bigelow maintains the ability to expertly finish the cold heading process, enhancing the functionality, performance and appearance of precision metal parts, not unlike the way a great sports team finishes a game to achieve success and recognition. Their proven track record of meeting the needs of the marketplace is reflected in the expanding range of services and methods that enhance customer bottom lines.

The Bigelow dedication to high quality performance yields cost savings, time efficiencies and logistical advantages that are right in step with the demands of the many industries they serve. It’s a complex process that cannot be accomplished in one simple operation. Today, a multitude of granular details must be accounted for in order to achieve the optimal finishing qualities that yield high-grade performance. This is achieved by incorporating an often-overlooked process called deburring.

In order to create greater functionality and appearance, the deburring process is essential. Deburring is an integral procedure that will result not only in a functional metal part, but an aesthetically pleasing metal part as well.

Deburring is defined as removing the edges or protrusions of metal parts, caused by the metal forming process. It is accomplished by a multifaceted process called tumbling. In order to shape the metal parts to the specified size, form and finish defined by our clients, the tumbling process must be employed.

The process involves loading the precision metal parts into a horizontal barrel. Once inside, the barrel is rotated in an effort to raise the material until gravity causes the top layer to slip down to the opposite side. The barrel typically includes rubber vanes, which catch, lift and drop the parts. A full deburring cycle can take as little as five minutes or a take as long as a full day.

Brett Harman, president of Bigelow Components Corporation commented, “We make use of the most effective methods of tumbling by filling only half the barrel. In essence, this process is akin to using a blender to churn out your favorite beverage. The difference is Bigelow uses a barrel to generate a flawless precision metal part. It’s all about meeting the demands of the market and supplying our customers every step of the way with the results they want.”

In the tumbling process, and depending on the desired result, wet barrel finishing or dry barrel finishing may be employed. Wet barrel finishing typically eliminates burrs and polishes, and enhances the surface. Dry barrel finishing produces a smoother finish. When delicate deburring is needed, dry tumbling is utilized. If a client desires a polished finish or the removal of excess material, wet barreling is essential. Wet barrel finishing utilizes a compound or lubricant to facilitate the finishing process and prevent rusting.

Although this process may appear intuitive, executing it to perfection is no easy task. A wide range of variables can drastically alter the appearance and performance of the part. The configuration of the part must be thoroughly analyzed in order to accurately determine the optimal machine, compounds and media parts to utilize. The ideal type of media must also be identified. These include granite, steel, silicon and most prominently, ceramic. This intensive process ensures the smooth metal parts to manufacturers who require custom components.

“Our goal is to make the customer experience as convenient as possible. All of the ancillary details are accounted for, which results in a full-service, cost efficient, time saving experience,” Harman stated. “Our customers won’t have to deal with multiple vendors, we’re experts for the entire process.”

In addition to deburring, the tumbling process is useful to burnish, clean, descale, remove rust, and brighten or harden the surface. Bigelow employs cylindrical vibrators, box vibrators and high-speed centrifugal tumblers, which can accelerate the process by 25 to 50 times. The process is economical since an operator can run substantial amounts of precision metal parts with limited supervision. The preceding work is imperative to the quality and aesthetics of the part, but the tumbling and resulting deburring can make or break the functionality. This process is environmentally friendly, so a company can also save green by going green.


About Bigelow Components Corporation

Bigelow Components Corporation, located in Springfield, NJ has been providing the highest quality parts, innovative solutions and responsive service for more than 50 years. The company provides cold heading and stamping services to manufacturers that require precision custom components for product assembly. For more information, visit or contact Brett Harman at (973) 467-1200 or by email at


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