Vibratory Finishing Media

Vibratory Finishing Medias

Get that flawless finish you want on your industrial equipment with our custom-engineered vibratory media.

Our ‘stones’ and ‘chips’ tackle deburring, polishing, peening, and other challenges with precision and efficiency.

What is Vibratory Finishing?

Vibratory finishing is an automated surface treatment process that uses a vibrating container filled with media, such as ceramic or plastic pellets, and a specialized finishing compound.

The vibration causes the media and parts to rub against each other, removing burrs, smoothing surfaces, and imparting the desired surface finish.

This efficient, high-volume process is commonly used in manufacturing to cost-effectively produce parts with consistent, high-quality surface characteristics across large batches.

Types of Vibratory Finishing Media:

  • Ceramic Media: These are hard and dense, ideal for heavy cutting and hard metals. They come in various shapes, from pyramids to cylinders.
  • Plastic Media: Lighter than ceramic, plastic media is best suited for softer metals and is available in shapes like cones, pyramids, and stars.
  • Walnut Shells & Corn Cob Media: Natural and biodegradable, they’re primarily used for light deburring and polishing.
  • Stainless Steel & Aluminum Oxide: Preferred for burnishing processes, offering bright and shiny finishes.
  • Glass and Stone Media: Used for specific applications where a gentle abrasive touch is required.

Choosing the correct media and compound for your vibratory application is just as important as the equipment itself. Using the proper combination of media and compound can significantly reduce process times and overall costs while increasing part quality and appearance. The three major media categories are Ceramic, Plastic and Steel.

ceramic vibratory finishing media

Ceramic Media

Ceramic media is the most common media used in use today. Ceramic media is often used for deburring, radiusing and descaling but it can be used for cleaning, burnishing and surface refinement as well.

It is available without abrasive for polishing and with extremely aggressive abrasives to process parts with heavy burrs, sharp edges or deep machine lines. Industrimax NY offers the most comprehensive ceramic media selection available.

Plastic Media

Plastic media is the second most common mass finishing media. It is produced by mixing abrasives with various types of resins and pouring those mixtures into molds to create shapes and sizes suited for a given geometry.

Plastic media is generally 10 – 20 pounds lighter than ceramic media (per cubic foot). The low density characteristics of plastic media make it an ideal candidate for softer metals, die castings and precision machined parts where there are critical surface finishes and tight tolerances.

Plastic media is also far less likely to chip, reducing the problems caused by lodging in various geometric features of machined components compared to lodging from ceramic media.

Secondary Service offers standard and specialized formulations of plastic media and has the experience to assist you in selecting the right product for your application.

Steel Media

Steel media is often used for edge breaking and burnishing. Steel media along with the proper compound, can produce a bright luster finish on aluminum, brass, copper and steel parts in a relatively short time.

The added weight (approximately 300 pounds per cubic foot) helps to break or dull sharp edges, and when properly cared for, steel media can virtually last forever.

Vibratory Tumbler Media

Vibratory tumbler media is an essential component in the surface finishing process, offering a wide range of materials, shapes, and sizes to achieve the desired results.

From ceramic and plastic to steel and specialty media, each type has unique properties that can effectively remove burrs, smooth surfaces, polish, or enhance the appearance of various workpieces.

By choosing the right media and optimizing the tumbling process parameters, such as speed, amplitude, and cycle time, manufacturers can efficiently achieve consistent and high-quality finishes on their products.

ceramic vibratory finishing media

How to Choose the Right Mass finishing Media

  • Material and Size of Part: Harder metals might require dense ceramic media, while plastics might be better suited for softer media types.
  • Desired Finish: Whether one requires a polished shine or merely wants to remove rough edges can determine the choice of media.
  • Shape and Design of the Part: Complex parts with nooks might benefit from smaller, angular media that can reach tighter areas.
  • Wear Rate & Bulk Density: Some media wear out faster, while others, like ceramic, are known for longevity.
  • Frequency of Cycles: How often one runs finishing cycles can impact media choice.

Benefits of Vibratory Finishing

  • Uniform Finish: Provides consistent results, ensuring each part meets the desired specifications.
  • Environmental Impact: Choices like walnut shells or corn cobs are biodegradable, making them environmentally friendly options.
  • Efficiency: It’s a process that can handle bulk operations, finishing multiple parts simultaneously.
  • Flexibility: With a variety of media types and sizes available, one can achieve a broad range of finishes.

What Are the APplications of Vibratory Finishing Medias

The specific media chosen, along with the finishing compounds used, can be tailored to achieve the desired surface characteristics for the part and industry requirements.

  • Deburring – The media, along with specialized compounds, helps remove burrs, sharp edges, and other surface imperfections from metal parts.
  • Surface Smoothing – The abrasive action of the media refines the texture of workpieces, achieving a consistently smooth, uniform finish.
  • Descaling – Vibratory finishing can effectively eliminate scale, rust, and oxidation buildup from the surfaces of ferrous metals.
  • Polishing & Brightening – Certain media types, used in conjunction with polishing compounds, can impart a high-luster, mirror-like finish on parts.
  • Precision Finishing – Media formulations can be selected to maintain tight dimensional tolerances without over-processing delicate parts.
  • Versatility – Vibratory finishing media is compatible with a wide range of materials, including metals, plastics, ceramics, and more, making it a versatile solution for diverse manufacturing applications.


Vibratory finishing media is more than just abrasive materials tossed into a tumbler. It’s a blend of science, technology, and artistry, ensuring parts and components look and function their best. As industries grow, the demand for specialized media will continue to expand, promising even better and more efficient results in the future.

Free Sample Processing

Feel free to contact us to discover how we can optimize your cleaning processes with our state-of-the-art vibratory finishing equipment and technology.

For questions or to order call: (716) 288-7105