Metal lapping: what it is, how it works and how to best perform it


In the engineering industry and in the intermediate or final steps of various industrial working processes, it’s necessary to adequately finish the metal surfaces of the processed products to complete them, or to prepare them for subsequent processing. This finishing operation, which consists in eliminating the surface irregularities of the metals, allowing to obtain “mirror” surfaces, is called lapping. Used in several sectors, lapping can be carried out for functional or aesthetic purposes, and must be performed precisely thanks to the use of special machinery. Let’s see specifically what it consists of and how to best perform it.


What is metal lapping and what does it consist of?

Lapping, in the industrial field also called “ honing“, is a specific sanding technique of metal and aluminum surfaces that finds application in various industrial sectors, such as the automotive one, or in the field of precision mechanics. In fact, it is necessary in all cases in which a particular piece or metal component must have certain finishing characteristics and a perfectly smooth surface, to ensure the best possible efficiency and functionality. In some mechanical working of metal, for example, it can be used to eliminate the ridges left after the grinding of the machined pieces, even with tolerance margins in the order of a millimeter. In the lapping process, in order to achieve extremely precise finishing results, very fine-grit emery stones and high-quality abrasive materials must be used.


How is lapping performed?

In the industrial sector, the metal lapping operation is carried out thanks to the use of specific machinery, called lapping machines. In general, the procedure is quite simple: the surface to be sanded is treated with a particular compound consisting of a base (of a watery or oily consistency) and an abrasive component that can be made up of different types of materials. In industry, compounds such as diamond dust, boron or silicon carbide and aluminum oxide are mainly used. The application takes place through a special disk, the lapidello, made with soft metals such as copper, bronze or pearlitic cast iron, or with brushes that exploit the action of the abrasive powder sprinkled on a metal support, which often has a shape similar to that of the object to finish. In the industrial field, the use of lapping machines allows this process to be carried out on a large scale, treating large surfaces in a short time and allowing maximum working precision. Lapping can also be done manually, but it takes a long time and is only suitable for finishing work on confined surfaces.


Metal lapping machinery: Volpato’s proposals

In the Volpato catalog you can find a wide selection of metal sanding and finishing machinery and lapping machines capable of guaranteeing maximum precision and high performance, ensuring the creation of finished products of the highest level. In addition to the standard models, designed to adapt perfectly to different types of sectors and production chains, the company also deals with the design and construction of customized lapping machines, tailor-made according to the type of processing and the specific needs of the customer. Thanks to a constant investment in research and innovation and a highly trained and specialized team, Volpato is able to propose the most suitable solutions for metal lapping for each sector and production chain. In addition to the design service, it is also possible to test the machinery in advance and evaluate its performance with the materials normally produced within a specific company.