Industrial lapping, polishing and micro grinding machines are used in the ceramics, optics, semiconductor and automotive industries. The size and type of lapping machines used depends on the purpose. Lapping table machine sizes vary from smaller table top units to configurations with 72? lapping plates. Lapping and polishing are used in any industry which requires precision finishes with surfaces polished to a high degree of accuracy or flatness.
Lapping and grinding machines
Lapping and grinding machines essentially consist of a configuration in which two surfaces are rubbed together, with an intervening abrasive. The rubbing can be done by hand or by a machine. The purpose of lapping is to achieve surface flatness. Known as surface accuracy, flatness is measured in units of fractions of the wavelength of light waves; specifically, Helium Light Bands or HLB which equal 0.000011 inches or 280 nm. Typically, accuracies of 1 to 3 HLB are achieved.
The lapping process is also sometimes used to achieve concave or convex surfaces, even though typically surface flatness is the goal. When very small items have to be polished, from 3″ in size to a few millimeters, a lapping jig can be used to hold them steady on the lapping plates. It allows for precise control of the specimen and adjustment of the load or pressure applied as material is removed during the polishing process.
Double sided lapping machines
Lapping machines can be single sided or double sided. Double sided lapping machines are used when two parallel surfaces need to be polished. Double sided lapping machines can be manually controlled models which are easy to operate. They come in a variety of sizes to process parts of differ shapes and sizes, from parts as thin as .002? and diameters as wide as 20?.
Materials to be polished can be silicon wafers, metals and sapphire. Consumables refer to the abrasives used in the lapping process. While little known outside the industry, lapping and polishing processes are essential to many industries that underpin contemporary life.