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What are Lapping Services, and How Do They Work?

Lapping is performed on ceramic, glass, or metal surfaces to eliminate their roughness. During the process, two surfaces rub together with an abrasive in between. The abrasive material is a powder used as a grinding agent at relatively low speeds.

The process is implemented for products that require extremely tight tolerances of parallelism, finish, thickness, or flatness. This guide will further walk you through the machining process and its applications in the industry.

How Does Lapping Work?

Lapping is a batch process in which single or multiple parts are machined simultaneously. The abrasive particles are mixed with a liquid that is either water- or oil-based. The lapped pieces are caught in retaining rings. Carriers, also called “work-holders,” are used to keep these parts separated and prevent damage to the edges.

The material to be lapped is dragged across the lap plate’s surface – where the abrasive is fed. The greatest material removal takes place at the high points of the surface in contact with the flat lap plate. The primary objective of the process is to give you parts with a flat or uniformly smooth surface.

Type of Processed Material  

With the proliferation of technology, the demand for more flat surfaces and precise size tolerances has increased. Most of these advancements are derived from using new material compounds and more exotic natural materials. The lapping process is extremely gentle, producing low-stress levels in brittle and delicate materials.

However, the operations involved in the process can also process some of the hardest materials on this earth.

Vehicle and Slurry Used

For an efficient lapping process, it’s crucial to use the correct abrasive and slurry ratio to achieve repeatable and consistent surface roughness. Moreover, the ratio determines the strength and thickness of the film. Lower film thickness means the component material will likely wipe closer to the lap plate. As a result, greater cutting energy will transfer through abrasive particles to the workpiece, causing increased penetration and severe scratching.    

Lapping mechanical seals

At Robco of America, we provide lapping and polishing services for mechanical seal repair and seats as well as pump parts and custom applications. We can re-lap thrust bushings, engine parts, pivot shoes, and more.

We also manufacture our own line of assembly and cartridge seals and specialize in emergency mechanical seals repair services. Give us a call for lapping and polishing services today.

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