Abbott manufactures over five billion balls each year in a range of sizes and materials. Most are of stainless or carbon steel, while the rest are from brass, aluminum, chrome steel, precious metals, and offers glass and plastic. Abbott has a special department devoted to the manufacture of precious metal balls, including gold, silver, platinum, palladium, titanium and specialized alloys, for uses such as electrical contacts, switches, relays, brazing and jewelry. Each material has unique production requirements, but the process is generally similar and has been refined over decades for efficiency and uniform quality.
All Abbott processes and policies are designed for maximum quality. Defects are so rare that we measure them in parts per million, and we won't be satisfied until we find none. Every ball passes through exacting inspections that automatically detect and remove off-spec balls. A significant number of random samples is tested for hardness and examined microscopically for structure and finish.
Only when we know that customers will be satisfied do we impart the Abbott Ball name to our products. Abbott's high standards for quality and value also apply to the extensive line of metal burnishing media that we manufacture.
How a Ball is Made
Heading: In the first step, heading machines cut wire into short lengths and form it into spherical shapes between dies.
Deflashing: The flash line, a ridge left by the forming dies, is removed as balls roll between heavy, cast iron plates.
Soft Grinding: Similar to deflashing, except that a grinding stone is used to improve precision.
Heat-treating: Carbon steel balls are next carburized and hardened. Heat treatment imparts the desired hardness and case depth.
Descaling: This step removes the residues and by-products from the heat-treating process.
Hard Grinding: Slow, meticulous grinding assures proper sizing and sphericity, with tolerances as close as ±.0001".
Lapping: Several proprietary lapping processes can bring balls to the requirements of ISO 3290 Grade 10 - 48.
Finishing: Proprietary chemical and mechanical processes give the balls their final micro-smoothed finish, for increased wear resistance and product longevity.Inspection: All products pass through at least two 100% inspection stages, using proprietary, automated inspection processes.