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Brush Research celebrates 55 years of surface finishing

Over a half a century after its founding, Brush Research Manufacturing is still developing new ways to improve surface finishing. The Los Angeles-based company, founded in 1958, is best known for inventing the Flex-Hone Tool and building it into a global brand. This year, BRM is celebrating its 55th anniversary.

The flagship Flex-Hone tool, built with a stiff metal stem and flexible nylon abrasive filaments, removes cut, torn, or folded metal while leaving the base metal undisturbed. This flexible hone can be used for edge blending, plateau honing, polishing and chamfer operations. It can be used with manual or automated production equipment, or handheld electric drills.

brm shop  

During the company’s early years, the Flex-Hone was popular mainly in the automotive market. By deglazing the walls of engine cylinders, for example, users extended the service life of diesel engines while reducing oil consumption and lowering emissions. BRM soon began supplying its surface finishing solutions to other industries.

Today, the Flex-Hone tool is sold through a worldwide network of distributors for surface finishing of everything from big diesel engines to small brass tubes in musical instruments, as well as honing the barrels and chambers of firearms and chamfering holes in critical parts used in jet engines.

“All of those developments came from listening to the marketplace”, said Jonathan Borden, BRM’s national accounts manager. “That means working directly with customers to provide customized solutions to their applications.”

brm high angle 

BRM has adopted a new focus on its “six pillars of success:” value, education, partner support, quality, character and innovation. These characteristics help BRM provide added value to products that might be viewed as commodity items, according to the company.

“Within those six pillars are attributes that really set our organization apart and will allow us to continue with our success,” said Borden.

According to Borden, the first pillar–value–represents the company’s focus on providing added value to both distributors and end users. “If a brush supplier can’t deliver on-time and on short-demand, it’s the brush distributor who takes the blame,” said Heather Jones, BRM’s director of marketing. “That’s not fair to the distributor. BRM keeps 98 percent of catalog items in stock and offers flexible shipping options. This lets distributors reduce inventory carrying costs and invest their capital in other business opportunities.”

To support its global distributor network, Brush Research offers same-day or next-day shipping. The company provides custom power brush and twisted-in-wire solutions in as little as 24 or 48 pieces, and the Flex-Hone tool can be provided in single-piece custom solutions. BRM says it can deliver large quantities of custom brush tools on tight production schedules.

The company also offers a full electronic library of resource guides that include case studies, high-resolution photography and video content. It also monitors social media channels and shares solutions via Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn. BRM also posts regular blog entries and is planning a mobile application to aid customers with product selection.

flexhone with oil 

Over the years, one of the biggest changes for BRM has been in its manufacturing processes, many of which are proprietary. The company continues to invest in automation and quality control systems to improve its manufacturing accuracy and efficiency.

“With advanced technologies and quality management systems, you can really control the manufacturing process and that is where many of our advancements have taken place: smaller hones, tighter tolerances and continuously improved product quality,” said Borden.

At its surface finishing laboratory in Los Angeles, Calif., the firm analyzes customer parts that require finishing, then selects and tests the tools that will provide the best solution according to customer operating parameters. The results include everything from a customized brush with a tapered configuration, or even a stepped-tapered shape of a certain length and honing material.

For more information, contact Brush Research Manufacturing at (323) 261-2193 or visit the Web site: www.brushresearch.com.

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