In many manufacturing processes, industrial brushes are used to clean, polish, deburr, or coat different products and components. There are hundreds of industrial brushes to choose from, but they are not all interchangeable. Finding the most suitable brush for your application is determined by your industry setting, application requirements, brush size, and the type of brush filaments to use.

Cocker-Weber Brush Company manufactures high-quality, US-made industrial brushes that are durable, innovative, genuine, and cost-friendly to use in the long term.

This article will guide you through the factors you should consider in choosing the best brush filament for your application. In addition, you will also learn about the extensive range of industrial brushes offered by Cocker-Weber.

What Is A Brush Filament?

Brush filament refers to the bristles or fibers that provide the working surface of the brush. With the many types of industrial brushes available, what makes each brush so different from the others is the type of filament materials used in each.

Common Types Of Brush Bristle Materials

Cocker-Weber Brush Company makes brushes from various metals, natural fiber, and synthetic materials. We can also custom-made brushes and brush filaments if your project demands a more specific requirement.
Here are the three most common brush filament materials:

  • Metals. Brushes with filaments made of metal materials are used in applications that require robust, sharp, and aggressive bristles, usually for deburring and cleaning. The most common metal filaments are made of brass, bronze, carbon steel, and stainless steel.
  • Natural Fibers. These filaments are soft, all-natural, and commonly used for painting applications. They include animal hair fibers such as Chungking bristles, white boar bristles, horse hair, and goat hair. There are also plant-based fibers like Tampico and agave.
    • Synthetic Materials. Filaments from artificial materials offer excellent bend recovery and are commonly used on applications that require damage tolerance and chemical resistance. These include nylon, anti-static nylon, PVC, polyethylene, and styrene.

Factors To Consider When Choosing A Brush Filament

With so many brushes to choose from, finding the right one for your application can be challenging. Therefore, it is crucial to keep the following considerations in mind when trying to select the proper brush filament for your application:

Filament’s Length & Diameter

A brush filament’s measurement is critical when choosing the suitable filament for your application. Shorter filaments are often stiff and are ideal for aggressive or heavy applications. On the other hand, longer filaments have more flexibility and are ideal to use for brushing uneven surfaces.

Generally, filaments are circular, but there are also a few alternative shapes of bristles. Usually, thicker filaments are more optimal than thin bristles when it comes to more aggressive applications like heavy-duty deburring.

Picking insufficient filament length or inappropriate bristle diameter for your specific application will cause early filament exhaustion, leading to the need for replacement, which is not cost-efficient if done habitually.

Filament’s Properties

Aside from the physical characteristics of the filament, you should also consider other properties such as:

  • Softness or Stiffness. Tensile modulus is a measure of the stiffness of the filament. The higher the tensile modulus, the stiffer the bristles. On the other hand, a filament’s ability to return to its original position after being bent is called bend recovery. Again, the application is a factor in determining if you need a soft or stiff filament.
  • Moisture Absorption. Some bristles have different levels of moisture absorption. For instance, natural fibers absorb moisture easily, which makes them not ideal for wet applications. In contrast, synthetic filaments retain their stiffness even after being soaked in liquid and are therefore, suitable for wet applications.
  • Chemical Resistance. Chemicals are frequently used in cleaning, sanitizing, and degreasing processes. Depending on their concentration, chemicals can degrade plastics or synthetic materials over time, resulting in filament damage.
  • Wear Resistance. The filament’s ability to resist being worn away easily is an important factor to consider when it comes to cost-efficiency. You should pick a bristle with high bend recovery and fatigue resistance which refers to how often the filament may be bent back and forth before it inevitably breaks.
  • Temperature Resistance. Some filaments will soften and melt over a range of temperatures. For instance, a UV light will result in the rapid degradation of synthetic materials with some polymers.

Brush Application Requirements

Choosing the best brush filament all comes down to its application. Analyzing your desired application is important to decide which filament to go for. Here are some common questions you should ask:

  • Will the brush be used aggressively, like scrubbing or deburring? Or will it be used gently in a conveyor system?
  • Will it be used in a dry or wet application? In high or low temperatures?
  • Is the brush going to be in contact with chemicals or solvents?
  • Will the process need a lot of bending, or will the brush remain stationary?
  • Will there be other elements or tools moving against the brush?

Your answers to these questions will help determine which filament length, diameter, property, and raw material will be the most suitable for your application.

Metal filaments are best suited for chemical shielding, abrasion resistance, electrical conductivity, and high-temperature applications. Some metal filaments can dissipate static charges, while others, like stainless steel, are suitable for food and pharmaceutical applications.

Natural fibers are mostly used for scrubbing, washing, and fine dusting. Tampico and other fibers can be stiffened for greasy applications and abrasive compounds. They usually come in various textures, lengths, and elasticity.

Finally, synthetic filaments are more widely available and cheaper than the other two. They are ideal for painting plasterboard, wood, concrete, masonry, tiles, and metal.

Need Help? Talk To The Brush Experts At Cocker-Weber

You can select from Cocker-Weber’s diverse industrial brushes suitable for your project. We offer different types of brushes and filaments such as cylinder & wheel brushes, cup & end brushes, flat & handle brushes, tufted, strips, & plate brushes, and other special brushes. You can send us your specifications, and we can create a custom brush solution for you.

We will work with you one-on-one to determine the best combination of fill, shape, and construction methods. Learn more about our products and solutions by visiting our website or contacting us directly.

You can also request a quote, and we can guarantee to produce high-quality custom-made brushes for your specific requirements.