Los Angeles-based Brush Research Manufacturing is known for inventing the Flex-Hone Tool, now a global brand.  This year, the ISO 9001:2008-certified supplier is marking 55 years of surface finishing innovations, and unveiling new products, strengthening supply chains — and helping manufacturers save time and money.

“Keep an open mind,” company founder Steve Rands said, “… experiment. Nothing improves until someone stops and questions an accepted assumption.” BRM continues to uphold Rands’ vision by offering innovations like a new generation of Flex-Hones and other specialty abrasive brushes.

The Birth of the Flexible Hone
BRM’s signature product, the Flex-Hone, remains the standard for all finishing tools. With a stiff metal stem and flexible nylon abrasive filaments, it removes cut, torn, or folded metal while leaving the base metal undisturbed.

Versatile and easy-to-use, the flexible hone performs edge blending, plateau honing, polishing and chamfer operations, and it can be used with manual or automated production equipment, or even a handheld electric drill.

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.

However, listening to an expanding range of customers, Brush Research began supplying surface finishing solutions to many other industries. Now, the Flex-Hone tool is sold through a global 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.

BRM surface finishing products also help customers in industries such as aluminum extrusion, fluid and power, hydraulics, oil and gas, and earth moving equipment. “All of those developments came from listening carefully to the marketplace,” said Jonathan Borden, BRM’s national accounts manager. “That means working directly with customers to provide customized solutions to their application requirements.”

For example, recently Sikorsky Aircraft asked BRM for a tool to remove scale from a carburized bearing surface.  The helicopter manufacturer initially attempted to solve the problem by using carbide reamers and diamond laps, but these tools didn’t work well with 9310-alloy steel. 

Then, Sikorsky tried BRM’s Diamond Flex-Hone, which uses a diamond abrasive.  The BRM tool worked so well that Sikorsky immediately placed a rush order for these high-quality flexible honing tools.