Dry-barreling process for optical frames and other cellulose acetate parts
During Mido Milan 2023, we launched our new eco-friendly polishing pastes.
The process of dry barreling involves putting pieces to be polished in bulk into rotating barrels.
This technology is mainly used by the eyewear industry but also the button industry among others.
Indeed, dry tumbling machine are used for polishing plastic eyeglass frames for example.
But manufacturers of hairdressing ornaments, pions, high-end costume jewellery, horn knife handles…find it also particularly efficient.

The barrels contain small wooden, or nylon pegs coated with abrasive pastes.
When the barrels rotate, the pieces are subjected to continuous friction movement against the pegs, which polish the cellulose acetate parts.
Several successive polishing steps with the appropriate polishing paste allow to eliminate the surface defects of the parts (jointing surfaces, scratches,…) to obtain satin or glossy finishes.
It is a simple, convenient, and cost-effective technology for surface treatment of small pieces made of plastic materials, natural materials, and hard metals.

For more than 60 years, TCN offers the full range of this dry-barreling polishing process.
Today our polishing pastes are becoming environmentally friendly:


In the first step of the process, the oil accelerator SV, is used to ensure good adhesion between the polishing paste and the pegs.
This oil is also used in case of dust effect, when the polishing paste scatters outside the barrel, creating dust.
Oil + pumice systems are frequently used for barrel roughing of cellulose acetate object, before sanding and polishing operations.

Then, for polishing cellulose acetate eyeglass frames, cellulose acetate parts, mother-of-pearl and corozo pieces, you will need:

  •     Polishing pastes of varying granularities: grinding, smoothing, polishing, and brightening pastes, to allow a perfect finish with several successive steps,
  •     Various pegs: the choice of size, shape, material, and quality of the pegs is an essential element to reach a good final result,
  •     Process oils,
  • Preparation pastes for pegs,
  • Detergents: to remove oils and grease from the surface of polished parts,
  • Brightener in liquid form based on self-shining vegetable waxes, for a perfect finish on all types of materials,
  • Polishing bars for a manual use on a wheel.

The 4 different steps to polish cellulose acetate frames by dry barreling are the grinding, the smoothing, the polishing and optionally the brightening.
For each step of this process, you need a specific paste:

-> Specific pastes:

  • Grinding paste,
  • smoothing  paste,

It is the first operation on parts requiring a small removal of material.

  • polishing paste  Eco 605+ and base 605

This step is recommended when high quality is required and for cellulose acetate items which will be dip-dyed.
Base 605 is used in addition to the ECO 605+. This base allows the ECO 605+ paste to properly adhere to the pegs.

Designed by TCN and manufactured in our workshops in France, they are packaged in metal pails of 20 kgs. They allow to reach a perfect finish on plastic  items,

  • Optional step: brightening paste BS3208

BS3208 brightening paste contains self-polishing vegetable waxes which allow a perfect finish.
It brings gloss, color depth and also waterproof and anti-fouling protection to the cellulose acetate treated material, after a polishing or after a dyeing operation.

-> Specific pegs:

Our wooden and nylon pegs of different material, shapes and sizes are suitable for each step of plastic parts dry-polishing: nylon pegs for sanding, polishing tip-shaped pegs,  lozenges and cubes. https://www.techniques-chimiques-nouvelles.com/en/polishing-products/

-> Polishing bars:

Our polishing bars are used on cotton or flannel wheel for a manual polishing.
They are widely recognized for their high performance. They present an excellent durability and allow a final mirror polished finish.

-> Detergents:

6170 Detergent, eliminates the residues of greasy substances,
6179 Detergent,  eliminates the residues resulting from polishing,
TP 8002 detergent, is an alkaline detergent, effective in eliminating burns caused by laser engraving.


  • We accompany you in the implementation of your polishing process,
  • We provide you with technical assistance,
  • Manufactured in our workshop in France and without intermediaries, we offer quality products in a short time,
  • We welcome you to visit our factory.

Contact: office@color-tcn.com

Illustration & Design by Helena Pallarés
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