Stainless-steel buckles finishing

For the Fashion & Luxury Industry


The client is a renowned Italian luxury fashion company, present for decades on the global market and being a benchmark player worldwide. To improve quality and efficiency in the surface finishing of stainless-steel buckles, the customer strives to carry out their polishing processes in a fastest, cost-efficient way.


Due to the fact that stainless steel is a hard material, polishing buckles made of this material was a highly demanding process. The former surface finishing process used by the customer was tumbling (also known as rumbling), consisting of four different steps: grinding, smoothing, polishing, and shining. In addition, there was a final manual touch. Although the purpose of tumbling was to achieve a shiny and flat surface on the buckles, with no flaws, the results were not consistent and were linked to the polishers’ skills, like most other manual operations.

The client reported further disadvantages related to the above-mentioned polishing system. It was labor-intensive, and some of the abrasive products used remained embedded (as happens with other mechanical polishing methods); stainless steel suffered scratches and metal debris. Additionally, the strength of the surface was severely weakened, and buckles were also more prone to corrosion, since the surface contaminants that remained after the tumbling process prevented the formation of a corrosion-resistant oxide layer. Furthermore, the current polishing methods are energy and resource-intensive and generate high amounts of waste. As one of the targets of luxury companies is to produce more sustainable products, the carbon footprint and the waste generated during the whole lifecycle of the product are key product features for customers.


The company was seeking a solution to automate its hand polishing processes, aiming to enhance productivity and achieve the highest quality for its stainless-steel buckles used in belts and fashion accessories. Additionally, the company intended to localize production in Europe to reduce its reliance on Asian production and minimize the environmental impact of transportation.

Another critical objective for the company was to reduce waste and the CO2 footprint of production while also prioritizing the improvement of workers’ health. To achieve a longer lifespan for its metal pieces, the customer needed to improve the polishing process. The primary focus of the polishing target was to enhance the surface quality of the polished buckles.


GPAINNOVA managed to achieve the technical specifications for the surface while minimizing both process time and cost. These specifications involve achieving a polished shine on the surface of the buckles while maintaining their original geometry.

Thanks to DLyte, the customer was able to replace their previous four-step system, which included a ceramic polishing station, a plastic polishing station, a nutshell polishing station, and a final manual buffing. The new solution now consists of just two steps: an abrasive pre-treatment and an automated surface finishing process.

DLyte enables significant time and cost savings. Based on a processing time of 60 minutes and an estimated total time for loading and unloading the holders of 4 minutes, the new overall process time amounts to 64 minutes per batch of 360 buckles. With two shifts per day, the daily output reaches 5,400 buckles. Over the course of 250 working days in a year, the annual output is 1,350,000 units.

    Are you interested in learning about the production increase, the comparison of previous and current costs per piece, or how DLyte can boost your business? Download now our free case study!

    22_SS buckles


    01. Geometry and tolerance preservation & homogeneous results across the piece
    02. Stable results among different batches within the electrolyte lifespan
    03. Longer lifespan for treated parts
    04. Logo, name or signs preserved
    05. Treated surfaces are ready for galvanic process


    01. Reduced footprint
    02. Time and cost reduction
    03. Exposure of workers during process and maintenance
    04. Handling and storage of media
    05. No need for multistep processes
    06. Easy waste management

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