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Things That Go Bump in the Factory: 8 Strange and Creepy Industrial Terms Explained

Posted by IndustrySelect on Tuesday, October 24, 2023


Things That Go Bump in the Factory: 8 Strange and Creepy Industrial Terms Explained

Halloween is a time for ghosts, goblins, and other creatures of the night. But did you know that there are also some pretty eerie-sounding terms used in the industrial world? We come across a lot of mysterious manufacturing terms when putting together our most-searched industrial categories in the U.S. on IndustryNet each week—but they are far more fascinating than scary. Just in time for Halloween, we’re exploring some eerie industrial terms that might make you shiver, but also teach you something new about the incredible world of manufacturing!

8 Strange and Creepy Industrial Terms Explained

1. Lost Foam Castings

Not a magician's lost spell or ghostly apparition let loose in the factory, lost foam casting is a captivating manufacturing technique where a foam pattern is coated with a refractory material and placed in a sand mold. Molten metal is then poured into the mold, melting and vaporizing the foam, and filling the cavity with metal. The result is a complex and accurate metal part that requires little or no machining. It's a magical way to create intricate shapes for industries like automotive and aerospace.

2. Bucket teeth

This sounds like a horrible condition. But rest assured, bucket teeth are not the stuff of nightmares, but attachments that are mounted on the edge of excavator buckets or loader buckets. They are used to dig and scoop soil, rock, or other materials. Bucket teeth come in different shapes and sizes, depending on the application and the hardness of the material. So sure, they can be scary if you get too close (safety first!) but not that scary!

3. Tadpole Seals


While it might sound like these seals might one day turn into frogs and hop their way out of the factory, tadpole seals are a type of gasket that is used to seal high-temperature applications, such as ovens, furnaces, or boilers. They have a bulbous head that is filled with an insulating material and a tail that is made of a flexible fabric or metal strip. The tail is wrapped around the joint or flange and secured with fasteners.

4. Wafer Bumping

What’s being bumped here…and why? While it might sound like something strange that goes bump in the night, wafer bumping is a process of creating electrical connections on semiconductor wafers. The wafer is coated with a thin layer of metal, usually gold or solder, and then heated to form tiny bumps on the surface. These bumps are used to connect the wafer to other components, such as chips or circuit boards.

5. Shot Peening

This just sounds painful. But rather than being some torture-by-slingshot method, shot peening is a process of improving the mechanical properties of metal parts by bombarding them with small spherical media, such as steel or ceramic beads. The impact of the media creates compressive stresses on the surface of the part, which increase its resistance to fatigue, cracking, and corrosion. So, it is pretty painful for those poor metal parts, but not for us!

6. Creep Feed Grinding

While this might sound like a method of processing feed for a group of creepy creatures, in reality, creep feed grinding is a process of machining hard materials by using a slow and deep cut with a grinding wheel. The wheel moves slowly across the surface of the part, removing a large amount of material in one pass. This reduces the number of passes needed and improves the surface finish and accuracy.

7. Worm Gears

Worms and gears: not two things you would usually put together. Are they gears made of worms or gears for worms? Thankfully, they are neither. Worm gears are a type of gear system that consists of a worm (a screw-like cylinder) and a worm wheel (a toothed wheel). The worm meshes with the worm wheel at an angle, creating a large reduction ratio and transmitting torque from one axis to another. The advantage of worm gears is that they can provide high torque at low speed and prevent backdriving (the ability to reverse the direction of rotation).

8. Chuck Jaws

Neither a painful dental condition or a cruel nickname, chuck jaws are simply components that are attached to chucks, which are devices that hold and rotate workpieces on lathes or other machines. Chuck jaws come in different shapes and sizes, depending on the type of chuck and the shape of the workpiece.

We hope you enjoyed this fun and educational blog post about some of the eerie industrial terms that go bump in the factory. Happy Halloween!

Providing detailed profiles of 460,000+ industrial businesses from bucket teeth makers to chuck jaw creators and everyone else in between, MNI is your one-stop source for doing business in the industrial world. Looking for leads? Set up your free demo account of IndustrySelect, loaded with 500 real company profiles so you can see the full benefits of this powerful software. Looking for suppliers? Search, source & quote for free on IndustryNet, the industrial marketplace.


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