Various industries and institutions use surface grinding for multiple purposes. Some of the most common of these purposes include the following:
Surface grinding is a process that uses abrasion to produce smooth finishes on flat surfaces. Of the different grinding methods in manufacturing, it’s the most common.
Using an abrasive machining process, surface grinding employs a spinning wheel, also called a grinding wheel or grit wheel. The wheel is covered with rough particles to cut bits of metallic or non-metallic substances from a surface. When finished, the process creates smooth and/or flat surfaces.
There is the grinding wheel, of course. Commonly used materials for producing its abrasive surface include aluminum oxide, diamond, silicone carbide, cubic boron nitride (CBN), ceramic alumina, and zirconia alumina. Materials that respond well to surface grinding include cast iron, mild steel, stainless steel, aluminum, brass, and some plastics.
To start, an operator mounts the material to be cut or smoothed (known as ‘the workpiece’) onto a reciprocating table. For keeping the material in place, something called a chuck is required. There are two different ways a chuck can hold the workpiece in place:
Once the workpiece is secured to the reciprocating table, the grinding process can begin. With the grinding wheel spinning, the reciprocating table passes the workpiece back and forth beneath its surface until it has achieved the desired finish.
It’s possible to readjust the workpiece relative to the grinding wheel during the process. Sometimes, though, if there’s a specific precision value required, a practice called “spark out” comes into usage. This involves never resetting the cut depth and passing the workpiece under the wheel multiple times until there literally are no more sparks because there is no longer any contact with the wheel.
Excessive heat is generated during the process of material removal, especially when working with hard materials like steel. This can affect the surface finish, which is why coolants are used. This keeps the machining surface cool, and also helps to carry the machined metallic particles away from the grinding surface to avoid scratching the surface.
Results depend on the types of materials in the cutting wheel and in the workpiece. Ensure the machinery and materials are compatible with the desired results before getting started.
Like anything else, surface grinding machines have their benefits and drawbacks.
Do parts you’re using or supplying require grinding? Need to find a surface grinder near you to produce a very smooth, flat surface, whether desired or required? Do you have a specification for a very precise thickness tolerance? Or do you just need to sharpen cutting tools?
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