Centerless grinding, though used for the purpose of production manufacturing, has also been considered somewhat of an art form. Often this process is even written off as impossible. Centerless grinding machines differ greatly from their traditional OD grinding ancestors and offer several advantages. The process of a centerless grinder allows for parts to be held to tighter dimensional tolerances. This can achieve smoother surface finishes on the part being ground. Though these advantages are noteworthy, there are several less obvious advantages that also make a colossal difference.
Centerless Grinding advantages that are “not so obvious”
One of the most prominent advantages of centerless grinding is the amount of time that is saved through the process. Since parts can be loaded automatically, it is quicker and easier to load parts into a centerless grinder compared to traditional OD grinding machines. Work that is smaller in size can be loaded into a centerless grinder in large quantities. Depending on the shape of the part, work will be automatically ground by means of magazine, gravity chute, or hopper feeder attachments. The ease and speed in which parts are loaded make for a continuous and efficient process. Producing more work in less time thus essentially reduces labor costs and can generate significant profits for your company.
During the grinding process, the part is held in place by the grinding wheel, regulating wheel, and the work blade. This allows for tight tolerances that hold the workpiece in place. The work is supported directly under the cut, as well as for the full length of the grinding cut. This support stops a deflection from taking place which permits heavier passes than grinding between centers. There is no axial thrust or end pressure imposed on the work during the grinding process which makes it possible to grind longer pieces of brittle material as well as distorted parts.
Cost savings of centerless grinding
Centerless grinders also provide cost savings by involving little to no maintenance after the initial set-up. Centerless grinding is mature, with no adjustments needed once the centerless grinder has been set-up. For this type of grinder, maintenance is a small portion of the overall cost and allows for operators to spend more time loading parts. This process also results in a longer wheel life and reduces wheel wear by half due to the elimination of the error that comes from centering.
Centerless Grinding Problems
Learning how to load parts into a centerless grinder is actually quite easy; however, properly grinding the part is what makes this process difficult. This method can become challenging and take several years for an operator to master.
At Wisconsin Metal Tech we offer three types of centerless grinding: infeed grinding, thru-feed grinding, and bar grinding. To learn more about our services, contact our centerless grinding specialists for more information.