Reduce mess with precision grinding

Nicola Brittain

Advances in equipment allow for precision grinding and eliminate mess on the factory floor.

The dust, swarf and debris caused by grinding has long been an issue for plant managers.

As Erik Lawson, engineering manager at Winona, MN-based DCM Tech says: “People know they’re in a shop with a conventional surface grinder as soon as they walk through the door. There is a unique smell caused by the breakdown of the abrasive, combined with burning of material.”

However, in recent times there is far less tolerance for either the smell or excessive grinding mess. Managers prefer tidy operations and increasingly stringent health and safety requirements demand this too. As such, the hunt is on for modern, automated surface grinders that can contain the debris and ensure a clean factory floor.

Precision rotary units

The first step to achieving this while meeting all quality criteria is grinding to specification using advanced precision rotary units.

These tools work by minimising the amount of material that requires removal and incorporating shrouds, air misting, and cooling filtration systems to contain the mess.

“Automated, precision grinders minimise mess because the machine removes the least amount of material preventing overgrinding and generating excess dust and debris for no real purpose,” says Lawson. “On top of that, some material is quite valuable, so overgrinding can be costly.”

Advanced sensors and controls

Today, surface grinders like DCM Tech’s IG 282 SD are designed with advanced sensors and controls that automatically maintain very tight tolerances, removing material to within one ten-thousandth of an inch of the final thickness. This can prevent overgrinding and enable operators to be more intentional about the amount of material they want to remove from each part.

Rinse like a good operator

Advanced units even offer programmed features that allow the machine to automatically rinse parts when grinding is complete, something a good operator might otherwise do.

“The rinse clears the debris from the tooling surfaces, so there is no problem loading the next part. This is very useful, particularly in automated settings where there is no operator on the machine,” says Lawson.

Although ‘messy’ and ‘grinders’ have been synonymous for decades, modern design improvements provide machine shops with much cleaner, better performing options.

Today, modern rotary surface grinders can be configured with sophisticated, automated features that make messy grinding operations a thing of the past.

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