Back in the day, some of the first materials to be ground were metal substances and wood. To grind these particular materials, quartz in combination with sand and flint were used. These were the first type of abrasives utilised. As time progressed, a lot of engineering and grain development was done to produce abrasives to satisfy industry demands.
In 1891 Edward Acheson invented Silicon Carbide, a hard grain in composition, with very good properties to cut or grind materials with low tensile strength such as tungsten carbide, glass and cast iron. Only after silicon carbide was invented, fused aluminium oxide came to the forefront, revolutionising the industry. Cutting or grinding materials with high tensile strength such as high-alloy steels was now possible and remained the key minerals used in the production of abrasives up until the twentieth century.
As technology evolved around specific materials used by the consumer, different types of fused aluminium oxide were produced with white aluminium oxide being the purest and most friable of the normal fused aluminium oxides. Initially these grains were developed to create sharper cutting edges during cutting and grinding applications. In the early 1970s a new development of synthetics brought about alumina-zirconia, a more friable and harder grain that brought the overall grinding performance to a new level when used in bonded wheels, especially on materials with high chrome content.
In the early 1980s a new grain Sol Gel ceramic was developed. This improved the industry further by performing even better compared to normal fused aluminium oxide, and mostly due to the significant self-sharpening properties of the grain being even more durable.
With time it was realised that combining a certain percentage of ceramic grain with fused aluminium oxide in the manufacturing of abrasives resulted in grinding wheels with extremely high material removal rates and increased tool life. Due to the self-sharpening properties of ceramic grain both exceptional stock removal rates and cooler grinds are achieved, making it perfectly suited to materials that are hard to grind.
In the pursuit of developing material technology in order to produce materials with better mechanical properties, such as parts manufactured from wear-resistant materials, requires precision abrasive products that produces closer tolerances with extended product life.
As these wear-resistant parts are generally harder to grind, it is essential to minimise heat input, as exposure to heat will harden these parts even more, potentially causing it to crack.
Although a cooler grind is required, industry also requires to grind these particular parts at a faster rate to reduce overall production costs such as labour, electricity and machine operating costs.
Development in the abrasive industry is continually ongoing, not just on the manufacturing side with a lot more variations in grain combinations to create the ideal grinding wheel for with the defined cutting edge, but also with significant development by machine producers to save on production times.
“With our research and development team, we are able to locally produce Andor bonded precision grinding wheels with the latest technology in sintered aluminium oxide and ceramic grain to support the ever-changing market conditions,” said a Grinding Techniques representative.
“Partnering with Grinding Techniques, will put your business at the forefront of cutting-edge technology, cutting down on unnecessary production time, load on machine and making your company more competitive in the Global market.”