Understanding Cylindrical & Surface Grinding in Precision Engineering

20 August 2019

Is a fabricated metal article ready to be packed and dispatched to an awaiting client after it exits the last machining station? Possibly, but that’s probably not a common practice. Raw and unprocessed, a grinding machine removes drill hole burrs and excess weld residue. Even then, with the tooling chaff smoothed away, there’s still a polished surface finish to impart. That’s what gives completed workpieces their most visually striking edge, after all.

All About Surface Grinding Services

It’s strange, this notion that a perfectly fabricated metal component can still seem like a rough and slipshod product if it’s not provided with a polished finish. But wait, that’s only part of the story. Surface grinding work removes dirt and grime. True, the service imparts an aesthetically pleasing finish, but it also adds dimensional consistency. From corner to corner and edge to edge, a surface grinding tool produces an extremely flat planar profile that’s free of surface imperfections. Now, to apply such a high-tolerance plane, where does the post-production work go next? Well, there could be a grinding wheel, which uses a grainy rim to impart the finish. Alternatively, for more detailed work, a wheel-face grinding tool can be used to remove flat-face imperfections.

Advanced Cylindrical Grinding Work

Although both rated as precision engineering services, flat surface grinding work is fairly straightforward. A rectilinearly mounted spindle presses its abrasive rim against a flat edge. Elsewhere, a spindle moves in long strokes while controlling a wheel-face, which is pushed against a large-surfaced workpiece. With cylindrical smoothing, things get a little harder to manage. The rod spins, but the axis upon which it rotates must be carefully centred. This time around, a rectilinear tool spindle is in motion. Automated by a smart machine interface, it moves along the spinning cylinder while rotating its own abrasive rim. This is the machine family that’s chosen when an ultra-smooth motor shaft required a high-tolerance cylindrical grinding maneuver.

Back with the surface grinding tools, a highly polished chrome-steel finish can be applied. Coarse aluminium oxide discs inlay a dulled veneer; then a finer grain brings out the polish. Again, high engineering tolerances are key here, but those high-precision values pale before the power of a cylindrical grinding machine. Remember, the rod axis must be perfectly centred and set spinning. Once configured properly, the equipment can lay down a perfectly curved finish. Better yet, the wheel rim can swivel and lock itself down so that intricate peripheral details can be added to the circumferentially inlaid grinding work. Finally, with the post-production grinding done, the surface-refined workpieces can be packed and dispatched.

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