Centerless grinder is a highly specialized type of machining operation that utilizes abrasive drilling to remove unwanted material from a work piece. The result is a product with a finer surface finish and increased strength due to the high compression of the material removed. This type of operation generally requires the use of very large machines and a skilled operator. This article will discuss the advantages of using a centerless grinder over a traditional milling machine and cutter.
Unlike typical milling or cutting operations, centerless grinder cuts material into very small pieces. The result is a more accurate material removal job and greater accuracy than typical grinding operations. Centerless grinders use a stationary work platform that holds the workpiece in place while the abrasive discs of a cutting tool are passed over it. The user simply moves their hand over the workpiece to command the disc to travel across the grinding wheel. This feature makes it ideal for precision applications. These machines are also popular for use in aerospace and defense applications requiring a high degree of accuracy.
A major advantage of using centerless grinder machines is its ability to provide excellent part quality and accuracy. Since the work piece is always in the same plane of the machine, there is no need to compensate for different areas of the part. Typically when a part is ground using traditional methods, it must be ground in a different plane so that the parts flow evenly. Another drawback of grinding in this fashion is that the workplace may not be in the best straight line when drawn on a computer or other graphically based monitor. In addition, because the work is always in the same plane, the distance between consecutive parts is always identical, providing little if any part quality improvement.
Centerless grinders eliminate these problems because they always begin the workpiece in exactly the same position and continue until the workpiece contacts the grinding wheel. The work thus moves in a uniform, geometrical pattern. This results in greatly improved part quality and an increase in the speed of the grinding process. When compared with older types of grinders, such as those mounted in a stand, it is evident that centerless grinders save time and money. They are also more efficient and are easier to repair should a crack occur.
One more major advantage of centerless grinders is their flexibility in design. Since the work is in constant contact with the grinding wheel and the work rest, slight changes in the position of the workpiece can cause the angle of the work rest to vary. This slight variation can greatly affect the roundness of the parts being grinded. In order to ensure consistent and optimal roundness, most manufacturers recommend the use of a computerized software program that is specifically designed to maximize the roundness of a specific part. Because the work must remain in constant contact with the workers at all times, even while the piece is in motion, the resulting pieces tend to be much tighter and stronger than those from regular machines.
Because centerless grinder machines generally operate on very heavy duty industrial-type wheels, they require very sturdy workpieces to support them. This means that in addition to being extremely strong, the workpieces must also be extremely durable. It has been found that traditional wheels can become completely cracked after extended use. These cracks can lead to tool fatigue and physical damage that can significantly decrease the accuracy of finished products.