Cylindrical grinding is a manufacturing process that employs an abrasive wheel to remove material from a rotating workpiece to shape and finish its exterior. The method involves rotating an object around an axis and feeding it into the grinding tool, creating precise parts with smooth surface finishes. As the cylindrical grinding wheels employed can vary in size, material, and configuration, the process is suited for creating a wide range of shapes and finishes. Parts produced through the various cylindrical grinding techniques find application in countless industries, ranging from aerospace and automotive to military.
Cylindrical Grinding Techniques
Cylindrical grinding is a versatile process that finds use across a diverse set of industries and applications. Manufacturers use a variety of different cylindrical grinding techniques depending on the requirements and restrictions of the part design, including:
- Face grinding. This grinding process allows the face of the grinding wheel to touch the workpiece directly. It enables manufacturers to achieve a smooth surface finish quickly.
- Form grinding. This grinding technique utilizes a grinding wheel that is shaped in the exact form of the end product and does not traverse across the workpiece. Form grinding operations are generally used to create highly specialized forms.
- Inside diameter (ID) grinding. This method of grinding employs a small grinding wheel that fits within the inner diameter of the workpiece. The grinding wheel and the workpiece rotate in opposite directions. ID grinding is budget-friendly and creates a highly finished surface.
- Multi-plunge grinding. In this technique, the grinding wheel makes continuous contact with several points on the object rather than moving around it.
- Out-of-Round grinding. Despite its name, cylindrical grinding is used for more than round or cylindrical objects. Manufacturers use out-of-round grinding operations to produce a variety of part shapes.
- Profile grinding. This grinding method is used to shape small workpieces that require an incredible amount of precision, including those with grooves or tapers.
- Taper grinding. This grinding technique tilts either the table or the wheel to grind at an angle, allowing for precision on tapered workpieces.
Key Process Components
As outlined above, there are numerous cylindrical grinding methods available, each of which is employed for different grinding applications. Despite the large number of variations, most—if not all—operate under the same basic principles, including:
- Using a rotating workpiece and a revolving abrasive wheel
- Ensuring the workpiece passes the wheel and the wheel passes the workpiece
- Considering the movement of both components
When performing cylindrical grinding operations, some of the other key factors to account for are:
- Part design. Cylindrical grinding achieves straight, tapered, or contoured surfaces
- Workpiece position. Surfaces need to be concentric to the axis of rotation
- Tooling and workholding devices. Using three tools—one each for OD, face, and ID grinding operations—allows for all three operations to be performed with the same workholder
Industries and Applications
Cylindrical grinding can be used on parts for a variety of industries, including:
The precision, accuracy, and high quality surface finishes achieved by the process make it well-suited for the manufacture of critical components, such as bearings, tubes, or rods. These products find application in industries as parts in medical devices, weapons, automotive pistons, aerospace training gears, or roller coasters.
Interested in Cylindrical Grinding for Your Next Project?
At Centerless Technology, we create high quality, high precision components for a wide range of industries. By partnering with us for their cylindrical grinding needs, customers benefit from our:
- Expertise and state-of-the-art equipment. Equipped with over 180 years of experience and cutting edge grinding machines, our expert team has the knowledge and tools necessary to create accurate shapes to tight tolerances with quick turnaround times.
- Broad grinding capabilities. We work with a variety of stock metal in sizes up to 40 inches long by 13.75 inches in diameter. Even in high volumes, our machines allow us to produce consistent and accurate products.
- Customizability. We individualize our services to suit a customer’s budget, timeline, and industry requirements.
If you’re looking for a grinding service provider that consistently meets and exceeds customer expectations with quality products, we’re here to help. To partner with us on your next custom grinding project, request a quote today.
Although centered and centerless grinding are both used in manufacturing, centerless grinding technology is continually advancing to make these machines more efficient than ever before. This technique abrades metal workpieces to remove material, shaping them into the desired end forms.
When manufacturers work with centerless grinders, they can expect:
- Smoother finishes
- Tighter tolerances
- Straighter lines
In this post, we explore a few of the best practices regarding centerless grinding, as well as some of the products this process creates.
The Not-So-Obvious Advantages of Grinding
It’s easy to see the physical benefits of centerless grinding in the completed project: you have a superior finished product. Saving money and time is harder to see, but they’re just as important for your company.
Other benefits of centerless grinding include:
- Fast loading: Compared with centered grinding, centerless grinding allows for exceptionally short loading times, resulting in nearly nonstop grinding.
- No need to reset equipment: After you set up your centerless grinding equipment, you can usually complete the full production run without needing to reset it. This saves both time and labor costs while also reducing the possibility of error.
- No deflection: Because the workpiece is completely supported, it’s possible to use heavier passes than those used by centered grinding.
- No axial thrust: Since there’s no added pressure on the ends of the piece, a centerless grinder is great for working with delicate pieces and brittle materials.
- Long life: Centerless grinding wheels can last a long time because there’s no need for external feeding and centering (and the potential error that can accompany these factors).
- High production: An automatic feeding process (via gravity chute, for example) allows for the rapid production of smaller items.
Additional Benefits for Superior Processing
Centerless grinders are capable of processing as many as 200–300 parts per minute (the exact number depends on the size of the part). These machines owe their amazing production capabilities to their ability to run hundreds of parts in through-feed without the need of manual assistance.
By linewise support of the workpiece, it’s also possible to grind soft or brittle materials, as these machines operate via low-tension processes. It’s not necessary to prepare the workpiece for fixing in the grinding, and faults caused by fixing are eliminated.
Additionally, loading or unloading of the workpiece is simple and easy to automate. When using continuous through-feed grinding, there’s no time loss incurred by changing the workpiece. Furthermore, long workpieces can be handled by comparatively small machines.
Do You Need Centerless Grinding?
At Centerless Technology, we bring over two decades experience to offer high-quality grinding services. We remain committed to providing top-notch grinding using the most advanced grinding equipment available. We recently installed our new KELLENBER-VARIA UR 175/1000, which is capable of both multidiameter and internal grinding with 40” between centers and 13.75” swing diameters.
No matter what material you need for your project, we can get it for you. We regularly work with materials such as:
- Tool steel