June 11th, 2021
Choosing the right cutting/grinding tool is largely driven by application-specific needs. There are various cost and supply parameters to consider, such as material availability and price in the wake of global economic disruption. Yet the need for an exceptional surface finish with accuracies approaching the sub-microscale regime has penetrated an ever-growing range of market segments. Consequently, the quality of grains for coated abrasives is not an area where manufacturers can afford to cut corners.
The quality of coated abrasives varies from basic commodity grains to precision engineered solutions. These differ from bonded abrasives in that they are deposited onto flexible backings rather than being embedded into a fixative binder. Grains for coated abrasive typically end up formatted as belts, flap wheels, jumbo rolls, or vulcanized fibre discs.
However, it can be unhelpful to classify coated abrasives by their end-use configuration as this tells you very little about their key properties (cutting action, friability, service life, etc.). It is better to categorise coated abrasives by application as that offers a great deal more insight.
Using Coated Abrasives in Heavy Duty Grinding
Fibre discs; flap discs; narrow and wide belts; and specialty coated abrasive shapes are all utilised in heavy duty grinding applications. Low-quality coated abrasives with a single layer of abrasive material fixed on a flexible backing cannot be used in heavy-duty industrial applications as they degrade extremely quickly. Grains dull and break away from the backing long before surfaces reach an optimal finish.
Specialty engineered grains for coated abrasives, comprising high-performance nano-structures that fracture minimally under stress, provide ground-breaking results in heavy duty grinding applications. Precision ceramic grains on a range of flexible backings can be used for heavy duty grinding of various hard-to-work substrates, including stainless and soft carbon steel, hard steel, nonferrous metals, specialty alloys, carbon steels, and more.
Using Coating Abrasives for Precision Cutting Grains
Heavy duty grinding typically relies on high-strength grains with low friability and exceptional thermodynamic stability to deal with the severe stress of high-throughput working of hard substrates. The demands of fine finishing grains are different, but no less stringent.
Fine finished coated abrasives are typically used for precision applications where topographical uniformity at the lowest possible scale is intrinsically critical. Applications such as the finishing of orthopaedic implants and electronic substrates for power generation are common. Yet intensified industry demands have put pressure on achieving fine and consistent finishes with minimal material expenses.
High durability grains for coated abrasives are desirable for precision finishing applications as they retain their aggressive cutting action for longer periods, allowing orbital sanding discs and polishing belts to retain their high material removal rates throughout more passes than ever.
Coated Abrasives from Saint Gobain
At Saint-Gobain Abrasive Grains, we recommend the use of high-performance coated abrasives made with specialty engineered grains across the full spectrum of finishing applications, from intensive industrial grinding to minute precision finishing. Contact us today if you would like to learn more.