NON-WOVEN ABRASIVES EXPAND RIGHT ANGLE GRINDING POSSIBILITIES
Right angle grinders have traditionally used grinding wheels, fiber discs, wire brushes, and flap discs for stripping, deburring, blending, prepping and finishing. But David Long of Saint-Gobain Abrasives explains why non-woven abrasives are now replacing traditional coated abrasives as a faster and more cost effective method.
Right angle grinders have traditionally used grinding wheels, fiber discs, wire brushes, and flap discs for stripping, deburring, blending, prepping and finishing. But now non-woven abrasives are replacing traditional coated abrasives as a faster and more cost effective method.
In the abrasives market, right angle grinders have traditionally been used in conjunction with grinding wheels, fiber discs, wire brushes, and flap discs. Over the last several years, non-woven abrasives have entered the field, replacing traditional coated abrasives as a faster and more cost effective method of stripping, deburring, blending, prepping and finishing.
What are non-woven abrasives? They have three components: synthetic fiber mesh, quality abrasives, and resin. The density of the mesh and the size and type of the abrasive used provide an array of combinations that give non-woven right angle products not only a great deal of versatility, but also unique attributes that are not available in other abrasive products. To understand the differences among types of non-woven right angle products, a simple review can prove helpful:
Stripping wheels are quite recognizable by their very coarse, open mesh structure. They are ideal for stripping paint and coatings, without affecting the base metal. The open structure resists loading, enabling it to strip even the gummiest of substances like seam sealer and adhesives.
The new Blaze Rapid Strip wheel is an upgraded version of the traditional black stripping product. Unlike its black silicon carbide counterpart, this wheel uses ceramic alumina grain. This makes it a faster cutting and longer lasting, a better choice for stripping rough rust and scale off of metal parts while still being flexible enough to avoid gouging the base material. This is a very versatile product for stripping, cleaning, and blending.
Finishing wheels have a much tighter weave, making for a firm product excellently suited for removing light welds, deburring rough metal edges, and blending/cleaning all metal surfaces. The abrasive grain of choice for most metalworking operations is aluminum oxide, which is generally offered in medium and fine grit for metal removal and deburring. For light pressure finishing operations, a very fine silicon carbide is generally recommended.
Recently a new high performance engineered aluminum oxide grain was introduced that has a unique feature in that it is a larger grain built out of many small abrasive grains (the industry term is “agglomerate”). This revolutionary technology allows for an aggressive cut and fast stock removal while providing a fine finish. The cooler cutting grain provides twice the wheel life over conventional aluminum oxide.
The last product in the non-woven right angle family is a prepping wheel. You will notice the more open weave of the non-woven material. This may be familiar to most users as it was the original structure of most non-woven products. It is an excellent product for surface preparation, cleaning, and finishing. The prepping wheel is available in a depressed center wheel configuration with a fiberglass back- up pad or, when more conformability is needed, as a disc that attaches to a rubber back up pad.
The prepping discs are also available in the unique AVOS design, which allows the operator to view the surface of the material while working, in order to more accurately gauge the operation resulting in less rework.
Non-woven abrasives for the right angle grinder offer the operator a whole new set of options for stripping, light stock removal, blending, deburring, cleaning, and finishing. Benefits include the following:
- Less undercutting and gouging
- Multiple operations can be done with one product while reducing the number of steps
- Better control of the surface finish parameters
- Elimination of loading with soft materials
- Less vibration for more operator comfort
- Elimination of safety issues that can occur with wire brushes and dislodged wires
Most products in the non-woven category fit 4½ in to 7 in right angle grinders and are available in a plain 7/8 in hole or a 5/8-11 in discard mount.