Making the correct tool choice

In the modern age of industrial innovation, it has become more important than ever to analyse the performance of every tool at your disposal. The margin between success and failure, profit or loss may be determined by the small differences in production times and costs we often take for granted. More often than not we do things the same way we have always done them, even though the parameters and environment we operate in have changed.

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Why spend four hours battling to get a job ground and ready for shipping when one hour will do? Why employ three fettlers, occupy additional machines, PPE, electricity and other associated costs when the right tool could assist one fettler to be up to three or even four times more efficient? Why wait another day to invoice a job that could have been delivered today?

Today a wider range of alloys are being cast than ever before. Some alloys are lighter, and or harder, more abrasion-and-impact resistant, while others tend to react better to sub-zero temperatures or prove more heat sensitive than ever before. These alloys have been developed because the world we live in demands it. Seldom do we stop and put some thought into the machining, grinding and finishing of the said alloys until that moment of truth arrives. Panic stations! Luckily, our abrasive technology has developed at equally rapid rates. Manufacturing methods, bonding systems and mineral types have been evolving to keep up with the demands created by new modern innovative alloy introductions. At Grinding Techniques – a Tyrolit company, we are at the cutting edge of development and able to provide a solution for your abrasive requirements.

When one looks at the new range of ‘super alloys’ being developed, it has become increasingly evident that machining of these materials will be and is already a serious challenge. Grinding has proven to be one of, if not the preferred method, of shaping these alloys. Abrasive manufacturers all over the world are gearing towards the grinding, shaping and machining of these alloys with a far greater success rate over that of the machine tool bit manufacturers. New innovative products being developed have brought grinding and machining times of certain components down from 4 to 6 hours per part, to less than 24 minutes per part.

The Superflex Ceramic range of grinding tools are developed for rapid and accurate cool grinding on specialised alloy castings in excess of 700HBR. The results achieved when compared to conventional abrasive tools were almost incomparable. Grinding times on these hard materials were reduced by more than 66%, and as a result of the shortened grinding times we were able to lessen the heat being generated through friction by significant proportions with a noticeable cost saving as a result. Scrap rates as a direct result of heat cracks are now something of the past.

The ceramic range as good as it is for chrome and abrasion resistant materials does not provide the same performance level on cast iron, SG iron, manganese and steel foundries. Due to the fact that the grinding mineral offers a sharper, more aggressive grind on contact, but the bonding system employed breaks down in a different manner to that of conventional grinding wheels developed for softer materials. Selecting the incorrect tool – reduces the efficiency of the grinding tool on application and increases the cost to a point where it is just not viable to use.

So where does one begin when choosing the most appropriate tool for the job at hand? It starts by challenging yourself to achieve a more desirable result and produce a better end product, at a satisfactory cost level for the specific application.

You need to ask yourself what would you like to achieve? Faster grinding times with less of a bottleneck in your fettling bay? Lower grinding cost per component? Reduction in machine cost, or replacement cost? Better aesthetic finishing? All of them or at least a combination of the above are possible by selecting the correct abrasive type.

Grinding Techniques, a Tyrolit company, offers a comprehensive range of abrasives geared towards achieving your required optimum result. With more than 100 years of manufacturing experience behind us, we more than willing to conduct trials, assist with application optimisation, and work along-side you to tailor make a solution that attains your required results. Our comprehensive product offering uniquely qualifies us to assist in optimising your foundry requirements and making the correct tool choice.