Machined and fabricated products often need to undergo grinding processes before they can be considered complete. Not only does grinding remove rough patches and dangerously sharp edges, but it can also change the contours of the product. Centerless grinding is a versatile, popular grinding process that can be used to make in-process goods with rounded surfaces and dimensions that fall squarely within tight tolerances. There are three main types of centerless grinding that manufacturers use. Learn more about centerless grinding overall and these three types to choose the right fit for your next manufacturing project.

What Is Centerless Grinding?

Centerless grinding processes remove excess material from a workpiece by filing it away with a grinding wheel until the product that remains has the right surface attributes and dimensions. In a centerless grinding machine, the workpiece is secured near two grinding wheels. These are the regulating wheel and the actual grinding wheel, which grinds against the outer diameter of the piece. Centerless grinding offers a smooth product finish. It’s also extremely accurate and can produce pieces with both straight lines and dimensions that meet the product specifications within tight tolerances.

Types of Centerless Grinding

Manufacturers can choose between three different types of centerless grinding to create products with different attributes.

What Is Centerless Grinding

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1. Through-Feed Grinding

In through-feed grinding, a workpiece is fed into the machine with two support guides so it rotates while sitting between both the regulating and the grinding wheels. This allows for a completely symmetrical construction or the production of parallel parts, including rollers and pins in aerospace equipment. Another popular use of through-feed grinding is feeding long bars between the two wheels to produce a finished bar with a precise diameter.

2. In-Feed Grinding

Also called plunge grinding, in-feed grinding processes are commonly used for grinding projected, formed surfaces, shoulders, and parts with complex geometries, multiple changes in diameter, and other intricate designs. In this setup, the regulating wheel radially feeds the workpiece against the grinding wheel to produce the complex final shape.

3. End-Feed Grinding

End-feed grinding produces tapered parts by carefully controlling the extent of the grinding process. It’s similar to through-feed grinding in that the workpiece is fed into the centerless grinding machine against the regulating wheel and grinding wheel, but the part is stopped before it can fully go through the machine. This creates a tapered grinding effect.

Advantages of Centerless Grinding

Centerless grinding is a popular and effective method for shaping in-process metal parts into precise products. Some of the key advantages of choosing centerless grinding include:

  • Speed: Centerless grinding machines have short loading times, so orders can be processed on a tight schedule.
  • Volume: Large centerless grinding machines can grind high-order volumes. This results in large quantities of virtually identical metal pieces.
  • Error Reduction: One of the main attributes of centerless grinding is that there is no risk of deflection.
  • Long Life Span: Centerless grinding processes create a smooth finish and a controlled shape without putting too much pressure on the metal material. This results in a finished product with a longer life and less risk of breakage.

Choose Centerless Grinding Capabilities from EMC Precision

At EMC Precision, we serve our clients with precision machining, assembling capabilities, and other value-added services, including centerless grinding services. This value-added service, while not available as a standalone offer, enables us to take on the most challenging requirements for size, surface quality, concentricity, and more:

  • Accuracy at tolerances—to .0001—exceeding conventional machining capabilities
  • State-of-the-art automated loading and CNC dresser heads
  • Consistent quality in the process saves cost

Contact us today to learn more about our CNC machining capabilities or to inquire about our centerless grinding service.

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