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There are several processes of manufacturing that are important for the conversion of raw materials into finished goods. Most of these processes deal with giving a new shape and form to the raw materials either by changing their state or shape. One such important process is grinding, and it is very useful technique for metal removal at fast rates and for the high level finishing of final products.
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What is Grinding?
Basically grinding is nothing but removal of metal at a much faster rate than was earlier done with single edge tools such as chisels. Of course, grinding can be compared to a cutting tool such as a file having multiple edges rather than a chisel with a single edge, but with a much greater speed, material removal, accuracy, and surface finish.
However, at the same time it must be noted that it is more appropriate to link grinding to a finishing process rather than a manufacturing process, in the true sense of the word, though these terms are used alternatively in common usage. Apart from being used as material removal process, it is also used to sharpen the cutting edges of cutting tools and sharp objects such as knives, although the underlying process of material removal is the same, but with a different purpose - to produce a sharp edge rather than to reduce size.
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The grinding wheel consists of several abrasive particles which act as minute cutting edges, and these particles are bonded with the help of bonding material. The advantage of using such a process over conventional metal removal processes are as follows
- The rate of removal of material is much higher than, say, a traditional file
- The surface finish obtained is obviously much better than can be obtained through a chisel or a file
- It is very difficult to remove metal from a surface when it is hardened, and grinding is one of the most practical solutions in such cases
- The pressure required for the grinding process is very small, which means that it is easier to hold the metal even during automated process though use of simple techniques such as magnetic chucks
It is very important that we choose the correct grinding wheel for the exact type of cutting required. The manner of cutting should also be proper, as otherwise the grains may get over-worn resulting in less cutting action or the chips getting embedded in the wheel itself. In the next article we will take a look at various types of abrasive materials which are used for the manufacture of cutting particles in the grinding wheels and the use of both natural as well as artificial materials for the same.