Portable grinders are among the most popular tools in the metal fabricating shop. From grinding down welds to preparing the work surface for painting, these lightweight, versatile machines save the manufacturer valuable time and labor.
As the use of portable grinders continues to increase, abrasive manufacturers are keeping pace by developing new technologies to enhance the productivity of these tools. One of the most important recent innovations in this area is the development of “see through” abrasive designs, which give a complete view of the work surface during the grinding operation. Once available only in coated abrasive products, this technological breakthrough, called AVOS (for “Allows View of Surface”), has now been transferred to bonded abrasives – more commonly called grinding wheels. The availability of standard grinding wheels offering the benefits of the AVOS design – view of the work surface while grinding, cooler cut, longer product life – gives the manufacturer an important
new weapon in the fight for greater productivity and higher quality finishes.
Portable Grinders -- Versatile and Efficient
Portable grinding is the term used for any operation where the grinding machine is actually held in the hands of the operator. It is a highly effective method of achieving desired metal removal and surface finish in a wide range of common applications, such as: grinding down and smoothing weld seams, cleaning metal before welding, removing imperfections, and smoothing rough surfaces on castings.
Portable grinders are available in a number of designs. Among the most popular is the right-angle grinder. A highly versatile product, the right-angle grinder can be used in locations ranging from automotive and aerospace plants to welding shops. In large production applications (for example, grinding fabricated metal parts on an auto assembly line), a typical plant may employ from 30 to 50 operators using electric or pneumatic hand-held grinders.
These products are easy to use and handle. Manufacturers have introduced lighter weight versions, some as light as 5 lb. And with a relatively small cutting area compared to large machine tools, portable grinders disturb less surface area on the workpiece.
This results in less re-work and higher productivity for the operator.
In addition, portable grinders are becoming more affordable. Manufacturers can use more of them — and more often — on a wider variety of jobs while keeping their tool costs lower.
Abrasive Technology Boosts Portable Grinding Results
As the actual cutting tool on the grinder, abrasive products must keep pace in terms of performance. Manufacturers face several key challenges. Productivity of grinding wheels can suffer if the abrasives products either wear down too quickly or become clogged
with ground metal chips or swarf. The reduced grinding ability requires the tool to draw more power, eventually leading to burn-out of the electric motor. This lack of
productivity makes it difficult for users to lower their total grinding costs, and harms the final quality of the workpiece, while the excess heat causes the wheel to wear faster. What's been needed is a new approach to grinding, one that results in longer abrasive product life and improved productivity for the user. Norton Company looked at this challenge by taking a "systems approach," completely re-thinking the way grinding is done in these applications. The company developed an entirely new concept — the Norton AVOS System — featuring a product design with a unique silhouette and holes cut into the cutting surface. It is unlike anything previously seen on the market.