Selecting the right abrasive and using that abrasive correctly for welding and metal fabrication applications can make a big the difference in maximizing output and minimizing cost. Still, with today’s tight deadlines it’s often tempting to use whatever abrasive is handy, without stopping to consider which abrasive product is best for the particular machine being used. Use the right abrasive and wheel for better finished products, reduced costs, and better productivity.
Selecting abrasives that make the grade
It is important to realize that abrasive products come in various grades, which some manufacturers designate as good, better and best. Metal fabricators who measure total grinding results and want to achieve the lowest overall grinding cost for an application will seriously consider the “best” abrasive products available and reserve the use of “better” abrasives for high productivity applications, where only abrasive costs are important. End users wanting the lowest initial abrasive costs are likely to select “good” abrasives, but should understand that such a choice may not be as economical in the long run.
Metalworking companies that want to measure total grinding results can work with their abrasive supplier to test and compare abrasives of various grades, or alternative products from different manufacturers. Such tests, performed in a metalworker’s own shop, will reveal relative abrasive cost based on initial cost and wear rate, and can even measure overall worker productivity in terms of worker’s wages. Then, relative abrasive cost can be added to the operator cost to determine the total grinding cost. What such tests typically show is that the most advanced (“best”) abrasive products usually last longer, work faster and may be the most cost-effective choice.
Abrasives Selection Guide
The following are abrasive selection guidelines for typical welding and metal fabrication operations. Products are listed in descending order of 1) best, 2) better and 3) good for the applications referenced: