A Quick Guide to Column Surface Grinder

Posted on May 4, 2021

Column Surface Grinder

In general, automatic column surfaces that are produced with strong columns standing vertically on the base or ground on the floor are well suited for large molds and dies applications and other high precision heavy-duty grinding tasks.

What Is a Column Surface Grinder?

A column surface grinder is a heavy-duty surface grinding machine that is designed to rapidly remove metal or nonmetallic materials from the surfaces by abrasive cutting. Typically, the workpieces being ground are located on the central axis. When it comes to surface grinding, it is the machining operations that remove the oxide layer and the impurities of the flat surfaces, making them popular for creating smooth and high precision surface finish on a large range of raw materials. 

In general, automatic column surfaces that are produced with strong columns standing vertically on the base or ground on the floor are well suited for large molds and dies applications and other high precision heavy-duty grinding tasks. The column surface grinder employs rotary grinding wheels that are mostly stationary to cut against the surfaces under rotation. The rough particles on the grinding wheels, the quality, and the materials the rotary wheels are made of are both key factors to affect the performance of the column surface grinder, achieving a perfectly smooth, flat face. 

In addition to the excellent surface finishes, another advantage of the column surface grinder is the reliable and efficient production of ground surfaces with high precision. When it comes to the tolerance of the surface grinding process in modern column surface grinding machines, in general, ±0.002 mm can be achievable on universal types of heavy-duty grinding equipment.

Structure of Column Surface Grinder 

The essential parts of a column surface grinding machine including the rigid base and column, a feed table, a grinding wheel, and a controller.

● Base and Column: 

To support other important parts of the column surface grinder, the base parts located at the bottom of the structure are generally made of a high-grade cast iron. The grinding machine base is typically twice larger than the worktable length to provide support, ensuring stability and precision for heavy-duty applications. The movable table that travels end-to-end on the axis is rested on the rigid base, where the workpiece is kept and gripped firmly to grind. As for the column, it is mounted vertically where the grinding wheel, wheel head as well as wheel guard, which is used for protecting the mechanists, are installed. Some modern column surface grinders have a double column design, providing maximum stability and flexibility.

● Feed Table: 

A powered feed table can travel across the face of the grinding wheels or moves linearly, horizontally on the base. The longitudinal motion in the column surface grinder is typically powered by hydraulic units, on the other hand, the crossfeed is mostly controlled by an electrical power source, some use hydraulic and manual control methods, either.

● Grinding Wheel: 

The grinding wheel used in the column surface grinder is driven by the spindle head, mostly adjustable for proper working height. As mentioned, the condition and materials the grinding wheels are made from are critical to the surface grinding operations. Some common wheel materials include silicon carbide, diamond, aluminum oxide, and cubic boron nitride. However, to reduce the cost, the manufacturers generally make the grinding wheels with less costly material in the core, because a layer of cubic boron nitride or diamond that surrounds the core are relatively more expensive. The aluminum oxide grinding wheel is also a popular solution since it is more inexpensive.

As for maintaining the perfect condition of the grinding wheel in the column surface grinders, dressers, and balancing stands are widely used. The dresser can refresh the face of the grinding wheel, which can be mounted on the table or in the head. The balancing stand can be used to detect and compensate a wide range of imbalances relative to the parallelism, concentricity, tolerance, and wear of the wheels.

● Controller: 

The controller of the automatic column surface grinder can provide a simple setup to achieve high precision, smooth surface finishes as well as critical product dimensions. The depth of cut and the sparks can also be predetermined, eliminating adjustment and human supervision during the surface grinding production.

● Lubricants and Cooling System: 

Almost all the modern column surface grinders have built-in coolant systems, lubricating systems as well as extraction systems to ensure the safety and smoothness of the operations. The extraction arm is used to eliminate the metal dust and grinding particles. The lubricants in many surface grinding machines play an important role, it can not only be directly applied to the grinding area to lubricate the wheel face but also carry away the chips and cool down the equipment. General lubricants used in surface grinding machines are petroleum-based oils, water-soluble oils, synthetic oils, or water-soluble chemical fluids.

:: Read more: Introducing Precision Surface Grinder

How Spindles Are Arranged on Column Surface Grinders?

● Horizontal-spindle Column Surface Grinders

The horizontal-oriented spindle on the column surface grinders allows high precision cutting on angular surfaces, tapers, recessed surfaces, and also applications requiring basic flat surface grinding. In the surface grinding machine, the periphery and flat “cutting edge” of the abrasive wheel get in contact with the workpieces directly.

● Vertical-spindle Column Surface Grinders

On the other hand, the “face” of the abrasive wheel gets in contact with the surfaces of the workpieces, which makes the column surface grinder more suitable for flat surfaces. The vertical spindle type of surface grinding machine is preferred to be used for quick material removal and high precision grinding tasks. 

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