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Posted on Apr 28, 2021
A precision surface grinder is often a full-auto machine tool that works on its own with a CNC system and a power unit. The power unit is responsible for providing the power output that drives the grinding wheel spinning. The surface grinders as well as most grinding machines today are driven by a mechanical system that has an electric motor as its power source.
A precision surface grinder is essentially a machine tool that is designed particularly for carrying out surface finish applications for manufactured parts. In the modern manufacturing industry, the surface finish requirement of products varies from field to field. For the general manufacturing industry that produces most of the daily commodities, a high-precision surface finish of the products is not required. As for the medical industry, military industry, or aerospace industry, precision is one of the most fundamental qualities of a part, and therefore precision surface grinders are heavily relied on so as to achieve the strict tolerance and precision requirements.
The term precision surfacing grinding, or precision grinding, refers to the process that aims at creating flatness and parallelism at a high degree on the surfaces of parts that are relatively small. Usually, these precision parts are made as components of a complex machine. The tolerance of the parts has to be extremely fine so that the assembly of these parts maintains their precision and accuracy. The precision surface grinding machines are made to take on such tasks. Since the finish operation is conducted as one of the last few processes in a production line, the surface grinders are involved in the last bit of the process accordingly.
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The construction of surface grinders differs based on the style of the machine and the parts they are made to process. That being said, the essential components of these machines are not much different. The grinding machines always have a grinding wheel (sometimes two), a working table, and a power unit. In addition to these components, a CNC system is commonly applied by precision surface grinders in order to best guarantee the quality of the work. In the following section, we will break down each part of the machine so that a better understanding of such machine tools can be attained.
The grinding wheelset is the most important part of the machine not only because it is the part that handles the grinding processes but also because the wheel affects the end result of a process to a great extent. A grinding wheel is a round disc that is made of abrasives. The grit (sometimes referred to as grains) size of the grinding wheel determines the fineness of the surface finish. The smaller the grits are, the finer the surface finish is. Besides the grit size, the components of the grits also have an influence on the process. The material of the wheel should be chosen regarding the parts to be ground. Some grits cut more aggressively while some generate less heat during an operation.
Just like any other type of machine tool, the worktable is where a workpiece is clamped. A high-precision grinding machine needs the work table to be perfectly flat and parallel. The work-holding system on the work table is also crucial. Every type of workpiece needs a particular type of work-holding system. For instance, when grinding a sheet metal, a vacuum chuck is a better choice than a typical jaw chuck or a vise. Sometimes a magnetic chuck is used when metallic sheet metal is being processed. When grinding a workpiece with complex geometry, a 3-jaw chuck or a 4-jaw chuck is ideal for the job. In most cases, a modern precision surface grinder (CNC surface grinder) has a work table with 3-axis motion capability for higher precision and better efficiency.
A precision surface grinder is often a full-auto machine tool that works on its own with a CNC system and a power unit. The power unit is responsible for providing the power output that drives the grinding wheel spinning. The surface grinders as well as most grinding machines today are driven by a mechanical system that has an electric motor as its power source. An electric motor is advantageous for several reasons. For one thing, such a power unit has a simple construction, which minimizes the maintenance cost and failure rate. For the other, the power transmission is more efficient and the power output is consistent. These features assure a better quality of the machine's application.
CNC stands for computer numerical control. It is defined as the automated control of machines. Such a system is standardized as a key part of modern machine tools. With a CNC system, the entire machining process, in this case, the surface grinding process can be controlled by the computer. The feeding rate, power output, machining route, machining axis, dimension of the workpiece, and other factors are all preprogrammed in advance and the human factor is categorically reduced. With less human interference during a machining operation, the cost and chance of error are reduced, and most importantly, the precision and efficiency are improved. As a result, the introduction of such a system to the process is beneficial.
The working principle of precision surface grinders is not as complicated as you think. The surface grinders remove materials from the surface of a workpiece by leaning the spinning grinding wheel onto the workpiece. How fast the grinding wheel spins and how deep it advances against the workpiece are predetermined and controlled by the CNC system. Compared with a standard grinding operation, the spinning rate and feeding rate of a precision surfacing grinding process are often lower. The reason is that precision surface grinding involves removing a very thin layer of material from the surface of a workpiece. Grinding too aggressively makes it hard to control the process and too much material may be cut away from the workpiece.
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