People often talk about internal diameter (ID) grinder and outside diameter (OD) grinder as if they are two distinct types of grinding equipment. Little do they know that the advancement in technology has allowed them to be integrated into one single unit, which greatly extends its versatility and usefulness. We generally refer to these single-purpose, combined units as the ID OD grinder or the universal grinder.
As the name implies, a universal grinder performs both ID and OD grinding. Despite the combined configuration, the grinding machines are only able to perform each set of operations separately, not simultaneously. They specialize in low-volume parts and are generally considered tool room equipment. For high-volume, project an individual ID or OD grinder is usually preferred.
Topping the above mentioned, ID and OD grinding are still two distinct methods even though both functions are embodied in a universal grinder. So it is important that we introduce the two separately.
The process executed by internal grinders is known as inside diameter grinding, inner diameter grinding, or boring grinding. Workpieces can be held using a chuck or a magnetic drive shoe, with other options available as well. Common applications of an ID grinder include military tank components, hydraulic lash adjusters for automotive engines, rocker arm rollers, ball, and roller bearings, etc.
Outside diameter grinding is exactly what its name suggests – cylindrical materials are ground between the centers on the outer diameter. These centers are units that contain a point at which the object can rotate. Some applications in which OD grinders are used include transmission components, axles, hydraulic components, camshafts, crankshafts, etc.
ID OD grinders are a center type of cylindrical grinding machines, the construction of which is basically the same as a traditional grinding machine. However, the advanced features allow the former to perform a wider range of machining processes, while the traditional models suffer from more restrictions as to their applications. But here is the defining difference between the two types of cylindrical grinding machines: both the work head and wheel head can be swiveled in and ID OD universal grinder and the traditional grinders don’t typically offer such a feature. The headstock of a universal unit can also be set at a slight angle in the grinding systems instead of a fixed right angle.
Universal grinders are exceptional for tool room applications because of their high versatility, and the ability to make parts with high-quality surface finishes with excellent accuracy. This is why they have always been valuable candidates for precise grinding applications, such as bearings and hydraulic components, in which very tight tolerances are required. Major industries that utilize these machines include aerospace, automotive, and defense.
Moving on to the specific operations these machines are able to execute, taper plunge grinding and plunge cylindrical grinding are also possible with these units. The universal type grinding machines are also designed for miscellaneous cutter sharpening. Other operations that are possible with an ID OD universal grinder include: cylindrical traverse grinding, form grinding with table traverse, plunge cylindrical grinding, face grinding, surface grinding by swiveling the work head by 90 degrees, taper grinding by tilting the table, and taper grinding table by tilting the wheel head.
As with many other types of industrial equipment, ID OD grinders are also undergoing rapid modernization to speed up machine setup and parts production. Manufacturers aim to make them significantly easier to configure and operate, with only a few steps involved and fewer skilled operators needed. Even the machine's core component, the grinding wheels, are riding the tide as more updated versions with new bonds and super-abrasives are being developed – materials can now be removed faster than ever and tougher metals are now easier to cut. This has led to the grinders today being more rigid and powerful in order for operators to safely handle them in all types of applications.
The more advanced universal grinders may include features such as new controls and dressing processes, sensor monitoring devices, or multiple function support such as universal cylindrical, polygon, and face grinding. Intelligent software systems have always been incorporated into these grinders, ensure smoother workflow and save time. This software is capable of calculating and suggesting process parameters so that precision components can be produced repeatedly with optimal accuracy and surface finishes.
In the machines’ continuous development, we can only expect that they shift towards a point where they can produce higher quality parts consistently, save more setup time, improve the usefulness for the machines further, and support an even higher volume of production applications.
IMTS Exhibition includes manufacturers from around the world. Send us a message with your requirements and our IMTS Experts will happily help you with your questions.