Surface grinding is one of the oldest and best-known finishing processes in industry. A spinning abrasive wheel is used to smooth out rough spots on both metallic and non-metallic work pieces, leaving it flat and without blemish. Many surface grinding companies offer this basic finishing service to manufacturers all over the world.
Almost any unfinished part is a good candidate for surface grinding. The process is very adaptable, using a grinding wheel that can be of any size or shape, a chuck to hold the piece, and a rotary work table that allows the piece to be moved in any direction. Surface grinding is best for mild steel or cast iron pieces that emerge from the mold with a rough, unfinished surface. Examples would include plumbing pipes, structural members and any other pieces that need to be smoothed before a protective or decorative coating is applied.
The engineer or designer wishing to utilize this process should make sure the original mold or rough piece is amenable to finishing. Some surface grinding companies specialize in non-ferrous materials like aluminum or plastics, which offer a different set of challenges. In iron or steel, the grinding is generally fast with no residue. Softer materials can cause buildup on the grinding wheel, requiring frequent pauses in process to clean it off. This factor must be considered when planning workflow and extra time should be expected for the process.
Many manufacturing plants have an organic surface grinding ability they have the machines and trained technicians on staff and ready to work. For special projects or short term product runs, there are many job shops that specialize in this work.