11 Ways to Ruin Your Centerless Grinder

Your centerless grinder is a reliable workhorse that should last more than half a century if you treat it with the respect it deserves.  Develop a daily, weekly and monthly preventive maintenance schedule for your centerless grinding machine, and follow it.  Along with regular maintenance, be sure to book a yearly stem-to-stern examination by an experienced service technician who can diagnose your machine’s ailments before they turn into major illnesses.  By avoiding the practices listed below, your centerless grinder will remain the favorite among your many machine tools. 

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1.    Don’t change your hydraulic oil

You’ve got lots of fluids running through your centerless grinder. Each has a purpose, but none is more critical than the machine’s hydraulic oil.  Old, dirty oil will accelerate wear of spindle bearings and damage cylinder seals, ensuring that you’ll spend extra money and time to replace these centerless grinder components. 

2.    Don’t lube your machine

Centerless grinders are expensive, and damaging your machine tool due to insufficient lubrication is just plain silly.  Although some friction among components is necessary for successful grinding, excess friction from inadequate lubrication is extremely damaging.  In addition to the expense of replacement components such as ways, slides and diamond cams, which are particularly sensitive to friction, you’ll also be scolded for the cost and inconvenience of downtime while new components are installed.

3.    Set up your machine incorrectly

In its simplest form, a centerless grinder consists of the machine base, grinding wheel, regulating wheel and work blade. The work piece is located on its outside diameter and supported by the work blade, which is between the regulating wheel and the grinding wheel. The regulating wheel drives the part and the grinding wheel removes the material. 

The key to getting good parts lies in the “relationship” (i.e., setup) of the grinding wheel, regulating wheel and work blade. If these components are immersed in a failing relationship, the machine can crash or hurl parts out of the grinder faster than a major league pitcher. The latter can be extremely dangerous to both machinery and humans.

4.    Use a damaged grinding wheel

Operating your machine with a damaged, cracked or “frozen” wheel is a bad idea.  First, you will damage your machine.  Second, you will endanger your operators.  Damaged wheels have been known to explode, shooting shrapnel-like pieces into whomever or whatever is nearby. If you’d like more proof of possible dangers and have a strong stomach, visit youtube.com and search “injury from damaged grinding wheels.”

5.    Use a “soaked” grinding wheel

A coolant-soaked grinding wheel can become unbalanced and cause your spindle to vibrate, ensuring bad parts.  Further, that same wet wheel can explode and endanger factory employees.

6.    Forget about proper wheel flange torque

Much like the porridge temperature in the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, your wheel flange has to be tightened “just right.”  If the grinding wheel flange is not tight enough, the wheel will slip on the hub and become unbalanced, or crash.  If the grinding wheel flange is too tight, the wheel will become damaged and could explode.

7.    Run your grinding wheel as fast as possible

Never exceed the maximum operating speed of a grinding wheel.  Grinding wheels are clearly marked with a maximum operating speed in revolutions per minute (RPM). This marking appears on the side of the wheel, or on the blotter attached to the wheel.  The marking indicates the maximum speed at which the grinding wheel can operate at its maximum diameter. 

8.    Ignore the specified stock removal

If part stock removal exceeds the centerless machine’s current setup, parts can be “thrown” out of the machine, the wheel or blade can be damaged and other components can be harmed.

9.    Exceed the regulating wheel’s RPM

Your regulating wheel is not an Indy car. If you run the regulating wheel beyond its recommended RPM when removing stock, your parts may rocket out of the machine or cause damage to your blade and/or wheel.

10.  Never change your blade

A damaged or worn blade can lead to wheel damage, or cause a part or parts to become deadly projectiles.

11. Assign untrained operators to your centerless grinder

We cannot emphasize this enough: Do not let untrained personnel operate your centerless grinding machine.  Take the time to properly educate your operators and insist that they receive additional training at regular intervals.

We love centerless grinders and we want you to care for yours. For more information on centerless grinding machines, contact us.

 

 

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