Centerless grinders are different from traditional rotary grinders in many ways. Most notably, they feature no ‘feed plate’ and are completely self-powered. This makes them ideal for fabrication and precision tooling applications. They are also popular for use in laser lithography (using a laser borescope), plasma cutting applications, and metal stamping applications. Because of their unique characteristics, centerless grinders can be difficult to design and they are frequently used in CNC environments.
The main benefit of a centerless grinder-other than its self-contained nature-is the speed of operation. This type of machine runs at significantly faster speeds than any other type of grinding machine. It is because of this that they are often chosen for CNC applications where high part quality is desired. In addition to the exceptional speed of the machine, they also provide a smooth, even, and extremely wear tolerant surface because they do not contact parts at any juncture during the process. This eliminates sudden and unplanned wear and tear problems and allows for a consistent and reliable product.
One of the unique characteristics of the centerless grinder is its interchangeable carriage. There are typically four moving parts that can be interchangeable depending on the application needs of the job. These four moving parts include a chuck unit, a blade, and two wheels. Each of these four pieces can move independently and can be moved in either direction through the entire movement of the machine.
The two wheels on the front of a centerless grinder are usually driven by an electric motor. Depending on the manufacturer, each wheel may also be fitted with a lubrication system. Lubrication systems are typically set up so that when the wheel spins, the lubricant applied to the wheel spindles is distributed through the entire assembly via a transfer case and then to the wheel bearings. A benefit of having a lubrication system is that it prevents the occurrence of excessive wear or poor performance from poorly performing wheels. Even though this type of power unit is commonly referred to as a power grinder, it functions in a very different way than grinders.
The two types of centers: Full tilt and Infeed. There are many reasons why manufacturers utilize these two types of machines. The full tilt machines are often used in applications requiring a variety of grinding surfaces. These machines require a high level of skill to operate effectively, however. Infeed grinders are primarily used to produce fine diamond-like or ceramic surface finishes on metal and steel. These machines can quickly move along the metal surface finishing the work without the use of excessive manual power.
Although the Centerless Grinder is unique, it shares the same characteristics with other similar machines such as in-feed grinders, scroll grinders and blade grinders. It is important for users to understand how each type of grinding wheel or machine works so that they may appropriately determine whether the machine is best suited for their particular application. For example, an abrasive user may require a machine with infeed features while a fine wheels user may prefer one without.