Centerless Grinding & Finishing for Stainless Steel Castings

The production of precise stainless steel components requires access to advanced manufacturing equipment. From stainless steel casting and machining to grinding and drilling, every aspect of the production process has an important role to play.

Centerless grinding is a specific machining process often used in the production of stainless steel parts. This process uses abrasive cutting to remove material, with the workpiece secured between two rotary grinding wheels rather than a spindle or fixture.

What is Centerless Grinding?

Centerless grinding is a steel machining process that does not require the workpiece to be mechanically constrained in a spindle or fixture. This offers a number of advantages over traditional grinding. This procedure can be compared to standard center-type or chucker grinding, where center holes or work-head fixtures are used to keep the workpiece in place. Instead, centerless grinding keeps the workpiece in place by its outside diameter, supported between a regulating wheel and a grinding wheel.

Highly efficient precision grinding can be performed with a centerless process. While advanced skills and experience are needed to work the three basic components in harmony (workpiece, stationary regulating wheel, and moving grinding wheel), once mastered, this process is much more efficient than other grinding methods.

Centerless grinding works well due to its simple setup and efficient movement, with the grinding wheel producing a force that pushes the workpiece into the smaller stationary wheel. The regulating wheel determines the rotational speed, which also depends on the diameter of the grinding wheel.

Precision grinding vs Blanchard grinding

Centerless grinding is an example of precision grinding, a category of grinding that also includes cylindrical grinding, horizontal spindle surface grinding, internal diameter grinding, and creep-feed grinding. Precision grinding is used for materials with small flat surfaces that require a precise finish.

All forms of precision grinding can be contrasted with Blanchard grinding, which is a much more economical process generally used for larger materials where precision results are not required. Also known as rotary surface grinding, Blanchard processes leave a grinding mark that is associated with its signature look.

Benefits of Centerless Grinding

Centerless grinding offers a number of benefits over other techniques, including rapid production and rounding, increased production efficiency, and an increased ability to work with precise tolerances and smaller workpieces. It is responsible for the production of the high-quality steel bars used in many industries today, and it works well with many of the common finishing techniques used across industry sectors.

Stainless steel finishes

Centerless grinding is common in stainless steel applications, where precision machining is combined with advanced finishing treatments for the best possible results. Stainless steel can be very difficult to grind because it heats up easier and can lose straightness. It is also more difficult to finish, with roughness and tears both likely if there is no access to the right equipment.

Centerless grinding works particularly well with stainless steel precision casting, as it’s less sensitive to rising working temperature and has a greater ability to load under pressure. Tool steel casting produced from centerless grinding can be ideal for finishing, with a range of finishes categorized by the Specialty Steel Industry of North America (SSINA). Common finishes include No. 1, No. 2B, No. 3, No. 4, and No. 7.

The KICastings advantage

At KICastings, we provide a complete metal casting solution based on precision results, consistent delivery standards, and quality control. Our world-class metal casting foundry has been providing quality casting solutions to over 5,000 customers since 1992. Our vertically integrated service offers a range of mold making, investment casting, and precision machining solutions.

We specialize in steel castings and other solutions for the transportation industry, including trains and automobiles, as well as water sport components, sports utility equipment, and more. We also work with a number of industrial clients in the food production industry, specializing in the production of mixers and complex hardware components. We also serve the gun and tool industry and offer versatile casting and machining solutions to a diverse client base across the United States. If you need advanced centerless grinding for stainless steel parts, please reach out to our support team.