Understanding Blanchard and Precision Grinding

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Common Applications for Tube Steel Styles
March 8, 2019
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Understanding Blanchard and Precision Grinding

understanding Blanchard precision grinding

At Wasatch Steel, we’re proud to assist all our customers with numerous steel services and processes. Whether you need your steel sheared, punched, sawed or taken through a variety of similar processes, we’re here to help you get the perfect material for your next project.

One important process for many metals, not just steel, is known as grinding. Grinding refers to a machining process that uses an abrasive material to achieve a certain set of dimensions and/or surface finish. There are several grinding formats out there, and two of the most common are known as Blanchard grinding and precision grinding. Let’s look at what each of these is for, how they differ, and which you should consider.

Blanchard Grinding

Also called Rotary Surface Grinding, Blanchard grinding is so named due to its development by a group called the Blanchard Machine Company in the early 1900s. This process, which was designed to be more economical than precision grinding processes, is meant to efficiently remove stock from one side of a given metal material with a large surface area.

In general, Blanchard grinding is recommended for larger pieces and those with high tolerances. Metals with a tolerance of less than 0.001” are generally not used for Blanchard grinding. This format leaves a surface finish, as well as a signature grinding mark that some view as an aesthetic upgrade. Some of the materials Blanchard grinding can be used on include:

  • Large castings and forgings
  • Large sections of plate stock
  • Molds or dies
  • Large stamping areas
  • A wide variety of non-ferrous materials (as long as the proper holding devices are used)

Precision Grinding

Precision grinding, on the other hand, is for smaller surface materials that require a high degree of flatness, parallelism, or quality surface finish. It is commonly used for a wider range of tolerances, including those up to plus or minus 0.0001”, and is capable of achieving surface finishes of around 10 RMS.

In most cases, precision grinding will be used as one of the final processes for a given piece of metal. It has a couple primary types that might be utilized:

  • Horizontal spindle surface grinding: A format that uses an abrasive wheel that rotates quickly, impacting the flat surface that you desire grinding for.
  • Cylindrical grinding: Similar to the above, but used for round objects and requires a different holding device. This format uses more specific “shaping” themes as well.

There are several abrasives that might be used here, including aluminum oxide, zirconia alumina, and silicon carbide. Applications of precision grinding include molds, dies, bushings, shafts, stampings, machine components, and various piston or cylinder needs.

For more on the differences between common metal grinding processes, or to learn about any of our steel services or buy our steel online, speak to the staff at Wasatch Steel today.