Blanchard Grinding vs. Precision Grinding

Grinding is a finishing process that uses abrasive action to hone metal parts and components to the required dimensions as well as improve overall surface quality. Grinding shapes the surface by removing excess amounts of metal per project specifications. While numerous grinding techniques are deployed in manufacturing and metal finishing applications, two of the most common processes are Blanchard grinding and precision grinding.

What Is Blanchard Grinding?

Developed by the Blanchard Machine Company of Cambridge, Massachusetts in the early 1900s, Blanchard grinding offers a fast, cost-effective solution for removing large amounts of material over an expansive surface area. Also known as rotary surface grinding, this technique entails the use of magnets or specially designed holders to secure the component in place. Typically used on ferrous metals, Blanchard grinding can also work with some non-ferrous metals and even plastics, though the latter two methods usually result in higher costs and slower production times.

A Blanchard grinding machine consists of a wheel mounted on a vertical spindle, which rotates in the opposite direction of the magnetic chucks that are holding the object. The grinding occurs on only one side of the workpiece. When completed, Blanchard grinding leaves a distinctive cross-hatch pattern on the surface that can enhance the appearance of the part. While Blanchard grinding offers a faster finishing solution, it is not as precise as other grinding techniques. You should only consider using the process for projects with a tolerance of over 0.001 inch.

Examples of typical Blanchard grinding applications include finishing large sections of plate stock, castings forgings, stampings, rotary tables and die blocks.

What Is Precision Grinding?

Whereas Blanchard grinding is often the best choice for high-volume projects with objects that have a large surface area, precision grinding delivers a higher level of accuracy when finishing smaller parts that require maximum flatness. Examples of precision grinding techniques include horizontal surface grinding — with the use of a high-speed rotating wheel deployed on the flat surface of a part or component — and cylindrical grinding, which can provide a smooth surface finish on round objects.

Typical precision grinding applications include producing a smooth surface finish that meets the specifications for brand-new parts. Grinding prepares the surface for the implementation of a coating such as paint or powder coat. Examples of materials that are amenable to precision grinding include silicon carbide, aluminum oxide and zirconia alumina.

Trust Summit Steel for Your Grinding Needs

Summit Steel has perfected the process of centerless grinding, a highly efficient precision grinding technique frequently used on steel tubes and bars. We also have the expertise to help you choose the right grinding process for your applications. Contact us for more information and a no-obligation grinding project quote today.