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Deburring/Finishing

Ante up

By Lynn Stanley

Above: Norton BlueFire abrasives deliver faster removal rates, better finishes and higher throughput.

Abrasives manufacturer raises the bar with new products that last longer, lower labor costs and boost output

October 2021 - The use of abrasives to shape, polish or grind material has a long and storied history. Use of the first circular grinding tool was recorded in 2100 B.C. when an Egyptian engineer mounted a wheel on a crude lathe and used it to grind bronze tools and ornaments. The first coated abrasives were comprised of crushed seashells affixed to parchment with an organic adhesive. In 2020, the global abrasive market was estimated at $34.41 billion.

Norton | Saint-Gobain Abrasives has been instrumental in modernizing the field and developing a wide range of innovative yet economical products. The abrasives manufacturer also invests in research and development and collaboration with customers to create solutions that deliver the performance, efficiency and productivity companies need.

“A growing number of customers are looking less at the initial cost of abrasives and more at the ways they can increase productivity,” says Patrick Carroll, senior product manager for Norton | Saint-Gobain Abrasives. “This includes lower labor costs, faster removal rates, better finishes and higher throughput. We also saw a customer need for longer-lasting, cooler-cutting products using better tier zirconia alumina.”

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Norton’s BlueFire abrasives come in a range of belts, cloth quick-change discs, flap discs and mini discs.

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Next generation

Recently, Norton | Saint-Gobain Abrasives introduced upgraded Norton BlueFire Abrasives, including belts, cloth quick-change, flap discs and mini flap discs. The products feature a new proprietary self-sharpening zirconia alumina grain shape and chemistry and an improved resin bond for durability and faster cut rates.

“We improved our zirconia products in three ways,” says Carroll. “We developed an aggressive new zirconia abrasive grain, improved the polyester backing and upgraded the resin bond.”

BlueFire R860 and R887D are suited to a wide range of materials in light- to heavy-pressure applications. R887D uses supersized zirconia and was designed for grinding stainless steel, titanium, aluminum, super alloys and magnesium. Its 36 grit, for example, has demonstrated a 50 percent improvement in metal removal compared to earlier generation zirconia products. R860 is a new non-supersized BlueFire zirconia product designed to provide high-performance grinding of carbon steels, alloy steels, copper, brass, bronze, fiberglass and composites.

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The next-generation products are especially attractive for customers looking to gain improvements in processes that include beveling edges for weld preparation, blending part lines on forgings and castings, flattening weld beads or excessive reinforcement, gate removal and blending on investment castings, heavy stock removal, deflashing molded parts, deburring holes and chamfering edges, and surface refinement or finishing.

Since the new abrasive stays sharper longer due to enhanced wear resistance and microfracture resharpening, Norton | Saint-Gobain Abrasives anticipated the higher stresses the enhanced abrasive would place on the adhesive bond and backings. The abrasive manufacturer upgraded the resin bond and backing system to reduce grain shedding and provide a more durable product under high pressure.

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Norton’s BlueFire products feature a proprietary self-sharpening zirconia alumina grain shape that contributes to faster cuts.

Meeting demand

“This latest generation of BlueFire products is very effective at high pressures, but also increases product life and metal removal at low and intermediate pressures,” Carroll says.

BlueFire R887D is available in belts and quick-change discs. BlueFire R860 is available in flap and quick-change discs. BlueFire flap discs are also available with stiffer T29 conical fiberglass backing plate as well as quick trim T27 flat plastic backing plate.

For customers that require moderate grinding, beveling, blending and finishing, BlueFire R860 quick-change discs offer improved base adhesion, which reduces grain shedding and minimizes loading on soft metals such as aluminum, brass and bronze as well as stainless and carbon steels.

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Norton BlueFire abrasive products are suited for a wide range of materials in light to heavy-pressure applications.

The BlueFire mini flap discs complement the Norton mini grinder developed to meet the demand for smaller, ergonomic tools. The upgraded flap discs feature durable, Y-weight polyester flaps for improved product life, grain retention and fray resistance.

Norton | Saint-Gobain Abrasives credits its history of technological advances in abrasive grain, fusion technology and coated abrasive manufacturing in part to its ability to control quality. “Some abrasive suppliers don’t manufacture their own abrasive material,” says Carroll. “Instead, they convert jumbo rolls of coated abrasive material into discs, belts and other shapes. Even fewer bonded abrasive manufacturers produce their own abrasive grains. Norton | Saint-Gobain Abrasives controls the quality of its products every step of the way from raw minerals infused with zirconia abrasives to making coated abrasive material and flexing and converting it into abrasive discs, belts and other abrasive products.”  FFJ

Sources

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IRONWORKERS

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Camfil APC - Equipment Trilogy Machinery Inc. Metamation Inc. Admiral Steel
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Mazak Optonics Corp.

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Mate Precision Tooling

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AMADA AMERICA, INC. BLM Group
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Mayfran International Cincinnati Inc. SafanDarley Barton International

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LVD Strippit

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Flow International Corporation
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Osborn

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Behringer Saws Inc. American Weldquip
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Beckwood Press Co. Titan Tool Supply Inc. Savage Saws

 

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