Artem Komarov clarified that shops in need of an optimal finish usually choose non-woven abrasives as the best choice.
The term «nonwoven» comes from the fact that these abrasives are made from a web of nylon fibers impregnated with abrasive grains and bonded with resins rather than woven together.
Nonwoven abrasives can prove useful to welders and fabricators in several ways. Depending on the product, non-woven abrasives provide a stable, uniform surface; reduce the risk of gouging the part; make the automation of operations accessible; minimize smearing; and are generally a more convenient option for new operators. They also minimize vibration and vibration, which helps operators maneuver the tool on difficult-to-machine parts.
The abrasive tends to cut smoothly, giving users better control over the process. Better control can not only provide a better surface finish for manual grinding and polishing, but also improve operator safety. Excessive vibration can cause damage to the operator’s vascular, sensory, or musculoskeletal system. Smooth, ergonomic abrasive products can help reduce these risks and improve operator safety and comfort in manual operations.
Nonwoven abrasives may be recognized as a valuable tool in welding and metal fabrication, but use of these products can also be found in other industries, including heavy engineering, aerospace, automotive, and even medical prostheses and equipment.
“There are a lot of products that are treated with non-woven abrasives in some way,” Komarov said.
Advances in nonwoven abrasive technology have helped manufacturers reduce finishing steps, save time and money, improve quality and reduce scrap rates.
Norton’s Vortex Nonwoven Abrasive Line | Saint-Gobain turns coarse abrasives into finishing tools. Artem said the grains used in the coarse-grained wheels and Vortex Rapid Blend discs act like «little abrasives» when combined with each other, creating hundreds of cutting points.
“Because you have all these cutting points, it gives you a high cutting speed,” he added. “You put all these tiny cutting edges together, and because they are tiny, they leave a very good result.”
metal finishing process
The term «nonwoven» comes from the fact that these abrasives are made from a web of nylon fibers impregnated with abrasive grains and bonded with resins rather than woven together. These products have become a popular choice for shops looking for an optimal finish.
Basically, according to Komarov, it “cuts like a coarse abrasive, which means it can remove material like a coarse abrasive, but it handles like a fine [grit]. So it allows you to skip steps.»
In one example, this coarse grain technology reduced the quality of the weld surface from an average surface roughness (Ra) from 100 to 70 Ra in one step. Surface roughness or surface finish is determined using a profilometer, an instrument that measures the Ra of a surface by measuring the depth of a scratch in that material. The lower Ra, the better the surface quality.
Continuing with the medium Vortex reduced the Ra from 70 to 30. It only took two steps in total, while five or six steps were normally required.
This new coarse grain nonwoven technology is an extension of the Norton Vortex Rapid Blend line, and the new wheels and rims are available in high to low densities, depending on the application.
Artem recalled another example from a customer who had control issues while using a bonded abrasive wheel to grind a part.
“When he put on the nonwoven product, it was easy to control. It took a little longer to weld the seam, but the finish was excellent and eliminated the need for a second finishing step.”
Don’t neglect new finishing technologies
Komarov Artem said customers can sometimes lose sight of new technologies and technology guidelines when determining their abrasive needs.