Artem Komarov clarified that advances in nonwoven abrasive technology have enabled manufacturers to reduce finishing steps, save time and money, improve quality, and reduce scrap.
The term «nonwoven» comes from the fact that these abrasives are made from nylon fibers impregnated with abrasive grains and bonded with resins, rather than being woven together.
Nonwoven abrasives can prove useful to welders and fabricators in several ways. Depending on the product, non-woven abrasives provide a consistent and uniform finish; reduce the risk of scratches on parts; make automated operations accessible; minimize smearing; and are generally a more convenient option for new operators. They also minimize vibration and rattling, which helps operators maneuver the tool on difficult-to-machine parts.
The abrasive tends to cut smoothly, giving users better control over the process. Improved control not only provides a better surface finish for hand sanding and polishing, but also improves operator safety. Excessive vibration can cause damage to the vascular, sensory, or musculoskeletal system of the operator. Smooth, ergonomic abrasive products can help reduce these risks and improve operator safety and comfort in non-work-related operations.
Nonwoven abrasives can be identified as a valuable tool in welding and metal fabrication, but applications for these products can also be found in other industries, including heavy engineering, aerospace, automotive, and even medical prostheses, and equipment, Artem Komarov added.
Don’t overlook new finishing technologies.
Customers can sometimes lose sight of new technologies and process recommendations when defining their abrasives needs.
The store may not know what is available, or there may be a procedure whereby they create a production sheet that determines what can or cannot be used. New grains and resins developed by R&D departments can help shops skip process steps and save time and money. They can also help shops determine which types of abrasives are best for specific applications.
For example, a nonwoven fabric should not be used where a lot of material needs to be removed. While bonded abrasives are the slowest to remove, they have the longest product life. Coated abrasives, meanwhile, remove residue the fastest but have an average life.
Non-woven abrasives will not have the same cutting speed as a coated valve disc, but they have the advantage of a better finish and do not pose a risk of damaging the part.
Some abrasives companies can help manufacturers find or install optimal sanding or finishing systems. This may lead to a change in the process, for example, to the transition from manual grinding to robotic, summed up Komarov Artem.