Tangential Grinding: Everything You need to know in 2023

In the field of mechanical processing, the so-called grinding procedure is one of the most widespread and important. In this case we have a transversal processing, capable of satisfying the needs of different sectors and which can be carried out in different ways.

 One of the most important to pay attention to is that of tangential grinding that is the procedure that allows you to make a surface flat. For this reason, tangential grinding is also known as surface grinding.

Precision mechanics

When we talk about precision mechanical workshops we refer to those industrial realities in which high precision mechanics are performed, as the name suggests. This is understood as the ability to make metal components, even small parts, with exact measurements to the thousandth. 

In fact, these are components that range across different sectors and require extreme precision (in shape, size and treatment) such as to ensure their correct functioning for the purpose for which they were designed. 

We are talking about components that must allow movements, ensure the fixing and stability of components, allow the passage of fluids and work even in conditions of low or high temperatures, bearing considerable mechanical stresses, without losing their efficiency. It is therefore evident that the work of a precision mechanical workshop is extremely delicate and of great importance.

What a precision mechanical company does?

The precision mechanical workshops make use of machinery and professionals specialized in the realization of these processes. In particular, precision workshops use machine tools such as lathe and milling machines, especially those with multiple axes (3, 4 or 5 axes) and equipped with modern numerical control technology (CNC).

 Thanks to this instrumentation it is possible to intervene on metal and plastic materials with extreme precision, allowing that final quality typical of these processes.

The precision mechanical workshop then receives from the customer the project of the product (or series products) to be created.

 The precision mechanical workshop must therefore be able to receive this order, evaluate the selection of raw materials, and program the numerical control machinery to be used, perform the work and verify that these are perfectly compliant with the original technical drawing.

This verification takes place with that process called quality control which is of equal importance with that of the actual mechanical processing. If the latter can take place through different interventions (roughing, grinding, grooving, boring, tapping, parting, finishing, etc.) the quality control is carried out through the analysis of each phase of the manufacturing process and the examination of the components made, verifying that they correspond in every minimum part to the client’s requests.

Within a precision mechanical workshop, therefore, both the technological quality of the machinery and the skill and competence of the professionals who work in it play a parallel role.

The services of the precision mechanical workshop FirstPart

As we have been able to summarize, the processes that are carried out in a precision mechanical workshop are many and very different from each other. FirstPart thanks to the various machining centers and dedicated departments, it is able to carry out grinding and tangential grinding, milling, micro -drilling, turning and wire EDM operations.

 Absolute precision machining that can be performed on any material, from stainless steels to plastics, passing through brass, copper, bronze and aluminum.

The importance of rectification

To understand the particularity and importance of tangential grinding it is essential to summarize what the grinding process consists of. The meaning of the term, which indicates the ability of this operation to make any surface straight by eliminating curves and slopes, helps us to better understand what it is.

 Basically the grinding of a metal component is the operation that allows eliminating any type of material, even and above all the most imperceptible one, from the surfaces of the various pieces.

This processing takes place through a particular machine (called tangential grinding machine) which is equipped with a grinding wheel that carries out an abrasion process aimed precisely at removing all types of impurities. 

Tangential or flat grinding takes place with a special grinding machine. A machine whose grinding wheel has a more or less fine grain, thanks also to the speed of rotation, is able to transform the surfaces of any raw component.

As you can guess, we are talking about a job that requires maximum precision, without which it is not possible to obtain a finish that is always impeccable and functional to the uses of that specific component.

The role of grinding machines

There are two elements that determine the success of a grinding: the machinery used and the operator’s competence in setting it correctly. As far as grinding machines are concerned, we are talking about machinery consisting of a spindle (the support for the tool) and a grinding wheel.

 The spindles of tangential grinding machines, unlike, for example, those of milling machines, must have an extremely precise rotation to create an always perfect surface. It is also crucial that the grinding machines are not subject to excessive vibrations, as we are talking about extremely precise machining. 

The movement of the spindle is perpendicular to the work axis (and therefore to the piece) which instead moves along the y and Z axes in order to create uniform and precise planes.

The different types of grinding

There are different types of grinding based on the direction in which the grinding wheel moves to smooth the surface of the piece, based on the type of finish you want to obtain and, again, based on the machinery used. The so-called surface grinding, which uses a tangential grinding machine, is that in which the wheel has the axis of rotation perpendicular to the movement of the work surface.

 Unlike other types of grinding, tangential grinding has the ability to obtain perfect surface uniformity and minimum roughness. The latter is the property of a mechanical body to have geometric micro-imperfections on its surface that can derive from mechanical processes or from previous processing steps.

The peculiarity of a tangential grinding machine is also that of having the wheel in two different positions with respect to the component being machined. 

The first is a tangent contact, in fact, between the wheel itself and the work surface; the second is a frontal contact between the grinding wheel and the work surface. In this way the removal of excess material and any type of residue occurs perfectly according to requirements, in order to obtain a surface of the metal component with a finish suitable for its use.

The first stage of processing

Tangential grinding is a primary and preparatory process for other processes. Tangential grinding machines can operate on components of different materials (steel, iron, aluminum, bronze, cast iron, etc.). Moreover it is possible to apply both a different grain to the grinding wheel and a higher and lower rotation speed. These settings allow the tangential grinding machine to create a perfect surface free from any kind of imperfection.

In which sectors is tangential grinding used?

Tangential grinding is a fundamental process for many sectors, that is all those in which it is necessary to have mechanical components with a perfectly smooth surface. This maximum flatness and minimum roughness of the surfaces of mechanical components such as flanges, motor heads, square modules, plates, prints, etc., is essential both from an aesthetic and above all technical point of view . 

The presence of imperfections, however minimal, can frustrate the work. Compromising the operation of the machine (be it a car, an appliance, a work tool, etc.) in which that component is inserted. For this it is necessary that the tangential adjustment is performed with the utmost care by qualified personnel.

Tangential grinding: a work of the highest precision

As we have been able to appreciate, tangential grinding is a work of very high precision. FIRSTPART, which has been operating in the precision mechanics sector for twenty-five years, makes use of the latest generation of tangential grinding machines and qualified personnel in their use and control. 

Although the work is carried out automatically by the machine, it must be set correctly to perform a job of high quality. It is also necessary to remember that in many cases grinding is an extremely delicate and complex operation because there is not always too much excess material to work on.

Tangential grinding is a fine job that requires enormous skill and knowledge of the operating dynamics of both the machinery and the final use of the component being worked on.