What Superabrasives Are & How They are Used
Superabrasives are tools used in precision grinding. Superabrasive materials attach to a wheel to make Superabrasive grinding wheels. The reason some abrasives are Superabrasives is due to their extraordinary hardness, unparalleled performance, and longevity.
What are Superabrasives?
Abrasives that belong to the Superabrasive family includes,Industrial diamonds: an industrial diamond is a non-gem quality small diamond that is for abrasives, cutting, and drilling tools.
- Cubic boron nitride (CBN): Usually called CBN it is the second hardest cutting tool material after a diamond.
- Polycrystalline: Is an abrasive material that has a multiple collection of crystal grain structures with individual orientations
- CVD Diamond: These are synthetic diamonds made by a process known as chemical vapor deposition.CVD diamonds grow from a hydrocarbon gas mixture. They are extremely hard, have a high thermal conductivity that is five times that of copper. They also have broadband optical transparency, are chemically inert, and only reach graphitization at very high temperatures.
- Nanodiamonds: These tiny diamonds are the product of a controlled explosion. Sometimes called a detonation nanodiamond (DND) or an ultradispersed diamond, as this is how they form.
Industries That Use Superabrasives
A great number of industries use Superabrasive grinding wheels and the coated abrasives subsection of the abrasives industry continues to grow. Industries that are prime buyers of Superabrasive grinding wheels are:
Advantages of Superabrasives
The advantages of Superabrasive grinding wheels are more than extraordinary hardness, unparalleled performance, and longevity. These three features of Superabrasives are the core of many advantages manufacturers gain by an aggregation of services that normal abrasives simply cannot deliver.
- Less expensive tooling and fixturing costs
- More wheels on the spindle, smaller wheels, multiple operations
- Less floor space needed for manufacturing
- Virtual elimination of wheel wear
- Automated CNC machines, less labor intensive operations requiring less training
- Consistent surface speed from part to part
- Better overall throughput with fewer machines needed
- Improved Material Removal Rates, Lower Per Part Abrasive Costs and higher speeds
With Superabrasives, production increased by automated CNC equipment, industries have found one way to compensate for the lack of availability of skilled labor. With fewer machines needed, so is fewer workers. With Superabrasives CNC, automation is more concerned with defining a manufacturing process using machine capabilities and mechanization. There is less concern on operator technique. A properly defined process, combined with automatic loaders make for equipment that is almost running itself.
Future growth of the abrasives industries will primarily be in Superabrasives. Currently, research and development of Superabrasives are taking place in the following areas:
- Custom designed “hard to grind” materials in an increasing number of industries
- Creep or deep feed grinding
- High-speed, high-performance grinding of hardened steel
- Form grinding, sometimes with electroplating, in high precision, high-removal, and high-surface quality applications
- CNC-control of line grinding machines
Other abrasive technology developments with Superabrasives are likely to occur in using CVD for the best bonding of coatings to diamond wheels