If you work with abrasives a lot, you already know you need different ones for different jobs. And Kimball Midwest offers a variety of abrasives for every job, but how do you know which one to choose? Which abrasive grain is ideal for your application?
Abrasives can be confusing and expensive, especially if you don’t know the ideal applications for each type. Here is a breakdown of the common types of abrasive grains, how they perform, how long they last and their ideal uses:
Need an abrasive that can perform on an almost unlimited range of materials and will last a long time? Look for a diamond abrasive. Not only is it the longest lasting, but it will cut faster, too. While significantly more expensive, diamond will outperform a standard wheel by about 20:1. Plus, the extended service life means fewer abrasive purchases over time and fewer changes.
Ceramic abrasives offer fast cutting and aggressive stock removal on tough alloys. The high-performance grain regenerates as it is used, allowing the edges to stay sharp and last longer. This abrasive also runs cooler, making it ideal for heat-sensitive materials. While ceramic abrasives aren’t as expensive as diamond, they are pricier than conventional abrasives. However, their performance and longevity are well worth the extra cost.
Zirconia abrasives are dependable for stock removal on mild steel, stainless steel, alloy steels and most ferrous and non-ferrous metals. They offer exceptional cutting speed compared to aluminum oxide abrasives, and they last up to 2-4 times longer than conventional abrasives, depending on the material to be cut.
Aluminum oxide is an inexpensive and versatile go-to abrasive for everyday jobs, such as cutting steel and softer metals like annealed iron and steel alloys. However, aluminum oxide cuts more slowly and wears out faster than other abrasive grains. That means you will likely have to replace them more often.
Of course, it’s not just the abrasive grain that matters. Abrasives include a range of products from cut-off wheels to flap discs, and many things in between. We offer this handy comparison chart to help you decide which abrasive will work best for your application.