Fundamentals of centerless grinding

What is the centerless external cylindrical grinding?

Centerless grinding is a process for grinding cylindrical workpieces and is used for mass production of items such as cylinder rollers, tapered rollers, pump shafts, hydraulic spacers, cross pins, drills and much more.


The workpiece is not clamped between two centers, which is why the process is referred to as centerless grinding. The workpiece is instead located in the so-called grinding zone between the grinding wheel and the regulating wheel on a workpiece support. The rotating grinding wheel and regulating wheel put the workpiece into rotation and remove material (see illustration).

The grinding pressure from the grinding wheel [1] presses the workpiece [2] against the regulating wheel [3] and the workpiece support [4]. The rotating regulating wheel provides the counterpressure required for grinding.

Yet while the regulating wheel and the grinding wheel rotate in the same direction, they have different rotational speeds. The regulating wheel rotates at a lower speed, serving as a brake for the workpiece. In addition, the regulating wheel supports the workpiece and, by determining the angle of the rotational axis and rotational speed, determines the throughfeed speed for the workpiece during traverse grinding.

The rotating workpiece sits atop the workrest blade during grinding. This impacts the quality of the grinding process in relation to its thickness, the support angle β and material used in the contact surface.

In principle, differentiation is made between two centerless external cylindrical grinding processes: plunge grinding and throughfeed grinding.

Fundamentals of Centerless Grinding - Other Topics

Plunge grinding

For centerless plunge grinding, the workpiece is ground using a plunge method, whereby the grinding wheel is fed along the workpiece. For this reason, the grinding and regulating wheel have a negative profile of the workpiece, provided with the help of a dressing tool.

More about plunge grinding
Throughfeed grinding

Centerless throughfeed grinding, also called traverse grinding, is one of the most economical grinding techniques for mass production. The workpieces run continuously with an axial feed through the grinding zone.

More about throughfeed grinding
Advantages and disadvantages of the centerless grinding

Each grinding process has its advantages and disadvantages. You can learn more here about the concrete benefits of centerless external cylindrical grinding vs. traditional external cylindrical grinding.

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