Thick or thin?

Jul 03, 2019

When selecting cutting-off wheels, making a decision often isn’t that easy. In addition to many obvious factors, such as the machine or area of application, various preferences also play a role. So what does actually matter?

When selecting cutting-off wheels, making a decision often isn’t that easy. In addition to many obvious factors, such as the machine or area of application, various preferences also play a role. So what does actually matter?

It comes down to the millimetre. No, we’re not talking about a photo finish in track cycling, but about cutting-off wheels. Anyone in Germany wanting to cut stainless steel, metal or another material professionally faces a choice: 0.8 millimetres, 1.0 millimetre, 1.6 millimetres, 2.0 millimetres or 2.5 millimetres. Klingspor also produces cutting-off wheels of various thicknesses. But which model has the ideal dimensions? Someone who has to know is Anton Bodrin. The 36 year old works in Klingspor’s Product Management department, and clarifies with a smile: “There is no simple answer to this question. It depends on what the user wants to do with the cutting-off wheel, which machine is being used, where the work is taking place and which material is being processed, to name just a few factors.” The discussion about the right wheel thickness is nothing new. Since Klingspor first produced a high speed, adaptable, fibre-bound grinding disc in 1954 and fundamentally changed the entire cutting technology, a lot has happened on the market. While the first discs were somewhat sturdier, around 15 years ago, the leading manufacturers started competing with models of 1.0 millimetre and thinner for use on angle grinders with a diameter of 100 to 125 millimetres.

Advantages depending on application

Today, cutting-off wheels 2.5 millimetres thick and more are mainly found in the DIY segment. Professionals use the thinner variants. Their advantages are obvious, especially when it comes to cutting expensive materials such as stainless steel. “Working with a thinner disc is far more precise and takes less effort. The material to be processed heats up less and there is far less loss, fewer burrs are formed and there are fewer sparks and vibrations,” explains Bodrin. However, even the sturdier models score in some areas: when cutting thicker materials of five millimetres or more, for example, thicker wheels are more stable and therefore safer for less experienced users or when working in positions where there is a risk of twisting. “Safety is an important factor with all cutting-off wheels – thick or thin – and we work according to the latest standards and requirements,” emphasises Anton Bodrin.
In the Klingspor Research & Development department, the latest technology is used in order to take all eventualities into account. Grinding robots with Force Control simulate different contact pressures, because these vary significantly from user to user. A thermal camera displays the respective average temperature development. But specialist dealers and industrial customers are also regular guests at the training centre in Haiger to try things out for themselves, to test and to compare. “This is the only way to optimise customer advice, because ultimately, every user decides for themselves what is most important for them when selecting the wheel thickness,” states Bodrin. Klingspor wants to simplify this decision for its customers in future, and has created a new product finder for this purpose. The customer is able to narrow down their choice, step by step, in order to quickly determine which tool best suits their work (see below).


Decision making tool: the Product Finder

1. What machine?

 Which angle grinder will the cutting-off wheel be used with? The greater the power of the machine, the higher the speed. The specifications of the tool is the first decision making criterion when asking which wheel should be used.

  • Angle grinder with a diameter of 100 to 150 millimetres and a power range of between 600 to 1,700 watts
  • Angle grinder with a diameter of 180 to 230 millimetres and a power range of more than 1,700 watts

2. What material?

Soft, hard or particularly sensitive to heat? Each material has different properties that have to be considered when selecting the appropriate thickness of cutting-off wheel. What is going to be cut?

  • Steel
  • Stainless steel
  • Aluminium or another non-ferrous metal
  • Cast iron

3. What workpiece profile?

 Pliable, thin sheet metals require a different approach to a solid profile or monobloc tube. Selecting the right thickness of cutting-off wheel also depends on the shape that is going to be cut.

  • Sheet metal
  • Tube, solid material
  • L, U or T profile

4. Safety requirements?

Information regarding working safely with the machine must also be taken into account, as should instructions be included with the cutting-off wheel.

  • Securing the material
  • Working height