Meister Abrasives USA expands its large-diameter wheel manufacturing capabilities with processes, materials, and equipment mirroring those used by Meister Abrasives in Switzerland.
Meister Abrasives USA has taken delivery of an advanced CNC manufacturing system capable of producing large vit CBN and diamond abrasive wheels up to 1,225 mm (approximately 4 ft.) in diameter. The huge highly-automated system, which weighs more than 10 tons, makes it possible for Meister Abrasives USA to manufacture large diameter external wheels in the United States using equipment, materials and a manufacturing process identical to those used by the parent corporation in Switzerland.
Bruce Northrup, Vice President and General Manager of Meister Abrasives USA said, “Our new CNC Manufacturing System is currently being installed and commissioned and we anticipate being in full production with it by the end of the year. By making these products at our facility in North Kingstown, RI, we will be able to reduce lead times for external grinding wheels larger than 500 mm in diameter by up to 40%. Customers will be able to count on getting large external grinding wheels in 6 to 8 weeks rather than 9 to 10 weeks.”
Northrup said that Meister Abrasives USA was originally established in 1988 to fulfill a substantial order for large diameter CBN wheels from a defense manufacturer. That program was short-lived but it gave Meister Abrasives USA an opportunity to introduce customers to high-quality and innovative abrasive wheel technologies that are helping manufacturers to improve performance and reduce costs in a wide variety of high-precision grinding applications.
Today, large-diameter external grinding wheels represent about 20% of Meister Abrasives USA’s total sales. Northrup believes that percentage will grow as short lead times now make it reasonable for manufacturers to consider Meister’s advanced big wheel abrasive technologies for such applications as fuel injector needles, Cam & Crank, and OD grinding of transmission components.
Large pellet wheels for lapping and fine-grinding are another area where customers may be enticed to resurface large wheel bases, weighing several thousand pounds, with quality Meister Abrasives pellets. In the past shipping these bases to Switzerland was prohibitive from both a cost and a lead-time perspective.
Northrup said that with this installation in place, Meister Abrasives will be able to manufacture its entire line of superabrasive wheels (with the exception of a few specialty products) from virtually identical manufacturing operations in the Unites States and Europe. This will allow the company to balance its production scheduling to better serve customers throughout the world.