Productivity Matters


How Contaminants in Abrasives Can Grind Production to a Halt

Apr 19, 2022

Getting Pure Performance is Critical to Results. Just Ask Praxair.

Abrasives for stainless steel grinding and cutting may be small in size compared to other manufacturing components. However, not only do they have a big impact on the weld itself, but if the wrong product is used, they can grind production to a halt. It sounds simple, but the truth is fabricators often overlook grinding and cutting abrasives. Choosing the right ones should be part of any mission critical process. And that starts with making sure the product is pre-approved and certified for the material at hand.

Case in point, recently a stainless steel pipe fabricator for the oil and gas industry located in Alberta, Canada, had issues with their stainless steel welds. The problem? The welds were cracking. As a result, the company had to re-weld the entire job, losing valuable production time, not to mention getting behind on the delivery deadline they had given to their client.
That’s when the experts at Praxair and United Abrasives stepped in.
Praxair, together with the people at United Abrasives, knew exactly what to do. Once at the client’s location, they began trouble-shooting and isolated the problem quickly. The client had been grinding carbon steel at one end of the facility and stainless steel on the other side of the plant with the same grinding wheel, which resulted in cross-contamination. Not only that, further investigation revealed another problem. Even if the client used their existing grinder wheel for stainless steel only, it would still have caused issues because it contained iron. Put simply, those abrasives had to go. To solve the problem and get production back up and running, Praxair supplied the client products from United Abrasives. The XA24Q grinding wheels, XA46R cut-off wheels and Ovation™ flap discs, part of United Abrasives “Contaminant Free” product line are made for stainless steel production and contain less than 0.1 percent of iron, chlorine and sulfur compounds.*

The Key is to Ensure You Always Have the Right Abrasives for the Job

Praxair How contaminants in abrasives grind production to a halt
It’s simple, but true. When it comes to abrasives, to do a great job, you need the right abrasives for the job at hand. Praxair provides high-quality products from United Abrasives specifically designed for stainless steel production. These exceptional abrasives help end users get the job done right, the first time, with less rework, which can help reduce production costs.

Get it in Writing

And what about those contaminants? United Abrasives products from Praxair come with a certificate that shows exactly what’s there, a service beyond what’s provided by some manufacturers who do not provide certification documents. “We provide high-quality products manufactured specifically for critical applications that involve stainless steel,” says Randy Davidson, Product Manager at Praxair. “This is extremely important for end users in the food, pharmaceutical and nuclear sectors as contamination can be detrimental to the customer’s process. The more we can reduce contaminants, the more productive the user’s process can be.” The moral of the story? The daily grind can be a lot more productive and profitable when you have the right abrasives.

Fabricators Face a Number of Challenges Working on Stainless Steel

  • CONTAMINATION - Preventing oxidation and corrosion of the stainless steel.
  • SURFACE FINISH CONSIDERATIONS - Consistently producing the same surface finishes for aesthetic reasons.
  • ANTIBACTERIAL FINISH - Ensuring the surface finish is refined enough to not allow bacteria to get into the valleys of the scratch pattern, causing contamination.
  • DISCOLORATION - Preventing any discoloration of the stainless steel due to elevated grinding temperatures.