What Difference Does Flexibility Make to Coated Abrasives?
Our Friday Training this week: What difference does flexibility make to my sanding belt?
In simple terms: A stiff and heavy duty backing means that the abrasive grit is held in place more firmly. Which means that the abrasive will press harder in to the workpiece and therefore cut more quickly. Whereas a light, flexible backing will allow the abrasive grit to move around more which will in turn reduce the grinding pressure and increasing the conformability with the workpiece.
Which belts should I use for aggressive grinding?
Most abrasive belt materials have a coding on the back which denotes the weight of the abrasive backing. For an aggressive grinding operation choose a heavier Y-weight (Y) or X-weight abrasive cloth.
- For example, our FX87 ceramic cloth has a strong X-weight backing. FX87 is also made with polyester in the backing which will increase the stiffness and aggression of the belt even more.
And if I need high aggression and flexibility?
The real world is always one of compromise. Sanding a contoured surface you will need to select a more flexible belt. Sadly this will come at the expense of aggression but it will allow for more consistent sanding. In this type of scenario products such as our FF87 belt materials are excellent. The ‘F’ denotes the flexible backing and as it can be supplied with a 60 grit abrasive grain it can give a high cut rate.
Note: Increasing the flexibility will reduce the speed of cut.
How can flexibility be varied?
Premium quality coated abrasives are highly technical materials. By applying a range of processes to the material before a belt is made the flexibility characteristics can be changed. For example. In the picture below.
- Pic 1 – FX87 belt material has reasonable flexibility along the length of the abrasive, this allows stiffer grinding belts to be made easily but FX87 does not twist very well. FX87 uses a full polyester X-weight cloth with full resin bonding & grinding aids
- Pic 2 – JF4top belt material is flexible in many directions which is ideal for many metal polishing applications. JF4top uses a lighter poly-cotton backing and has been flexed multiple times in the manufacturing process so it is very conformable.
- Pic 3 – Is a super flexible product called MX, Micro Mesh belt material. Made with a super flexible soft cotton and bonded with a latex glue micro mesh belts are so flexible they will scrunch up into a ball and still recover their shape.
So how do I choose my ideal abrasive belt?
That is why we do Friday Training at AFS!! Give us a ring any time to discuss the right product for your application and our trained sales team will be able to help you get it right, first time, every time.