A Guide On How to Effectively Store Abrasives

by May 11, 2021Blog0 comments

If you want your abrasives to perform at its best, then you have to store them well. When stored properly, these abrasives such as grinding wheels, cutting discs, and sanding belts, can work harder for a longer period of time. On the other hand, if you keep on ignoring these good storage practices, then the lifespan and performance of your abrasives could greatly be affected.

Ideally, there should be a storage area dedicated for storing abrasives. This area should include partition walls rather than a storage area that is made up of all walls that are part of the building. This way, the abrasives will not be directly exposed to sunlight or any other sources of heat, such as ducts and radiators. The storage area should also be air-conditioned so that you won’t have any problems with the temperature and humidity damaging the abrasives.

Unfortunately, not everyone is capable of making their own dedicated abrasive storage area. But there is no need to worry since you can still secure your abrasives without one. The most important thing is that you store your abrasives off the ground and in areas where there is constant, moderate temperature.

If you have a lot of coated abrasives to store, then you might consider having storage with a humidity-controlled environment. This can help in maintaining the quality of your abrasives so that you can use them for a longer period of time.

What is the Proper Temperature and Humidity for Abrasives?

It is recommended that the storage temperature should range between 60°F to 80°F. Ideally, it should have a relative humidity of 45%. When it comes to abrasive storage, problems usually occur when the relative humidity changes. For instance, the humidity temperature drops by 15% at the start of the heating season, then it suddenly increases to 80% during the long periods of rainy seasons.

These stored abrasives do not have sufficient time in adjusting to these changes. Once there is an increase in the relative humidity, then moisture will start to develop on the bonding and backing of your abrasives. When these changes occur, it can result in shape distortion on the backing, which is usually made of fiber, cloth, or paper. The changes on the backing will occur immediately, rather than changes on its bonding material. A high relative humidity can result in a concave curl. On the other hand, a low relative humidity can lead to convex curling.

With high humidity, the backing will soften, resulting in creasing, loading and grit loss, specifically if the bonding material is glue. Also, when the frictional heat increases during use, it can further soften its bonding.

What is the Proper Temperature and Humidity for Abrasives?
On the other hand, low humidity can likely make the product less flexible, particularly if “A” weight paper is used for its coating. Similarly, it can also have a great effect if waterproof paper is used. As the backing dries out it will shrink, narrow belts will certainly curl up.

When it comes to resin-bonded abrasives, the productivity and output rate can likely decrease up to 25%, while for glue-bonded abrasives, the decrease will be between 50% and 100%. Although curling up is an indication of damage, it is important to consider that sometimes it is natural for the belts to curl because of the nature of the material. Thin belts which have high grit will likely curl up even if there is no damage. Hence, it is still safe to use a curled-up belt.

In case you are having a hard time in maintaining its temperature and humidity conditions, then ensure that all coated abrasives are not stored on concrete floors and keep them far from hot air ducts, heaters as well as from any sources of dampness.

Generally, the durability of abrasives will be based on their moisture content. Once the abrasives are exposed to high levels of moisture after usage, then there is a tendency that it will not last longer than expected. It may even pose a safety risk once they break. On the other hand, if you were able to store them properly, then they can last you years.

How to Effectively Store Sanding Belts

At least 24 hours prior to its usage, abrasive belts, particularly the wide ones, should be removed from its packaging. Simply hang them on a rack close to the machine you will be using them on. This can allow the belts some time to adjust to the humidity and temperature of the workspace. The racks should consist of non-metallic hangers and should have at least 4” in diameter. It should be leveled with the ground and placed 4” away from the wall.
How to Effectively Store Sanding Belts
Make sure that the racks are structured properly so that when the belts are hung, it has a distance of at least one foot away from the floor. Also, belts should not touch each other. Avoid storing your belts on concrete floors or close to damp areas.
If you fail to store your sanding belts properly, then this can affect the safety of your belt. Humidity can reduce the strength of the belt joint, causing it to snap when in use. Once the belt snaps, it could hit your face or arms.

How to Store Grinding Wheels and Sanding Discs

It is recommended that abrasives, such as grinding wheels, should be stored in boxes, drawers, bins, and racks far from any environmental risks such as freezing temperatures, dampness, and any conditions that can result in condensation on the wheels. Larger wheels should be kept in racks with padded cradle support to prevent them from rolling, while smaller wheels can be stored in drawers or boxes together with other components such as cones, plugs, and mounted points.

Also, when storing grinding wheels, be sure that they are arranged in such a way that they can be used on a rotational basis. This can help in preventing any damage due to lengthy storage. When storing vitrified grinding wheels, be sure to put them down flat. Store abrasive discs on a solid, flat surface. Coated abrasives should not be stored on concrete floors or damp areas. The best thing to do is to place them on its original packaging until you need them.

Straight cup wheels, as well as hard grade cylinders should be kept on their edges. Soft grade cylinders should be kept base-to-base and rim-to-rim to avoid cracks on the walls and keep the edges from chipping. When discs and wheels are kept in mobile storage such as trucks, boats, and barges, then you should be extra careful to make sure that they are not affected by environmental conditions.

Is There a Shelf Life for Abrasives?

The shelf life of abrasives will depend on its type. For vitrified bonded grinding wheels, they have an infinite shelf life. But there is an increased possibility that a wheel could accidentally get damaged while in storage. On the other hand, belts, coated abrasive discs, and organic bonded grinding wheels have a shelf life that you need to take note of.

Coated abrasive products will remain efficient and useful for quite some time, but the best abrasives will always be fresh abrasives. These coated abrasive products may consist of organic material that can get damaged over time. This is why it is recommended that coated abrasive products are used within two to three years from the time that it was produced.

With the right conditions, coated abrasive products could likely last for more than three years starting from the date it was produced. However, caution should be observed when using older abrasives. It is not safe to use older coated abrasives, especially sanding belts.

This is because the joint on a sanding belt will likely break down as it gets older. Once the joint snaps, it will likely hit your face or arms. To keep you safe at all times, it is best that you should wear protective gear for your eyes and face every time you use a sanding belt. Wear face shields when grinding or sharpening with a belt.

If you want your abrasives to remain strong and effective, then it is essential to properly store them. You can find a variety of abrasives at Sparks and Arcs. For more information, you can call us at 877-95SPARKS (957-7275) or send us an email at [email protected].