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Understanding Abrasive Wheels and its Marking System

The abrasive wheel is a standard tool in many workshops and industrial factories worldwide.
Abrasive wheels are a type of cutting tool composed of abrasive grains bonded together with resin
or other materials. Used for various tasks, from cutting and grinding to polishing and sharpening.
However, they can be dangerous if used without safety precautions and care. This raises the need to
understand the marking systems for abrasive wheels. In this article, we will guide you on what
abrasive wheels are, their marking system for abrasive wheels, and how they can help you select the
correct wheel for your task.

What is an abrasive wheel?

Before diving into the marking system for abrasive wheels, let’s first understand what is an abrasive wheel. An abrasive wheel is a type of cutting tool made up of abrasive grains, such as silicon carbide or aluminium oxide, bonded with a resin or other material. Abrasive wheels are disposable tools that can be manufactured accordingly, mostly used for cutting and grinding hard materials and for sanding, polishing, and deburring purposes.

Abrasive wheels come in many different shapes and sizes. The type of abrasive wheel you choose will depend on the task you need to complete. For example, some abrasive wheels can be designed for cutting metal, while others could be for grinding concrete or polishing surfaces.

When choosing a grinding wheel, it is important to consider the type of material you will be working
with, the shape and size of the material, and the specific task you will be performing. Choosing the
right grinding wheel for your work task can help ensure you get the best results and avoid damage to
your equipment or materials.

Below are some of the most standard types of grinding wheels:

– Straight wheels
– Cylinder wheels
– Tapered wheels
– Straight cup wheels
– Dish wheels
– Saucer wheels

Various types of abrasive grinding wheels have distinctive characteristics, which include:

– Size of the grit
– Type of binding surface
– Abrasive materials used
– Grade of the wheel
– Shaping of the grinding wheel

The structure determines the grade of abrasive materials, grain spacing, and volume of abrasive
materials. Softer-grit abrasive wheels are usually used for sanding, polishing, grinding, or cutting
hard or soft materials.

Abrasive wheel markings

The marking system for abrasive wheels is a set of symbols and numbers that helps identify the
wheel type, its size, and other important information. The marking system is labelled on the wheel’s
side, providing important information to help you select the correct wheel for your task.

Abrasive wheels are labelled according to their:

– Type
– Size
– Specification
– Maximum operating speed
– Restrictions for use
– Other

An abrasive tool must conform to the British standard (BS EN 12413 and BS ISO 525) for abrasive
wheel marking. The grinding wheel codes for abrasive wheels typically include four parts:

Manufacturer’s symbol: This is the manufacturer’s logo or symbol.

 Type of abrasive: This letter identifies the type of abrasive used in the wheel. For example,
"A" indicates aluminium oxide, while "C" indicates silicon carbide.
 The grain size: A number that indicates the size of the abrasive particles in the wheel. The
larger the number, the smaller the grains.
 Structure: A letter that indicates the structure or density of the wheel.

How to read grinding wheel specifications

Each grinding wheel has its own unique number mentioned on them, which states the purpose of
those grinding wheels. You must be capable of understanding these numbers if you use grinding
wheels as a part of your job. You can take help from the below-mentioned points to understand how
to read grinding wheel specifications.

The type – To know what type of abrasive wheel you are using, it is marked as an ISO. For example,
ISO type 52 is a spindle-mounted abrasive wheel.
The size – The size of an abrasive wheel is written as dimensions in mm. For example, AAA x B x
CC.Cmm, in which the alphabets represent certain numbers. With A being the wheel’s diameter, B is
the thickness, and C being the hole size.
The specification – It is marked as a series of numbers and letters. For example, AA 60 B 7 C. With A,
B, and C representing the abrasive material used, the grit size, the structure, the grade, and the bond
Maximum operating speed – The operating speed is labelled on every large abrasive grinding wheel
in two particular ways:
– Peripheral surface speed, written in meters per second. Such as 80m/s.
– Rotational speed, provided in revolutions per minute. Such as 8500rpm.
High-speed abrasive wheels are marked distinctively by different colours, representing different
peripheral surface speeds.
1) Blue – 50m/s
2) Yellow – 60m/s
3) Red – 80m/s
4) Green – 100m/s
5) Yellow – 125m/s


Importance of choosing the correct type of abrasive wheel for your work

In industry, selecting the correct type of grinding wheel for cutting, grinding, and polishing purposes
is important. We cannot overstate the importance of selecting the correct type of abrasive wheel for
your task, as it saves you from many disastrous consequences. Using the wrong type of abrasive
wheel for your work can lead to consequences like accidents, equipment damage, and poor output.
Below are some of the reasons why choosing the correct type of abrasive wheel is important:

Ensuring safety

Safety is one of the primary reasons for selecting the right abrasive. Different working operations
require specific wheel characteristics to ensure a smooth and safe operation. Using an incompatible
wheel can result in wheel breakage, which can cause serious injuries due to flying debris or the
wheel disintegrating during operation. By choosing the right abrasive grinding wheel, you can ensure
that it can handle the task’s demands without compromising safety.

Achieving optimal performances

Selecting the correct abrasive grinding wheel is essential for achieving optimal performance.
Different materials have varying hardness levels and characteristics, and using an incorrect wheel
can result in inefficient grinding, excessive wear, and poor-quality finishes. Choosing a wheel with
the appropriate abrasive type, grit size, and bonding agent ensures it can effectively cut or grind the

Expanding the lifespan of the wheel

Using the correct type of abrasive grinding wheel not only improves performance but also extends
the lifespan of the wheel itself. Each wheel is designed to withstand specific grinding conditions and
material properties. Using the wrong wheel can cause premature wear, excessive heat generation,
and decreased overall durability. By selecting the correct wheel, you can avoid unnecessary wear
and tear, ensuring that the wheel lasts longer and delivers consistent performance throughout its


In conclusion, understanding abrasive wheels and their marking system is crucial for anyone working
with these essential tools. By decoding the markings on abrasive wheels, you can determine the
right wheel for your specific task, ensuring safety, optimal performance, and longevity. The marking
system provides valuable information about the abrasive type, grain size, grade, structure, and bond
type, guiding you towards the correct choice. Additionally, proper maintenance and inspection of
abrasive wheels are essential to prevent accidents and ensure their effectiveness. By familiarizing
yourself with the marking system and following recommended storage and handling procedures,
you can enhance workplace safety and maximize the lifespan of abrasive wheels. Remember,
knowledge is power when selecting and maintaining abrasive wheels, so equip yourself with the
necessary understanding to make informed choices and achieve exceptional results in your work.

As a writer, one of my primary objectives is to inform, explain, educate, and motivate readers to take action. Feel free to share your ideas or topics.

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