Flanges: A Critical Link in Grinding Wheel Safety

safety_header_v2croppedThe Product Safety Department
Saint-Gobain Abrasives, Inc.

Would you feel safe driving a car at 100 miles per hour, knowing that the wheels were damaged or not fully secured?

In reality, the wheels on a car are similar to the flanges on a grinder because they both transmit rotation from a shaft to another component. On a car, the wheels link the drive axles to the tires, while on a grinder, the flanges link the arbor to the grinding wheel.

Bearing in mind this similarity, and considering that many grinding wheels operate at or above 100 miles per hour (8,800 sfpm), the question becomes:

Would you feel safe operating a grinding wheel knowing that the flanges were damaged or not fully secured?


Improper flanging causes additional stresses to the abrasive wheel, and is a common cause of wheel breakage; therefore, it is critical that the design and condition of flanges meet the requirements of Section 5 of ANSI B7.1-2000. The ANSI standard provides safety specifications in the areas of:

Flange Design

Flanges must conform to the proper dimensions, material, and flange type for various grinding applications. The majority of grinding wheels require flanges with recesses, while some specific types do not. Flanges in a set must always be uniform in diameter. Certain grinding wheel flanges require undercuts near the arbor sleeve. Although these design features may seem small and trivial, they exist for very specific safety reasons.

Flange Condition

Flanges must be maintained in good condition with respect to flatness (in both mounted and unmounted states), finish, balance, wear, and truth. Over-tightening2 flanges can cause warping or other damage. The use of new blotters every time a wheel is mounted is an important safety measure that will also protect your flanges from abrasion.


An unsecured or improperly flanged grinding wheel can break and cause serious injury. Careful design and periodic inspection of grinding wheel mounting flanges are critical elements to a safe operation.

Be proactive in your approach to safety. Review Section 5 of ANSI B7.1-2000 to ensure that your flanges are properly designed for your application(s). Establish a regular inspection routine for your flanges, spindles, and other mounting equipment.


Click here for more information about grinding wheel safety and here for wheel guards and face shields.


For additional information on this topic or if you need any other abrasive safety information, please review ANSI, OSHA and all literature provided by the coated abrasive and machine manufacturer. You may contact the Saint-Gobain Product Safety Department at (508) 795-2317, Fax (508) 795-5120 or contact your Saint-Gobain Abrasives representative with any safety related questions.