Proper Grinding Wheel Storage

Roger E. Cloutier, Senior Product Safety Engineer

Saint-Gobain Abrasives, Inc.

Grinding wheels improperly stored can become damaged. Once damaged, grinding wheels can break. Some of these wheel breakages can lead to personal injury and in extreme cases, death. Good abrasive wheel safety programs must include grinding wheel storage training, proper storage facilities, and the awareness and desire to provide a safe environment for both abrasive wheels and people. Operators, tool-room attendants, supervisors, and anyone involved in the handling of grinding wheels must not only know proper grinding wheel storage procedures, but must follow these important rules!

According to ANSI B7.1-2000, Section 2.3 the requirements for proper grinding wheel storage are:

2.3 Storage

  • Suitable racks, bins, drawers or boxes shall be provided to store the various types of wheels used. (See Figure 1)

  • Exception: Pallets should only be stacked in accordance with wheel manufacturers’ recommendation. Wheels shall not be stored subject to:

 

(a) Exposure to water or other solvents.
(b) Any temperature or humidity condition that causes condensation on the wheels.
(c) Freezing temperatures.

 
  • Special care should be taken to prevent problems with wheel support and environmental conditions for wheels stored in mobile storage areas, such as:

 

(a) Rescue Squad trucks
(b) Field contractors
(c) Barges and boats

 

Abrasive wheel storage racks should be designed, constructed and located to fit the needs of the user. The following factors should be considered:

Location

All abrasive wheels should be stored  in a dry area in rooms not subject to extreme temperature changes since some bonds may be affected by excessive humidity, dampness and extreme temperature differentials. Racks should be located as near as practical to the grinding location, but never where there is danger of damage from passing trucks, crane handling or excessive vibration.

Storage Methods

The racks, bins or drawers should be constructed so that each of the various types of wheels can be stored in an orderly and safe manner. Wheel selection should be possible with a minimum of handling. The selection of racks, bins, boxes, or drawers for storage depends on the size and type of wheels. The following suggestions should be considered.​  

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  • Thin organic bonded wheels, such as those used for cutting off, should be laid flat on a flat surface of steel or similarly rigid material away from excessive heat, moisture and other liquids to prevent warpage. Loose blotters should not be placed between stacked thin wheels. If thin wheels are supplied with blotters attached, suitable separators should be used to preserve flatness

  • Large diameter wheels (Types 1, 5, 7, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, and 26) of appreciable thickness are best supported in racks. The racks should provide cushioned two-point cradle support to prevent the wheels from rolling. Partitions are helpful in facilitating wheel selection with a minimum of handling.

  • Flaring cup wheels (Type 11) are best stored as illustrated in Figure 1 to prevent chipping of edges.

  • Small wheels (approximately 4 inches or less in diameter), except flaring cup wheels (Type 11), are often stored in boxes, bins, or drawers.

 

Abrasive wheels must be protected while awaiting use. Wheel storage should be arranged to allow for removal of wheels without disturbing or damaging other wheels. Storage and records should also be set up to allow for wheel use on a rotational basis so that wheels will be in storage a minimum length of time. This minimizes the possibility of damage from lengthy storage. Such suitable storage should be available for partly used wheels as well as new wheels.

 

  • Blotters supplied loose should be stored flat.

  • Copies of all safety folders and notices should be prominently displayed in the storage area, and be made available to the machine operator.

 
In addition to the aforementioned ANSI storage requirements, storage of abrasive wheels after they have been mounted on portable machines must also be considered. Abrasive wheels must be removed from the portable grinder during overnight storage and while moving the machine and wheel from one worksite location to another.

During the normal work-shift, care must also be used during short term storage, such as placing the machine down to do other tasks (i.e. welding, etc.) A wheel/machine storage rack or other means of protecting the wheel/machine must be employed. NEVER allow the wheel/machine to drop onto the floor or toss it. Impacts from such abuses can damage the wheel which may result in a wheel breakage. Never leave the wheel/machine anyplace where the wheel or machine may become damaged. You may return to find a potentially dangerous surprise when you restart the machine.

Proper grinding wheel storage is of the utmost importance and many wheel breakages can be traced back to improper wheel storage. Remember, the life you save may be your own as well as coworkers!!!! Click here to read about grinding wheel shelf life or here for more about handling and storage.

 

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 abrasive wheel and machine manufacturer. You may also contact the Saint-Gobain Product Safety Department at Tel. (508) 795-2317 or Fax. (508) 795-5120 or contact your Saint-Gobain Abrasives, Inc. representative with any safety related questions.