Proper Handling and Storage of Grinding Wheels

Play it Safe at the Wheel - 100 Years of Abrasives Safety Leadership




All grinding wheels should be handled with care. Grinding wheels are fragile and easily chipped, cracked, or broken. Remember, there is no such thing as an “unbreakable” grinding wheel.


Proper handling begins when the shipment is received. Check all shipments of grinding wheels for possible damage in transit and report any damaged containers or pallets. Refuse any shipment that has been damaged in transit. The carrier is responsible for delivering the container or pallet in good condition.


Carefully inspect the wheels in a shipment as they are unpacked. Discard any wheels that show signs of damage. Ring test each wheel (primarily applicable to vitrified products) 4 inches and larger before mounting. Run wheels in a protected area, with the machine guard in place, for at least one minute before grinding to check for non-visible damage.


ANSI B7.1 provides the following rules for handling grinding wheels.


2.2 Handling


All abrasive wheels are breakable; therefore, care shall be exercised in handling and storage to prevent damage. The following rules, which are based on experience, shall be observed.


  • (a) Handle wheels carefully to prevent dropping or bumping. If a grinding wheel is dropped or suspected of being damaged, it shall not be mounted.


  • (b) Do not roll wheels (hoop fashion).


  • (c) Use trucks or other suitable conveyances which provide support and protection in transporting all wheels which cannot be carried by hand.


  • (d) Place wheels carefully on a shelf or rack or in bins, boxes, or drawers.


  • (e) Wheels shipped on pallets may remain stored on pallets until ready to be mounted on machines.


  • (f) Never use a product that has been dropped or damaged during handling.


  • (g) Pay special attention to avoid damage to the arbor hole.


  • (h) Take additional care when handling and transporting wheels already mounted between flanges.




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.


According to ANSI B7.1, the requirements for proper grinding wheel storage are as follows.


2.3 Storage


Suitable racks, bins, drawers, or boxes shall be provided to store the various types of wheels used. Use a first-in-first-out for all products. For super abrasives, use the original packaging to protect the product during storage. (See Figure 1)


Exception: Pallets should only be stacked in accordance with wheel manufacturers’ recommendations. Abrasive 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.


A well-designed abrasive wheel storage area used by a large industrial plant


Additionally, 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 user’s needs. The following factors should be considered.




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 a 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 choice of racks, bins, boxes, or drawers for storage depends on the size and type of wheels. The following suggestions should be considered.


  • Thin organic bonded wheels, such as those used for cutting off, should be laid flat on a flat steel surface 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 help facilitate 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.


  • Blotters supplied loose should be stored flat.


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


Abrasive wheels must be protected while awaiting use. Wheel storage should be arranged to allow for the 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 for a minimum length of time. This minimizes the possibility of damage from lengthy storage. Such suitable storage should be available for partly used and new wheels.


In addition to the aforementioned ANSI storage requirements, abrasive wheel storage after being 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.


Care must also be used during the regular work shift 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 wheel breakage. Never leave the wheel/machine anyplace where the wheel or machine may become damaged. When you restart the machine, you may return to find a potentially dangerous situation.



Proper grinding wheel handling and storage is of the utmost importance, and many wheel breakages can be traced back to improper handling and wheel storage. Remember, the life you save may be your own and your coworkers!


For additional information on this topic or if you need any other abrasive safety information, please review the Norton Product Safety page, ANSI, OSHA, and all literature provided by the abrasive wheel 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, Inc. representative with any safety related questions.