Grinding, deburring and polishing applications require high-performing, reliable power tools designed with operator safety and comfort in mind. Key considerations when choosing die grinders include tool RPM, versatility, ergonomics and accessories.
According to Randy McDonald, national product manager with FEIN Canadian Power Tool Co., in Mississauga, Ont., one of the most important attributes of die grinders is a flexible RPM range, as it allows the tool to be used for a wider range of applications.
“FEIN’s GSZ 11-320 PERL, for example, is extremely versatile because it goes from 9,500 RPM up to 32,500. So depending on the maximum RPM and the diameter, you can use some surface conditioning products on the tool; then turn the speed up to use carbide burrs and mounted points.”
The GSZ line also feature FEIN’s ErgoGrip for increased operator comfort over their shift, McDonald adds. “It’s fatigue-free working. You always have a good hold of the tool and it’s always secure in your hand. It’s extremely comfortable.”
Users of the GSZ tools often comment on how smooth running they are, in terms of minimal vibration, he adds. “They’ve got the lowest vibration ratings on the market.”
Versatility is also important for applications in tight spaces. FEIN’s GSZ 8-280 PL offers an RPM range from 8,500 up to 28,000 and its barrel-body design allows the tool to get into smaller areas. “It has a 750 watt motor so it’s extremely powerful and it’s very versatile because of the RPM range,” McDonald notes.
Accessories and safety
Part of McDonald’s focus out in the industry is training and safety. Not only is it important to select the right die grinder for the application, it’s equally vital to use the proper abrasive or wheel. All too often, new employees might be at risk of mismatching the accessory to the tool.
“Typically, surface finishing abrasives for stainless steel all run at much lower RPMs than a carbide burr or a small snagging wheel or mounded point, for example,” says McDonald. “Those run at much higher RPMs. If you were to take a surface conditioning wheel such as a fleece type of wheel and put it on a tool that’s running at 28,000 RPM, it could blow up.”
Not only do mismatched accessories pose safety hazards, they also impact product finish and quality—giving rise to defects.
“If they run a surface conditioning abrasive at too high an RPM while working on stainless steel they can cause discoloring; you’re literally burning the stainless steel. If you’re working on very thin stainless steel sheet metal and you overheat it, the material can warp from the heat and excess pressure. Once you warp the material it’s almost impossible to get it straight again.”
McDonald advises power tool users and employers to check the RPM recommendation on the packaging. Smaller accessories might not have the RPM range stated on the product itself but larger accessories usually do, he says.
Often, it’s a case of tool users not paying attention when they select the abrasive; or they haven’t been properly trained. “You should never ever exceed the maximum RPM of any type of abrasive on any type of a tool.”
With proper training and reminders to check the specs on the tool and accessories, manufacturers can get the most out of their die grinders—producing top quality parts, while ensuring workers are safe and productive.
FEIN has been a world-leading power tool manufacturer for over 140 years. FEIN Canadian Power Tool Company, located in Mississauga, Ont., provides a range of high-quality power tools and accessories. Visit www.fein.ca for more information.
To view other articles on industrial power tool selection, safety and care, see the Technology Showcase.