Surface grinding is the most common type of grinding process. It is a fixture in heavy industry where various kinds of metal and non-metal objects need to be refined and smoothed for a finishing process. This is most often seen in the automotive industry. A surface grinding machine consists of a table, above which is held the abrasive wheel. A device called a chuck holds in place the item being worked on, referred to as a workpiece. Chucks can be magnetic, vacuum, or mechanical, depending on the workpiece composition.


There are three basic types of surface grinders: horizontal-spindle, vertical-spindle, single disc grinders and double-disc grinders. Each machine is best suited to certain items. The essential difference is in how the grinding wheel makes contact with the workpiece.


Horizontal-spindle grinders, also called peripheral grinders, work best for high-precision work, such as angled or tapered surfaces and slots or recessed surfaces. The flat edge of the wheel -the periphery- makes contact with the piece. Pins, pistons, connecting rods, and bearing races are examples of components ground using this type of machine.


Vertical-spindle grinders, or wheel-face grinders, are typically used for fast material removal. The face of the grinding wheel is lowered onto the workpiece below it. Vertical-spindle grinders work best for stators, wafers, rotors, gears, inner rings and inner plates, and stops and spacers.


Single-disc grinders and double-disc grinders appear as both horizontal-spindle and vertical-spindle styles. Disc grinders have a larger contact area between the grinding surface and the workpiece, and can grind both sides at once. Some rotors, plates, spacers, gears, and washers can be put into disc grinders.


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