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Reporting on AdvancesGrowth of the abrasives industry has come in part from advances in the material science of ceramics. Such advances have yielded new ceramic abrasives, microcrystalline alumina made with sol gel or similar processes. New ceramic formulations are the basis for vitrified bonds that give strength and shape to wheels used in advanced machining with superabrasive grains (diamond and CBN), and new ceramics account for new highly porous structures that offer increased levels of productivity with traditional alumina grinding wheels in creep feed grinding.
An equally important link between abrasives and the ceramic industry is machining of ceramic components. As the only effective way to shape and finish ceramic components, abrasives offer a doorway to mass production of ceramic components in products for the automotive, aircraft and bearing industries. AES plays an important role by reporting advancements like Norton Co.’s recently patented grinding system that was developed at the company’s Higgins Grinding Technology Center (see the article on pp. 25-28 in this issue). In another example, AES regularly reports on programs at the University of Toledo and work on ELID (electrolytic in-process dressing), an important new wheel dressing technique for finishing ceramics.
An Information ResourceAs an information resource, AES serves as a bridge among many diverse groups and organizations that make products, conduct research, and produce technical information on the use of abrasives. AES collects and disperses information from more than 25 trade and profession associations, including the Grinding Wheel Institute, the Coated Abrasives Manufacturers Institute, the Industrial Diamond Association, the American Society of Precision Engineering, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the American Ceramic Society.
Historically AES has conducted training sessions on grinding technology through a network of regional chapters, but it now serves to direct inquiries to focused programs offered by private consultants, other organizations or abrasives manufacturers. Such programs include textbooks and classes on grinding basics offered the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, superabrasive certification from the Industrial Diamond Association, and Principles of Centerless Grinding seminars conducted by TechSolve (previously the Institute of Advanced Manufacturing Sciences). Over its four decades of work, AES has also worked independently and cooperatively with other national associations to organize conferences and seminars across the U.S.
The society communicates to it members through its website (www.nauticom.
net/www/grind) and Abrasive User’s News Fax newsletter. The website includes descriptions of publications from the society and other organizations, links to related websites and a directory of the abrasives industry. The biweekly newsletter carries industry news, meeting and publication announcements, and technical notes in one page sent via fax or e-mail.
AES also operates a bookstore of textbooks, proceedings, booklets and technical standards—many relating to the machining of ceramics. One such example is The Handbook of Ceramic Grinding and Polishing, edited by Dr. I. Marinescu. It covers a number of important aspects of machining ceramics, beginning with materials science and relating details of specific applications such as honing, lapping or applications of ELID.
Machining of Ceramics, edited by S. Jahanmir, is a publication reporting the continued work at the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST). The book is part of NIST’s leadership in developing machining technology that began in 1990 with a meeting to assess industry capabilities and continued with creating a consortium of universities, research firms and industry partners. And CMP by John Stiegerwald is a textbook containing background and developments in chemical mechanical planarization, a method essential to the manufacture of semiconductors.