Bonded abrasives are natural abrasives which are fused to form a solid in the shape of a wheel. They are usually a combination of abrasive grains, bonding material, and fillers. Examples of Bonded abrasives are flat reinforced cutting-off wheel, depressed center reinforced cutting off wheel, depressed center reinforced grinding wheel, coolie hat for grinding, flat reinforced for grinding wheel, flat unreinforced grinding wheel, rubber bond mounted points, vitrified bond mounted points, resinoid grinding cups, and resinoid bond mounted points. The bonding material could be resin, rubber, shellac, epoxy, or magnesite. An important raw material used in the production of rubber-bonded abrasives is an abrasive grain such as aluminum oxide, zirconia, and silicon carbide. Rubber-bonded abrasives are available in two types: natural and synthetic. They can be used via two different technologies: grinding and polishing wheels.
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Aluminum oxide is a major abrasive used in the manufacture of grinding wheels, obtained by refining bauxite ores in an electric furnace. First, the bauxite is heated to remove moisture and then mix it with coke and iron borings to form the furnace charge. Next, the mixture is cooled and fused which results in a rock-like mass crushed into different sizes. Iron oxide, titanium oxide, and silica are the impurities which determine the color and toughness of the abrasives. Zirconia aluminum oxide or specialized alumina is a fused mixture of zirconium oxide and aluminum oxide used for high production snagging or foul hooking. For high stock removal snagging, sintered alumina is used, which is extremely tough. Silicon carbide is produced by fusing a mixture of white sand and petroleum coke in an electric furnace. The crystalline mass formed is crushed and graded. Silicon carbide is also a major abrasive employed in the manufacture of grinding wheels. Silicon carbide abrasives are harder than aluminum oxide abrasives and can be easily crumbled.
Rubber-bonded abrasives can be segmented on the basis of application into the following categories: heavy industries, transportation components, electrical & electronic equipment, medical equipment, aerospace, household, and printing. These abrasives can also be employed for cutting and grinding tools such as plumbing tools and screwdrivers. They exhibit various advantages over other abrasives as they are softer and can be extensively used in grinding, off-hand tool grinding, fabrication, and floor polishing applications. Rubber-bonded abrasives do not destroy the quality of the metal. Due to the increasing demand from the metal, steel, and heavy industries, this market is expected to develop during the forecast period. Rising demand from various industries and the flexible properties of rubber-bonded abrasives are the propellants of this market. A major restraining factor is that rubber-bonded abrasives are heavier than other bonded abrasives which leads to machine constraints, causing environmental pollution.
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On the basis of region, Asia Pacific is leading the market due to the high demand for rubber-bonded abrasives in countries such as China, Japan, India, and South Korea. China is the dominant country, followed by India, Japan, and South Korea. North America and Europe are also displaying steady growth. The rest of the world is also anticipated to witness positive growth due to the product’s application in various industries.
Key players operating in the rubber-bonded abrasive market are Tyrolit Group, PFERD INC, Saint Gobain, 3M Company, and Buffalo Abrasives Inc.