By Frank Prenda, vice president, sales and marketing, Gemtex Abrasives
A Fine Balance
A Fine Balance
Choosing the correct abrasive helps users meet requirements efficiently

urface conditioning products are part of an ever-expanding category of nonwoven abrasives. The global nonwoven abrasives market hit $18.47 billion in sales during 2021 and is projected to increase at a compound annual growth rate of nearly 6.2 percent, reaching $24.99 billion by 2026. These products, in various shapes and sizes, are used to blend, deburr, grain and polish metals when specific surface finishes are required.

Due to the versatility of this category and requests from customers, Gemtex has added three new grades to expand its Brite-Prep surface finishing line. These grades help to reduce the need to use coated abrasive products, which could possibly scratch or damage metal surfaces. Extra Coarse, Extra Coarse High Density and Medium High Density have been added to provide longer life, a more aggressive cut and more rigidity within the surface conditioning category.

Gemtex also provides six mounting options: hook and loop no hole, hook and loop with center hole, type R roll-on and type S screw-on, Spinlock and Quicklock Spinner with ⅝ in.-11 underside mount to prevent scratches to the work surface.

Flaptec premium flap discs, left; NB-27 surface conditioning discs
Flaptec premium flap discs, left; NB-27 surface conditioning discs used at Krueger & Sons, above; Quicklock Spinner surface conditioning, top right; and Trim-Kut with ¼-in. mandrel, bottom right.
Meeting specs
The abrasives market also continues to be driven by the demand for flap discs and flap wheels that meet the needs of various quality and price levels based on end users’ requirements. Many factors, such as working environment, operator skill level, available tools, application and metal types, play a pivotal role in determining the proper disc to recommend for a particular project.

Some end users require the highest quality product available due to a pre-established finish or specification requirement. Conversely, other customers’ needs are satisfied with products that achieve the grinding objectives set forth, while meeting a determined price threshold. It is the job of the vendor to recognize the end user’s key requirements and to recommend products that meet their demands while offering multiple grade and mounting options with their flap disc line.

To meet these varied demands, Gemtex Abrasives has introduced a New Generation flap disc to address both ends of the quality and price spectrum. The new product line, manufactured in the company’s Toronto, Ontario, factory, comprises two brands designated by price and quality. The Flaptec line is manufactured with premium zirconia and ceramic cloth available in fiberglass or plastic trimmable backing. The line also includes a ceramic/zirconia alternating flap design, which provides a quality level that fits between our 100 percent zirconia and 100 percent ceramic flap disc.

Problemsolving partnership
Seattle-based Kruger & Sons Propeller has been manufacturing propellers since the 1940s for both commercial and individual applications. The company has the capability to build propellers up to 14 ft. in diameter using manganese bronze (NiBrAl) or stainless steel.

The company recently partnered with Gemtex to develop the NB-27 Prop Finishing Discs for use and resale in the international marine market. These discs are made from a high-performance nonwoven fiber web impregnated with grain on a heavy-duty, woven blue backing.

The NB-27 discs are available in a 7-in. by 7/8-in. hook and loop with center hole and 2-in. roll-on, type-R locking style. These discs are suited for sanding and finishing NiBrAl propellers, as well as removing rust, corrosion, oxides, paints and other marine coatings. The NB-27 finishes up to six times faster and lasts three times longer than conventional propeller finishing discs, according to studies conducted by the partners.

Man working with saw disks
The Gemflex line is a general-purpose zirconia offering that meets the needs of the price-conscious customer while providing high levels of productivity and various mounting options. Like Flaptec, the Gemflex line is available with fiberglass or plastic trimmable backing which includes a ⅝ in.-11 built-in thread. The trimmable plastic backing allows users to achieve longer disc life, which further enhances their cost savings.

Gemtex is the sole manufacturer of Trim-Kut, a line of deburring and finishing products. The patented Trim-Kut Disc is an abrasive disc with a plastic backing that can be trimmed to optimize disc life and adapt to diameter restrictions. The discs are available in 24 to 120 grits in all materials (aluminum oxide, zirconia, silicon carbide, ceramic and SMD for aluminum grinding) and in 3 in., 4 ½ in. and 5 in. diameters with multiple spindle and attachment options, depending on the desired tool. Trim-Kut is also available in Brite-Prep surface conditioning grades.

GemFLEX saw disk
In the abrasives industry, there is no such thing as one size fits all.
Sometimes less is more
In the world of finishing, aggressive metal removal may not be required to obtain a desired result. In other words, if a customer is dealing with paint, rust or scale removal, they do not want to penetrate the parent metal to remove the finish. They just want to remove the rust, paint and scale from the surface before they anodize, repaint or weld the metal. Gemtex addresses these types of applications with its Strip Away line.

Strip Away discs are made from a tough nonwoven synthetic fiber impregnated with abrasive grain. They are a safer alternative to wire brush tools. These discs provide fast removal action on paint, rust and mill scale with virtually no heat buildup. The open coat design quickly cleans surfaces without damage to the substrate. The line consists of four grades: General Purpose-Black, Ultra-Blue, Supreme-Purple and Premier-Orange (ceramic).

In the abrasives industry, there is no such thing as one size fits all. Manufacturers face the delicate balance of aiming to provide quality products that perform efficiently for the demands of market segment X while addressing a different set of requirements for market segment Y.

Gemtex Abrasives
Toronto, 800/387-5100,