Safety First: The Dangers of Cut-Rate Abrasives

Posted on May 1, 2018

When it comes to abrasives, the old saying rings true: you get what you pay for.

While choosing cut-rate grinding wheels may seem like a smart, money-saving decision, you should ask yourself: how are these manufacturers able to offer a lower price? 

What’s Inside?

Typically, a lower sticker price means the wheel was made using some filler materials. When manufacturers use filler instead of high quality grains and fiberglass reinforcement, it often leads to some glaring problems, like your wheel suddenly giving out halfway through a job. If your wheel can’t hold up, you’ll likely encounter one or more of the following:   

  • The need to purchase more wheels to complete the same job
  • Increased costs due to frequent replacement purchases
  • Possible injury

Clearly, the risks of relying on wheels using filler far outweigh the small initial cost-savings.    

Where Was it Made?

Before you purchase any grinding wheel, be sure to take a look at where it was manufactured. Why does this matter? Many companies that manufacture their abrasives outside of the U.S. adhere to subpar standards when it comes to quality control, supervision and testing. In other words, there’s less oversight to ensure quality, durability and consistency.

Take a look at where a wheel was made and see if you can find some information on the testing process that’s used by the company.

What are the Safety Risks?  

The worst case scenario with using a cheaper wheel is that the wheel explodes and causes injuries. Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon event with these products. (Google “grinding wheel explosion fatality” and you’ll see there are no shortage of results.)   

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), injuries suffered on the job cost businesses in the US an estimated $1 billion per week for direct workers’ compensation. On top of this are the indirect costs workplace injuries can cause.

Some examples of these include:

  • Training replacement employees
  • Spending time investigating the accident
  • Writing and implementing new safety measures
  • Loss of productivity due to these extra steps
  • Cost of repairing damaged equipment and property
  • Lower employee morale and potential absenteeism

With so much at stake, why risk safety when you don’t have to?

What’s Inside Matters 

To avoid unnecessary risks and related expenses, take a look at what’s inside your wheel, where it was made and the quality control processes used by the manufacturer.

At United Abrasives/SAIT, we’re proud of our reputation for excellence. We are dedicated to continually testing, designing and improving our products to ensure quality and maximum performance.

When you buy from us, you know there will be no shortcuts, no fillers and no surprises.


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