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Poor storage leading to failure and disintegration of cutting discs

A number of incidents have come to IMCA’s attention in which cutting discs from one manufacturer have failed and disintegrated whilst in use. When using hand-held rotating machinery of this sort, there is great potential for serious harm to the operator and anyone nearby should this happen, given that the discs rotate in excess of 12,000rpm. It was initially suspected that this was a manufacturing fault affecting a batch of these discs.

However, subsequent investigation has revealed that the cutting discs failed as a direct consequence of being stored in inappropriate conditions. This followed discussions with the manufacturer of the discs. Once notified of the problem, the manufacturer quickly investigated the circumstances of the disc failures and have identified that the manner in which the discs were stored is the most likely root cause of the problem. Below is an extract from their report:

“The discs at some point have been subject to damp conditions. When bonded abrasives are subjected to dampness this often leads to a breakdown in the resin which has a very important role of acting as a binding agent in the make-up of the discs. Bonded abrasives should always be stored in dry, frost-free conditions avoiding wide variations in temperature, damp and humidity. They should always be properly protected and supported to prevent damage and distortion.”

It should be noted that there was no evidence that the discs supplied by this manufacturer were at fault in any way. The manner in which the discs were stored was the most likely root cause of the problem.

Action: Members are encouraged to review the means of storage for all cutting and grinding discs in order to prevent any similar occurrence, with particular reference to ensuring that such storage avoids wide variations in temperature, damp and humidity.

Members may wish to refer to the following similar incidents (search words: disc, cutting, grinding):

Members should be aware of the IMCA pocket safety card Grinding wheel safety.

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IMCA makes every effort to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data contained in the documents it publishes, but IMCA shall not be liable for any guidance and/or recommendation and/or statement herein contained. The information contained in this document does not fulfil or replace any individual’s or Member's legal, regulatory or other duties or obligations in respect of their operations. Individuals and Members remain solely responsible for the safe, lawful and proper conduct of their operations.