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Understanding Abrasive Wheel Markings

You must choose the right abrasive wheel for the right job and use it safely.

When using an abrasive wheel, you must be following the best working practice so that the wheel doesn’t break. Take a look below at how an understanding of abrasive wheel markings can help you work more safely.

Abrasive Wheel Markings

Abrasive Wheels TrainingEvery wheel must adhere to the British Standard (BS EN 12413 and BS ISO 525) system for marking. Manufacturers mark all wheels with the: type, size, specification and the maximum operating speed of the wheel. Take a look below at the fundamental markings a wheel should have.

  1. Trade Mark
  2. Test Record
  3. Restriction for Use
  4. Expiry Date
  5. Speed Stripe
  6. Dimensions in mm
  7. Specification Mark
  8. Code Number
  9. Maximum Operating Speed
  10. ISO Type No. (shape)
  11. Mounting Instruction

Type of Abrasive Wheel

The wheel type signifies the wheel’s shape- this is marked as an ISO number e.g.

  • ISO Type 27 – Reinforced Depressed Centre Grinding Wheels
  • Type 41 – Reinforced Flat Cut Off Wheels
  • Type 42 – Reinforced Depressed Centre Cut Off Wheels


The wheel size is marked in mm – e.g. 610 x 80 x 254, diameter x thickness x hole size.

What Does the Code Number on an Abrasive Wheel Show?

A series of numbers and letters make the wheel specification – e.g. A16 R 5 B S4. These numbers symbolize the abrasive wheel material, grit size, grade, structure and the bond type.

Maximum Operating Speed

The maximum operating speed (MOS) is featured on large wheels over 80mm in diameter. The peripheral surface speed is displayed in metres per second, e.g. 50 m/s and the rotational speed is displayed in revolutions per minute, e.g. 8500 rpm.

For wheels below 80mm in diameter; there is a separate notice that is stored with the wheel; this will have the maximum operating speed on it.

Speed Stripes

Abrasive WheelOn the centre of each wheel will be a colour coded stripe; the stripe is used to help judge the maximum operating speed of a wheel when it is moving at high speed.

  • 50m/s – Blue
  • 60m/s – Yellow
  • 80m/s – Red
  • 100m/s – Green
  • 125m/s – Yellow/Blue

Restrictions for Use

Each wheel will have a certain restriction code or graphic to depict the wheels restrictions. The markings used are:

  • RE1 – Do not use for manually guided and hand-held grinding.
  • RE2 – Do not use for hand-held cutting-off machines
  • RE3 – Not suitable for wet grinding
  • RE4 – Use only in enclosed workspaces
  • RE6 – Do not use for face grinding

Other Markings

  • A test record number to signify that the wheel meets the safety standards.
  • A traceable code number to display the manufacturing and source details of the wheel.
  • The wheel manufacturer name.
  • If it’s an organic wheel, it will feature the expiry date.
  • An arrow that points downwards on the bottom of the wheel; this is the mounting point of the wheel.

What can I learn from Abrasive Wheels Training?

On the Abrasive Wheels training the delegate will learn how to be competent when using an abrasive wheel. The Abrasive Wheels course is a half-day training session for those who consistently use a range of different cutting and grinding tools.

Want to know more? Take a look at the skills and knowledge you can gain from an Abrasive Wheels training course.

What are abrasive wheels used for?

You would use an abrasive wheel for surface modification or cutting by grinding. Operatives can also use them for sanding polishing and finishing in construction.

Which legislation applies to the use of an abrasive wheel?

It is helpful to yourself and others if you make employees aware of the rules and regulations relating to operating an abrasive wheel on site. If your operative is knowledgeable of legislation, this will cover you as an employer from any future implications if they don’t follow it. Throughout the training, the instructor will touch on:

  • Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
  • Health and Safety Guidance note 17
  • The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998
  • The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992

The Dangers of an Abrasive Wheel

The trainer will make you aware of the importance of being aware of the dangers of using a sharp, high powered spinning blade; if you don’t fit a wheel properly fitted or fit a broken one, you could maim or kill yourself.

Even if you have done all the relevant checks, there will still be hazards; the course will cover all the hazards you may encounter, whilst cutting or grinding.

Storage & Handling

Abrasive Wheels Training in manchesterYou cannot simply slide a wheel into a drawer for storage. You need to regard the wheels as a fragile object and store it correctly. During this part of the training, the tutor will explain the conditions in which you should store an abrasive wheel and how to move it from A to B if needed.

Safety Inspections

To ensure a wheel is safe to use, you need to conduct the correct inspections beforehand. The trainer will teach you how to conduct a ring and a visual inspection. You need to look out for rust, cracks, no wrapping and water or chemical damage. You will also learn how to inspect the other components of the wheel, including the nuts, bolts and other assembling components.

Selection of Correct PPE

PPE or Personal Protection Equipment is highly important in keeping yourself safe when operating an abrasive wheel. On this part of the course, the trainer will go over the importance of PPE and what equipment you should be wearing for a certain task.

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