The Superabrasives Process Optimization Center

S.P.O.C. is the result of our commitment to customers’ demands for unparalleled efficiencies and analytical data that is crucial to developing optimized superabrasive products and tools that perform at the highest level possible.


Comprising of a data driven Materials Characterization Laboratory and a revolutionary Virtual Grinding Laboratory (allowing customers to take part in grinding experiments remotely, from anywhere in the world), the key purpose of S.P.O.C is to provide all the tools, comprehensive scientific analysis, technical support and industry expertise you need to take your products and your company’s potential to the next level.

WWSA hopes to bridge the gap between art and science by applying robust engineering principles to the testing of superabrasive products. Measuring the performance and physical characteristics of superabrasives will allow experts to not only understand the current state-of-technology, but also lead the way for real development.

The “virtual” aspect of the new VGL is the end-user’s ability to interactively attend any grinding experiment from any remote location around the globe via Citrix Go-To Meeting ™ video conferencing platform. The end-user is able to see, instruct and interact in real-time with experienced grinding technicians throughout the testing process as well as view the live data produced by the ANCA RX-7 grinding unit.

Sample Capabilities of the VGL Instrumented Grinding Test Bed:

Key Test Bed Characteristics

  • Surface Grinding (Pendulum and Creep-Feed)
  • Cylindrical Grinding (OD)
  • Water Based Coolant Delivery and Filtration System with Chiller
  • Oil Based Coolant Delivery and Filtration System with Chiller
  • Engineered Coolant Delivery and Nozzle System
  • Known Static and Dynamic Machine Characteristics
  • In-Process Instrumentation
  • Post-Process Instrumentation
  • Advanced Graphical and Analytical Analysis of Grinding Data

Static and Dynamic Machine Characteristics

  • Measured Relative Static Stiffness between Workpiece and Grinding Wheel
  • Measured Relative FRF (Frequency Response Function) between Workpiece and Grinding Wheel

In-Process Measurements

  • Normal Force
  • Tangential Force
  • Grinding Spindle Power
  • AE (Acoustic Emission)
  • Coolant Pressure (For Calculation of Coolant Jet Velocity)

Post-Process Measurements

  • Workpiece Surface Finish
  • Workpiece Surface Integrity
  • Grinding Wheel Wear
  • Grinding Wheel Surface Topography
  • Abrasive Grain Wear

Grinding Data Analysis

  • ΛW – Work Removal Parameter
  • Qw’ –  Specific Material Removal Rate
  • P’ – Specific Power
  • ec –  Specific Grinding Energy
  • G – ratio
  • ΛS  – Wheel Removal Parameter
  • QS – Specific Wheel Removal Rate

In addition to the above features

Dr. John WebsterWWSA has partnered with Dr. John Webster of Cool-Grind Technologies, LLC to optimize the ANCA RX-7’s dual chilled coolant delivery systems. Dr. Webster made the following comments in his recent report on the VGL—“The Virtual Grinding Laboratory consists of a fully instrumented grinding machine, post-grind surface measurement capability, and remote access of in-process and post-process signals and data. As compared to universities and government laboratories, testing at the VGL does not need to be publishable, is on-demand for a fee, data produced is confidential, and competitive industrial research is encouraged.” Dr. Webster’s tremendous experience and background will assist in developing the best possible superabrasive testing laboratory possible.

Complimenting the new VGL is the following
world-class analytical and measurement equipment
in the materials characterization laboratory:



The JEOL low vacuum Scanning Electron Microscope with integrated Energy Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy is ideal for performing advanced analytical analysis. Utilizing the latest Silicon Drift Detector (SDD) technology, the JEOL SEM allows engineers, scientists, and technicians to carefully assess and analyze the morphology and elemental chemistry of super abrasive grains and their coatings.

The JEOL SEM has been carefully designed for ease of use, and the versatile InTouchScope has functions that users and customers of all abilities will be happy with. Key features include:

  • Automatic SEM condition setup based on sample type
  • Simultaneous multiple live image and movie capture
  • Easy sample navigation at 5x – 300,000x magnifications
  • Quantitative and qualitative elemental analysis
  • Low and high vacuum operation
  • Wireless capability
  • Portable, compact, small footprint SEM

The InTouchScope features all the capabilities of a full size tungsten SEM with integrated EDSanalysis in a small, ergonomic and intuitive design. An onboard turbo pump make this a truly self-contained, portable SEM that is easy to set up anywhere in the lab.


At the very forefront of C-SAM acoustic micro imaging systems, the Sonoscan D9600 is the perfect general purpose tool for failure analysis, process development, material characterization and low volume product inspection

Using high-frequency, non-destructive sound waves, we can utilize the Sonoscan D9600 to produce an accurate image of solid and porous samples. The performance levels of the D9600 are truly unrivaled on the market.

With incredible accuracy and an extremely robust design, the Sonoscan D9600 includes enhances electronics and software technology that puts it at the top of the performance level list for laboratory acoustic microscopes. Its innovative capabilities are the reason it has earned a place in our high-tech Materials Characterization Laboratory.

Key features include:

  • PolyGate™ technology with Multi-Gate™ and Probing-Gate™ functions capable of single and multi-focus imaging
  • Set up to 100 gates per channel
  • Linear Motor Scanner
  • Enhanced precision with tower mounted scan reference platform and sample fixture
  • Easy-access scanning area makes loading and unloading easier
  • Quantitative B-Scan Analysis Mode (Q-BAM)™ incorporates Sonoscan’s proprietary B-Scan mode to provide a virtual cross-sectional view with accurate polarity, amplitude and depth data
  • Optional water recirculation, Waterfall™ Transducer and inline temperature control
  • Optional Digital Image Analysis (DIA)™ uses advanced algorithms to quantify acoustic data, allowing you to set accurate, automatic, accept/reject criteria

Proto LXRD Residual Stress Mapping Machine

The Proto LXRD is manufactured by the leading name in residual stress mapping and is the perfect tool to use where residual stress is a concern for critical fatigue components. Utilizing sophisticated x-ray technology and enhanced detection software this tool provides unparalleled accuracy.

Our Materials Characterization Laboratory uses the Proto LXRD to carefully measure the levels of material stress after grind to provide a closed-loop grinding evaluation.

Key features include:

  • Robust, heavy-duty design Primed for industrial use
  • Fast, durable x-ray detectors that do not deteriorate over time
  • Unique modular goniometer system (patent pending)
  • Advanced onboard chiller / heater to maintain optimum performance
  • X-ray tubes
  • Wide range of x-ray apertures to enable measurement of odd-shaped parts
  • The latest XRDWin 2.0 software for unparalleled data collection and accurate residual stress analysis

Keyence VHX 2000 Digital 3D microscope

This extremely versatile and exceptionally handy all-in-one microscope system cleverly combines the capabilities of a conventional stereomicroscope, compound microscope, and metallurgical microscope.

Taking digital microscopy to new heights, the result of this innovative design is a single system that can observe, measure, and record. To further its performance, we have carefully developed a customized mounting system to allow us to take images of the wheel on the spindle.

This added feature lets us characterize the wear progression of abrasive grains. We can measure grit exposure / pull out, wear flats and bond erosion, which are all critical to comprehensive performance evaluation.

Key features of the Keyence VHX 2000 Digital Microscope include:

  • 0.1x – 5,000x magnification range
  • Incredibly large depth-of-field (inspect from any angle and perform 2D/3D observation and measurement)
  • Can identify optimal bond / crystal combinations by generating in-process color images of the tool’s bond / crystal wear characteristics down to 1 micron

The Materials Characterization Laboratory

Creating the next generation of high performing superabrasive products requires in-depth research and the ability to collect a wide range of scientific data. To stay at the forefront of the industry, we have created an extremely powerful analytical center – the Materials Characterization Laboratory.

Each tool has been selected for its powerful analytical performance and data collection abilities. Combined, they will give you an unparalleled competitive edge in creating and tailoring the future of your superabrasive products.