Ferndale Safety Engineering Projects

Automated Surface Grinder Safeguarding

After an unfortunate accident, Ferndale Safety was tasked with creating a safety solution to prevent access to the rotating grinding wheel on a surface grinder.

Portland, Oregon, USA

Montreal, Canada

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Ferndale Safety is designing and building fully automated safety upgrades to eight surface grinders at a customer facility near Montreal, Canada, and Portland, OR. This is the first project of this kind in our history, and Ferndale Safety is proud to be a part of it.

Ferndale Safety turnkey project: Surface grinder safety enclosure with automated grinding wheel machine safety guard.

What’s a surface grinder?

Surface grinding is a process to make a flat, smooth surface on steel parts. A surface grinder is a machine tool that facilitates the surface grinding process.

What are the risks?

A surface grinder has a grinding wheel that can rotate at high RPM. The wheel is rarely stopped, even when the machine is not in use, due to grinder wheel balancing and tolerance issues

The rotating wheel can cause mechanical hazards such as entanglement, drawing-in, abrasion, burning, and projection. It is also possible for the grinding wheel to explode due to an accidental grinding wheel impact or a defect inside the grinding wheel.

The Ferndale Safety Solution

Our engineers and safety experts came up with a solution that:

  • Prevent access to the rotating grinding wheel
  • It contains projections inside the enclosure
  • Automate the safety system
  • Make the system foolproof and easy to use


An automated grinding wheel guard installed on a surface grinder.

Advanced Safety Guarding

Ferndale Safety custom-designed this hood cover to protect users from the grinding wheel. The cover automatically opens and closes quickly to minimize the impact on work.

HMI panel on an automated surface grinder safety system.

User-Friendly Design

Ferndale Safety wanted this surface grinder safety system to be as user-friendly as possible. The system performs multiple self-checks and displays a detailed error message with possible solutions directly on the touch screen. On-screen icons and graphics give the user a quick visual indication of what is wrong.

A CAD drawing of a safety system on a surface grinder.

Safety Through Engineering

Ferndale Safety’s design engineers, machine safety experts, and technicians work together to offer the best safety product for the client. Multiple CAD designs and process flow charts were handed back and forth with the end-user to fine-tune the final product.