How to Remove Slag From Steel

How to Remove Slag From Steel

How to remove slag from steel

Table of Contents

If your business deals with smelting, cutting or otherwise working with steel, you probably have to deal with slag. Removing slag can be difficult and dangerous, but it is an essential part of the job.

At Timesavers, we’re always working to improve metalworking processes, and slag removal is no exception. With our equipment, you can reduce the amount of time it takes to remove slag while improving metal quality and worker safety.


How Does Heavy Slag Form?

Heavy slag — also known as dross — is usually associated with flame-cutting or plasma-cutting plate steel. Understanding how slag forms is key to learning how best to remove slag from steel.

Slag is a by-product of steel making, forming when impurities in the steel are separated from the molten metal. Typically, slag consists of limestone and silica, though it could include other substances like sulfur and various oxides.

If you don’t remove the slag before the metal cools, the slag solidifies on the top of your steel, making your piece of steel rough around the edges and marked with burrs. If you want to make your steel smooth and clean, you’ll need to remove the slag.

There are many ways to remove slag and dross, but not all of them are equally effective or efficient. Chipping hammers and similar tools are often used to remove slag, and while they’re effective, they’re also the slowest option.

Angle grinders can also remove slag, which are much faster than using a handheld chipping hammer. However, angle grinders can be dangerous for workers, and you run the risk of grinding too much metal off of your piece of steel. With both of these options, you have to focus on each chunk of slag on a piece of metal individually, and the larger and more stubborn pieces might take extra time to remove.

However, our machines configured for slag grinding are capable of removing difficult burrs in a single pass! These machines, called slag grinders, use a refined slag removal process that can save your operators significant time, improve their overall efficiency and increase the quality and consistency of your finished parts — all of which will substantially boost your bottom line.

How Slag Grinders Work

Slag grinders are durable machines that grind metal parts as they’re fed through, removing all heavy slag quickly and effectively. These machines use a series of grinding belts and brushes to effortlessly tear through even the heaviest dross accumulations.

When an unfinished part is first fed through, its heavy burrs are knocked down by a high-speed drum. From there, a highly flexible, diamond-profiled roller is activated, rounding off the edges of the parts. After this grinding process is complete, parts are passed over by a high-density steel wire brush, removing any remaining sharp edges and leaving behind a beautifully finished product every time.

If you want to fully capitalize on the benefits slag grinders offer, you’ll need to invest in high-quality machines that align seamlessly with your current production requirements.


If you want to fully capitalize on slag grinders, invest in high-quality machines

Finding the Best Slag Removal Equipment

It can be tough to pin down which machine your shop should invest in to achieve maximum value with its dross removal operations. That’s why we’ll be taking a few minutes today to help you find the optimal slag grinder for your metalwork production line.

Every type of metal and part shape bears unique properties and limitations, meaning that a slag removal process that works flawlessly for one of your products could damage or destroy another. That’s why it’s essential to choose a slag grinder that can be configured to create a great finish for your specific applications.

Thankfully, high-quality slag grinders — like the ones we produce at Timesavers — include a number of unique, operator-friendly features that can be used to further optimize your slag removal operations. In our 22 Series machines, these features include:

  • Transport speed adjustments
  • Precise material thickness settings
  • Belt tracking regulators
  • Grinding pressure adjustment

All of these features allow you to tweak your slag removal system to fit your exact specifications. Customization is key for an effective slag removal machine, and our slag grinders are specifically designed to be as flexible as possible.


Depending on which machine you purchase, your slag grinder will be able to operate for different amounts of time. Our 12 Series slag grinder works best for a one-shift operation, and our 42 Series slag grinder is designed to be used for a three-shift operation, able to run 24/7. No matter how often you need to use a slag grinder, we have the perfect model for you.

Moreover, our machines offer convenient transport extensions, making it even easier to incorporate them into your current production system. Pair these outstanding features with our machines’ simple belt-changing features, and it’s no surprise why thousands of metal fabricators across the nation invest in Timesavers heavy slag removal solutions when they need to optimize their metalworking operations.

Operator Safety

Above all else, the safety of your team members is at the forefront of every decision. Without proper safety systems in place, the process of slag grinding can be highly dangerous for operators. If workers’ hands get too close to the machine while feeding parts down the line, one lapse in concentration is all it takes for them to experience a severe injury.

Fortunately, quality slag grinder machines like ours are outfitted with a wealth of safety features to mitigate these threats, including:

  • Interlocked doors
  • Emergency stop push buttons in all four corners
  • Overthick sensing device
  • Disc brakes on sanding heads

Furthermore, our machines help separate operators from the actual grinding process, shielding them from abrasives, sparks and dust. Our machines also help reduce operator fatigue, which can result in repetitive motion injuries.

Contact Timesavers Today

At Timesavers, we specialize in designing and manufacturing industry-leading sanding machinery for both wood and metal fabricators. Over the last 70 years, we’ve collaborated with metalworkers of every size and specialty to implement smart, cost-effective solutions for their specific applications. We provide the resources your team needs to meet and exceed its production goals, no matter how ambitious or demanding they are.

Whether you have more specific questions about heavy slag removal or need help with choosing a slag grinding system that meshes with your current production line, we want to work with you to find the perfect solution for your dross removal application. Browse our heavy slag removal machines to discover more of our products, or request a quote to see how our products can fit into your production line. To learn more about Timesavers and our unrivaled metalworking equipment, contact us today!

Browse our unrivaled heavy slag removal machines