Electropolishing has become a common metal finishing process used to help improve the life of metal parts that flex, cycle, twist, and bend. These components come in many forms including stampings, wire forms, laser cut tubes and even machined parts. During the manufacturing process micro defects on the surface of these components are left behind. These defects, often in the form of micro-cracks or pits, can become initiation sites for crack propagation or corrosion.
By removing these imperfections on the surface of metal parts, engineers have found electropolishing to greatly improve the life of components that function as springs. ￼
The figure to the left shows how a small crack or notch can create a condition that will result in failure as stresses are placed along the surface of a part. This “notch effect” can be mitigated by removing a small amount of material from the surface of the metal part, restoring its surface to a smooth, defect-free surface. Able electropolishes millions of springs each year made from music wire, stainless steel, and Nitinol to improve their performance.