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Industry Applications

National Labs/Higher Education

Electropolishing for National Labs/Higher Education

For many years, Able Electropolishing has been the choice of national laboratories across the United States to electropolish their various parts made from a wide range of metal alloys. We are an approved source and have provided our services for the following labs: Argonne National Laboratory, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory and Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility. The electropolishing process is used by these various labs to improve the overall surface condition of their components. They like the fact that our process improves the micro finish, while providing deburring and passivating all in one cost effective and time saving operation.

Collaborating in Research & Development

In 2008, Able Electropolishing entered into a joint venture with Fermi National Accelerator Lab to develop a process for electropolishing a component for the International Linear Collider. The item was a single cell cavity made from niobium that they needed electropolished on the inside only. Through funding from Fermi Lab, Able constructed a special research and development cell in our facility dedicated to developing the parameters and tooling necessary to electropolish this cavity. At the same time, a similar effort was taking place at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in Virginia. To better understand the process development achieved at this facility and to move the project along, personnel from Able Electropolishing made an extended visit to meet with the researchers at the Thomas Jefferson Facility. Through the joint effort spanning over two years, Able succeeded in electropolishing the ID only of the niobium weldment. The processing parameters developed for niobium was instrumental in leading our way to electropolishing other inert alloys such as titanium and Nitinol.

Other Laboratory Applications

We recently worked on another project with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, California. The lab awarded the fabricating of eight 316 stainless steel dryer vessels and associated components to a firm in the Chicago area. After fabricating, the process specification called for electropolishing the vessel and components per ASTM B912. The engineers wanted to make sure that the surface finish was improved and that the parts were free of contaminants and in a passive state. Prior to receiving the various components for electropolishing, a quality engineer from Lawrence Livermore visited Able to perform an audit based on our ability to perform per the ASTM B912 specification. After the audit we became one of only two approved vendors qualified to provide electropolishing for their lab. The dryer components Able electropolished were to be used on their Laser Fusion Project.

Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont, Illinois has been a customer of Able Electropolishing since 1994. We have electropolished many items made from stainless steel, aluminum and copper for use in the Advanced Photon Source electron accelerator. Recently, we electropolished multiple sets of electrodes made from 304 SS. The electrodes were machined using a wire EDM (electrical discharge machining) process. The engineer wanted to electropolish his parts to remove the iron that was imbedded in the pores of the metal and on the surface. Electropolishing not only removed the iron but also removed the recast layer produced during the EDM process.

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Common Surface Problems and Solutions 

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