Able Electropolishing in the News

Electropolishing for Defect-Free, Pathogen-Resistant Metal Parts—A Medtech Makers Q&A

March 13, 2022

There are a number of methods and technologies with which to affect the surface of a product. Each has its own set of advantages and best-use case scenarios. With medical devices, however, a surface finish that helps eliminate the chance of infection transmission is going to be particularly of interest. Electropolishing leaves behind an exceptionally shiny surface, free of any flaws, pits, or rough edges. The finish also helps to eliminate the need for other processes to augment the surface of a part.

This surface finishing technology, while advantageous, requires an expert to achieve the best results. As such, we spoke with Pat Hayes, vice president of business development at Able Electropolishing Co., Inc., to gain a better understanding of the process and why its so favorable for medical device manufacturers specifically.




Surface Treatments and Coatings Add a Layer of Value

May 17, 2021

As orthopedic implants become increasingly sophisticated and customized, electropolishing’s ability to remove a microscopically precise and consistent layer of surface material to eliminate defects provides implant designers with the ability to explore a broad and intricate range of designs. One of our implant clients, whose orthopedic designs are created and manufactured using additive technology, recently began sending samples to determine if electropolishing will minimizing the size of intricate lattice struts while also leaving them stronger.




Outward Appearance: Reviewing Surface Treatment Options

April 1, 2021

“As medtech products have become smaller and more intricate, the use of electropolishing as the final step in finishing critical metal parts has grown,” said Pat Hayes, vice president of business development at Able Electropolishing, a Chicago, Ill.-based provider of metal electropolishing, passivation, and titanium anodizing services. “Electropolishing’s ability to remove a microscopically precise amount of surface material and leave parts ultrasmooth and pathogen-resistant is a key attribute as medical device manufacturers seek to incorporate cleanability and pathogen-resistance into the design process. The use of more exotic metal alloys in medical manufacturing, because of the flexibility and memory they impart, is another continuing trend.”




On the Surface: Treatments and Coatings for Orthopedics

May 5, 2020

Orthopedic device and instrument manufacturers constantly search for new technologies that improve performance, reduce the risk of failure, and speed patient recoveries. They want devices that enhance functionality and are also easier to use—which are often dependent on ever-improving surface treatments and coatings. In many orthopedic market segments, OEMs are eager for product differentiation because most of the competing implants have similar designs and functions. Incorporating new surface modifications or coatings that improve osseointegration and reduce infection rates is a great way for OEMs to stand out from the crowd and increase market share.




Clean Design: Reducing Patient Infections Starts with Design for Cleanability

October 1, 2019

Although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has reported progress on reducing overall infection rates with enhanced safety measures and better disinfection methods, the risks associated with reusable medical devices are an ongoing challenge, with drug-resistant microbes and other organisms continuing to survive the cleaning process at an unacceptable rate.




Boating Business: Surface Finishes Are Enhanced

July 17, 2019

As an industry leader in metal finishing, Able Electropolishing has been recognized and featured in a variety of industry publications. Electropolishing metal finishing is used across many industries including the boatbuilding and marine industry. The advanced process is often used to enhance the surface finish of metal components and assemblies used in marine applications.




Industrial Equipment News: The Proper Steps to Take When Implementing Electropolishing

June 18, 2019

Improving the speed, quality, consistency and cost of product manufacturing can be achieved by planning for and implementing an electropolishing process during the manufacturing of parts. The more you know about the process and its benefits, the more you’ll appreciate the logic of incorporating electropolishing into the basic design of your production.




Fabricating & Metal Working: Seven Critical Steps for Submitting Samples for Electropolishing

May 29, 2019

Sometimes referred to as a “reverse plating” process, electropolishing uses an electrolytic chemical bath to remove a uniform layer of surface material. It is well recognized for the beautiful, bright polish it leaves on metal surfaces, and it provides other vital benefits as well. Using no abrasives or part-to-part contact, it is as highly effective on small, complex, fragile parts as well as larger parts. The most definitive way to tell if electropolishing will produce an optimal finish on your part that meets all of your requirements is to submit a sample for testing.




Today’s Motor Vehicles: Improving spring, stamping fatigue life with electropolishing

April 8, 2019

Springs and other automotive parts that must flex and torque undergo tremendous stresses during stamping or forming, creating defects that must be addressed before final use. Even the smallest imperfection creates a weak point in the part that, if not treated, can grow with use as the part flexes and bends – a phenomenon known as the notch effect. Placing stress on notch defects can cause part failure.




How it works: Electropolishing helps keep food safe

December 5, 2018

Compliance with sanitation and hygiene regulations is of primary concern in the food and beverage processing and packaging industries. Over the years, a number of stainless steel surface finishing treatments have been developed, and each has been used more or less successfully for different types of applications. After years of testing the various surface finishing treatments for resistance to bacteria build-up, electropolishing has clear advantages.




Solutions For Common Corrosion Issues

June 18, 2018

Corrosion can be simply defined as a gradual degradation of a metal surface. It is a natural process that occurs as the result of the chemical and/or electrochemical reaction the metal has with its environment. Unfortunately, it is inevitable; it is only the rate of corrosion than can be altered by various processing and/or finishing methods.




Able Electropolishing Breaks Ground on New Addition

May 15, 2018

On May 14th, 2018, Able Electropolishing, the world’s largest electropolishing specialist, broke ground on an expansion of their processing production facility. The construction project, expected to be completed in August of 2018, will effectively increase production capacity to Able Electropolishing’s current facility, located in Chicago, employing 200 people on three shifts.




How to Prevent Common Part Corrosion Problems

November 02, 2017

Any metal that will be exposed to a chemically unstable environment, which includes the vast majority of metal parts, is at risk for corrosion if not correctly treated. Although passivation used to be the gold standard for improving corrosion resistance in stainless steel parts, more and more manufacturers are shifting to electropolishing as a versatile and effective finishing option.




How Better Surface Simplifies Sanitation Compliance in Poultry, Meat Industry

October 26, 2017

A smooth surface on all metal equipment used in the processing of meat and poultry products makes it harder for pathogens to take hold, so finishing processes are always of great concern. Electropolishing metal parts can be an integral part of a multifaceted approach to improving sanitation and preventing foodborne illnesses.




Electropolishing vs. Passivation – Which is Best for Your Parts?

October 17, 2017

When it comes to engine components and other metal parts for on-highway trucks and heavy-duty construction vehicles, long term part performance is crucial. Passivation and electropolishing are two finishing processes that are commonly used to lengthen the lifespan and improve the performance of metal parts used in heavy-duty vehicles, but how can you determine which finishing technique is best for your parts?




Avoiding Contamination and Particulate Build Up in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing

August 7, 2017

When a medication is contaminated with microorganisms like bacteria or fungus, the consequences can range from harmless to fatal. For nonsterile drugs taken orally, the effects may be less likely to be dire, as our gastrointestinal tracts provide a highly acidic, unhospitable environment that can kill most microorganisms. However, medications that are administered intravenously or in the form of eye drops, must be completely sterile. Any contaminant can find its way directly into the bloodstream, causing sepsis or even death.




Tips for Packing Electropolished Parts

July 12, 2017

Electropolishing is often the last step to finishing metal parts after manufacturing, and has numerous benefits that improve the parts’ performance and increase life span. Electropolishing is a “reverse plating” process, removing the outer skin of metal instead of depositing metal on the surface. To accomplish this, a metal part is positively charged and submerged in a chemical bath. Then, current is applied to activate the process. The electric current along with the electrolyte pull metal ions off the surface of the part, leaving a smooth, shiny surface behind.




Electropolishing: The Best Path to Passive Parts?

June 24, 2017

If the passivation process is performed incorrectly, parts may become more susceptible to corrosion rather than less. This makes it imperative that the right passivation process is used in treating specific alloys. But how do you know if your stainless-steel parts are passive, a requirement automakers put on suppliers, and will stand up to industry standards and requirements?




Why Metal Finishing Matters in the Medtech Industry

April 30, 2015

The medical device industry faces multiple challenges when it comes to manufacturing reliable, hygienic, and compliant parts and devices, remarks Tom Glass, president of Able Electropolishing (Chicago). Thus, medical device manufacturers should perform a range of finishing operations to ensure optimal performance. Here’s what Glass has to say about the importance of metal finishing in the medical device industry.




Upgrade Your Passivation to Avoid Metal Surface Problems and Manufacturing Delays

April 4, 2014

By incorporating the benefits of passivation with surface finish improvement and micro-deburring, electropolishing has become the finish of choice for metal components used in medical devices. This “reverse plating” operation does more than just provide an aesthetic benefit; it provides many functional benefits such as improved corrosion resistance, improved microinch finish, deburring, as well as improved fatigue life. Experienced design engineers anticipate adding the electropolishing operation during the design and prototyping stages. Sometimes though, the finishing operation is an afterthought only added when the product fails to function as designed, often delaying a product’s launch.




Today’s Medical Developments: Smooth, Clean Medical Device Surfaces


The importance of hygiene applies to every aspect of patient care – from the sanitary environment where patient treatment takes place to the range of medical devices used in treatment. The quality of materials and equipment used in treatment can also improve patient outcome. For implants, dental care, and medical devices, a smooth surface with fewer burrs reduces the number of surfaces where contaminants can cling, accumulate, and flourish.




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