Electropolishing: Improve Fatigue Life of Metal Parts

Electropolishing and fatigue life improvementElectropolishing 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 microcracks or pits, can become initiation sites for crack propagation or corrosion.

Electropolishing to Eliminate Imperfections

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 Electropolishing processes millions of springs each year made from music wire, stainless steel 300 series, 400 series, and Nitinol, in order to improve their performance.

Meeting Stress Requirements in Critical Parts

Able Electropolishing frequently processes stamped parts that must flex and torque as part of regular use. Electropolishing these parts helps them meet their life cycle expectations.

One customer experienced a problem with a part stamped out of heavy gauge material, which was not meeting its stress requirements. The stamping process left the part with small cracks and fissures, which compromised the part with repeated use.

By electropolishing the part, Able removed enough surface material to eliminate the fissures, enabling the part to pass its rigorous testing and function longer.

Electropolishing Stainless Steel Springs and More

Stainless steel springs and wire forms are prone to the same development of cracks and fissures that lead to premature part failure. When electropolishing stainless steel parts like these, Able removes a uniform layer of surface material from the entire part, stripping away the surface imperfections and cracks that threaten the part’s performance. After electropolishing, springs and wire forms meet or exceed their anticipated cycle levels.

Free Electropolishing Sample

To see how we can improve the microfinish of your parts, send us your parts or prototypes and we’ll electropolish them for free – we’ll even pay for the shipping. Samples are processed in 24-48 hours.

Contact us to learn more about electropolishing and extending metal part life

Medical Device Manufacturing

Our tightly controlled quality process and ISO 9001 and ISO 13485 certifications make us the preferred partner for many medical device manufacturers across the globe. From implantable devices to surgical instruments, electropolishing is a single-process treatment that results in biocompatible, safe and ultra clean parts.

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We offer aerospace vendors and original equipment manufacturers our signature metal finishing services to increase fatigue-resistance for their metal parts, rendering them capable of withstanding the stress and corrosion that comes with long-term use. Surface abnormalities lead to part failure, but with electropolishing, parts become more reliable and long lasting.

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Our strict adherence to industry standards ensures that pharmaceutical components are electropolished in accordance with ASTM B912 and ASME BPE specifications. These products are clean and smooth, corrosion resistant and contaminant free.

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Corrosion resistance and microfinish improvement are essential for critical automotive parts, making electropolishing an increasingly beneficial option for automakers. Electropolishing both interior and exterior auto parts ensures they will resist premature failure and function at an optimal level.

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Consumer Appliance

Notable examples of appliance parts we electropolish are 400-series stainless steel alloys used in many consumer appliances. Our metal finishing services help increase corrosion resistance for these parts, and by removing the outermost layer of metal withelectropolishing the durability and longevityof these appliance components is increased.

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Food & Beverage

We have a long history of working with the food and beverage industry. Electropolishing materials for this industry eliminates the buildup of bacterial biofilms, as well as keeping the equipment free of contaminants like Salmonella. When it comes to food and beverage processing equipment, safety and cleanliness are of the upmost importance and electropolishing delivers the level of sanitation required by a number of regulatory agencies.

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Hydraulics & Pneumatics

From robotics to heavy mobile equipment, the uses of electropolishing in the hydraulics and pneumatics industry are many. By helping prevent premature part failure, electropolishing reduces the amount of downtime and increases the life cycle of these components. Proper surface finish and cleanliness is key in this industry, and electropolishing attains the finishour customers require.

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Improving conductivity and performance is just one benefit electropolishing offers for electronics parts. The surface finish is improved by as much as 50 percent, removing imperfections from the material without removing a lot of material removal from the component.

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