Electropolishing: Improve the Microfinish of Metal Parts


In assemblies where contact to metal surfaces is critical, improvement of that metal surface becomes important. Virtually all metalworking operations including cutting, stamping, welding and forming roughen a metal surface. When that metal surface is then forced to work in critical sealing or friction zones, product performance often suffers.

Measuring Irregularities Before Electropolishing

One of the traditional instruments used to measure surface roughness is the profilometer. The profilometer, using a diamond stylus to record the irregularities of the surface, usually gives a readout in microinches or micrometers. This quantifies the roughness of the surface, with a larger number indicating a rougher surface. Able Electropolishing typically reduces these microinch values by 50%, i.e. a 16-microinch surface before electropolishing will be improved to an 8-microinch surface afterward.

How Able Electropolishing Improves Microfinish

Benefits of ElectropolishingIllustration A depicts a typical cross-sectioned metal surface. The electropolishing process allows for a concentration of current in the peaks of a surface, thereby reducing microscopic peaks and causing a leveling action. By reducing the surface peaks, the microfinish values are reduced as well.

In general terms, when properly applied, electropolishing can reduce microfinish values by 50% with a removal of .0005″ from each surface. Chart B clearly shows that maximum benefit is achieved in this area, and that removing much more metal does not continue to improve surface finish.

It is important to note that electropolishing is best suited for improving microfinish values on complex or fragile parts. Many other microfinish improvement methods such as grinding, lapping or harperizing are not suitable on multi-faceted parts or fragile stampings.

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 microfinishing

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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