Electropolishing Case Study: Fasteners used for structural steel fabrication, transportation, OEMs & more

Industry

Other: Manufacturers of metal fasteners

Electropolishing Case Study: Birmingham Fastener

MFG/METHOD

Combination of forging & shot blasting

ALLOY

304 and 316 Stainless Steel


Brad Porter, Quality Manager at Birmingham Fastener, a leading manufacturer and distributor of fasteners based in Birmingham, Ala., has used Able to electropolish parts for nearly a decade. Specializing in parts for structural steel fabrication, transportation, water works and utilities, OEMs, and more, Birmingham uses electropolishing for finishing a variety of bolts, screws, and more.


We used to use passivation, but it was just a dull finish that didn’t look very good. I don’t know who found Able for us to try the electropolishing route, but it’s a night and day difference. - Brad Porter, Birmingham’s Quality Manager

Compared to passivation, which leaves parts with a dull finish, electropolishing creates the high shine that many clients value.


By removing a microscopically precise layer of surface material, electropolishing removes surface defects to leave parts with a superior finish that results in improved fit and function.


Porter’s trust in Able’s quality has allowed the company to skip the time-consuming and costly step of having electropolished parts shipped back to their headquarters for review. “We can always count on the quality to be there,” said Porter. “We’ve started direct shipping to some of our customers from Able, without even seeing them.”


Many of Birmingham’s parts are made from forged materials such as 304 and 316 stainless steel, including rods, T-head bolts, oval-neck, and square-neck track bolts ranging in sizes from ⅜” up to 4” in diameter.


Due to manufacturing techniques that combine forging and shot blasting, the metal fasteners can be left with discoloration and surface defects that impact durability and corrosion resistance. Electropolishing smooths the fasteners for improved corrosion resistance – a critical advantage for the company’s water works customers.


Able works closely with the Birmingham team to deliver on client needs, sharing up-to-date details regarding shipping, production, timelines, and any issues that occur – something that Porter says is greatly appreciated by Birmingham’s shipping manager.


“He really likes the automated processing emails that we receive,” said Porter. “He said it was really great communication – probably the best of all of our vendors.”



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