Improving Conductivity in Electronics with Electropolishing
Electronics manufacturers are always looking for methods of improving conductivity and performance. Keeping the surface finish smooth and free of burrs and other surface imperfections significantly reduces the chance of performance failures like arcing or current flow interruption. Because electropolishing is one of the most precise methods of achieving a uniform finish like this, the services offered at Able Electropolishing are a natural fit for the electronics industry. Our electropolishing process is more than simple deburring—it improves the surface finish by as much as 50 percent, removing peaks and imperfections from the material and reducing the Ra value. Because the transfer of ions occurs more rapidly on corners and edges, the parts also benefit from micro deburring, and a slight radius is created.
Electropolishing and Deburring Inside Telecommunications Devices
Because Able Electropolishing can process non-ferrous metals, we are favored by clients fashioning electrical contacts out of beryllium copper. For example, we process multiple contacts for a client that stamps parts used in a two-way radio. These radios were not transmitting properly in the field, and their poor performance was traced back to flaws in the manufacturing of their contacts. The client was using vibratory tumbling as the last machining operation, but the engineers needed a process that would better prepare the surface before gold plating.
By electropolishing and testing various samples, we determined the ideal amount of surface metal to remove in order to solve our client’s quality issues. Electropolishing the part removed all surface contaminants embedded in the metal, allowing the gold plating to adhere to specifications. By deburring the part and creating a larger radius on the edges, we were also able to reduce the buildup of plating in those areas.
Treating Multiple Parts with Electropolishing
Another client sends us beryllium copper contacts that are electrical discharge machined. These contacts vary in size, and are sent to Able Electropolishing in either strips or small sheets in a range of thicknesses. Because these parts are manufactured using an EDM process, the client needs a process that removes the recast layer and improves the surface finish. After determining the appropriate amount of surface metal to remove during electropolishing, we were able to remove the minor surface defects left behind by machining. The smooth finish created by our process is very conducive to gold plating operations, and even without gold plating the part, an electropolished finish is highly beneficial. While not a replacement for plating, an electropolished finish is more resistant to corrosion, tarnish and oxidation.