Optimize Cleanability and Create a Pathogen and Corrosion-Resistant Surface for Critical Medical Parts and Tools
Medical device manufacturers navigate challenges unlike those in any other industry. Medical devices, tools and surgical implants have to function flawlessly within an environment where outcome can have a life or death context.
Every component of these products has to be manufactured to a level of precision and consistency that is often quite literally microscopic.
For this market, there is no metal finishing process that can achieve the results that electropolishing provides.
Electropolishing’s ability to remove a microscopically precise surface layer with absolute consistency leaves critical metal parts with an ultraclean and ultrasmooth surface that inhibits the growth of pathogens and makes reusable devices easier to clean, without burrs, micro cracks and other surface imperfections that can trap liquids and debris and give harmful bacteria a place to hide.
In fact, electropolishing is so effective at optimizing the surface of medical devices and parts that we are often consulted for help in the prototyping phase to ensure that features are designed in ways that make electropolishing even more effective and avoid common design flaws.
Our Finish First methodology allows us to bring our expertise into the research and development process as electropolishing processes offer a unique window into small design issues that can create big problems for cleanability. Such “clean design” is becoming the gold standard among medical device designers in an era of increasing threats around antibiotic resistant bacteria.
Electropolishing is also prized among medical manufacturers for its ability to produce extremely precise and consistent results for even the most intricate of devices, including stents and other implantable devices made with Nitinol, titanium and other specialty alloys.
Chemical passivation, which uses nitric or citric acid to remove free iron and other exogenous contaminants, is also available and may be suitable for some medical instruments. Passivation is effective at increasing the corrosion resistance of stainless steel and can help increase the longevity of metal parts, but it is not suitable for all stainless steel alloys.
At Able Electropolishing, our processes are exacting and highly customized, with chemical mixes, tooling and prototyping unique to each part, to ensure optimal and consistent results.
Benefits of Electropolishing for the Medical Industry
- Removal of surface contaminants
- Improved resistance to bacterial growth
- Ultrasmooth and easy-to-clean microfinish
- Superior biocompatibility
- Corrosion resistance and fatigue life improvement
- Consistent, repeatable finish
Metal Alloys We Electropolish
- 300 Series Stainless Steels
- 400 Series Stainless Steels
- Precipitating Hardening Grades
- Unusual Stainless Steels
- Copper Alloys
- Tool Steels
- Specialty Alloys
- Nickel Alloys
- Specialty Steels
- Carbon Steels
Medical Products We Electropolish
- Orthopedic and Cardiovascular Implants
- Cutting Tools, Drills and Blades
- Surgical Tools
- Disposable Medical Devices
- Medical Imaging Equipment Parts
How Electropolishing Works
- A power source converts AC to DC
- Cathode plates are lowered into a chemical bath
- Plates are installed to the power source’s negative side
- A rack of parts is fixed to the power source’s positive side
- Parts are charged positive and immersed into the bath
- Current is applied and electrolyte acts as a conductor
- Metal ions are removed from parts and drawn to the cathode
- Electrolyte maintains dissolved metal in the solution
- Gassing occurs at metal surface, furthering cleansing
- Parts are run through a series of cleaning and drying steps to remove clinging electrolytes
Once the process is completed, the parts are run through a series of cleaning and drying steps to remove clinging electrolytes.
Finish First: Electropolishing in the R&D Process
At Able Electropolishing, our Finish First methodology enables medical device designers and engineers to attack the issue of cleanability from the beginning, ensuring that common design flaw and surface defects that impede cleanability can be addressed in the design and prototyping stage, making electropolishing even more effective at the finishing stage.
The result is a microsmooth, ultraclean surface with enhanced cleanability and pathogen resistance.
Finish First Methodology involves R&D input, prototyping and validation of manufacturing processes on full production finishing equipment. We run prototypes in our state-of-the-art facility, and work with you to ensure your parts are optimally designed to produce the highest quality metal finish, with precise and optimal function and cleanability. Learn more >
Medical Device Case Studies
- Electropolishing Titanium Parts for the Medical Industry
- Deburring by Electropolishing Stainless Steel Medical Manufacturing Part
- Deburring Stainless Steel Medical Devices