Electropolishing & Deburring Case Studies

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17-7 Ph stainless steel extension spring needing life cycle improvement

Alloy: Stainless

Industry: Industrial

Challenge:

  • Extension spring was failing and causing a constant maintenance problem

Solution:

  • Part was electropolished and the results of the cycle life test increased well beyond current cycle levels and eliminated costly maintenance
  • Customer added electropolishing to the extension spring specification

17-7 Ph stainless steel wire form not meeting fatigue life cycle under high and low psi

Alloy: Stainless

Industry: Automotive

Challenge:

  • Part was not meeting the intended fatigue life cycle under high and low psi

Solution:

  • Customer chose to electropolish the wire form parts to hold high and low psi in all areas of compression in the engine without stressing
  • The wire forms tested were successfully fatigue tested over 900,000 cycles

303 Stainless Steel Parts Needing Corrosion Protection to Last Through Salt Spray Test

Alloy: Stainless

Industry: Other

Challenge:

  • Customer needed 303 stainless steel parts to have superior corrosion protection after exposure to ASTM B-117 salt spray

Solution:

  • Able electropolished the customer's parts and there were no visible signs of rust even after 888 hours of exposure
  • Under 40X magnification, the electropolished parts were smooth and clean

420 Stainless Steel Packaging Part with Burrs

Alloy: Stainless

Industry: Industrial

Total Material Removed: .0005”
(or half that amount per surface)

Challenge:

  • Part had several burrs on edges
  • Problem persisted after trying other methods of deburring

Solution:

  • Part was electropolished with a minimum metal removal
  • Burrs on part were removed

Auger & Wire Weldment Needing Corrosion Protection to Last Through Salt Spray Test

Alloy: Stainless

Industry: Other

Solution:

  • To portray the benefits of passivation versus electropolishing, Able performed a ASTM B-117 salt spray test on an auger made from 430 stainless steel and a wire weldment fabricated from 304 stainless steel
  • After 144 hours of exposure, the passivated part showed advanced red corrosion at the extremities and in the hole. The electropolished part exhibited only light red corrosion at the extremities

Automotive fasteners needing removal of copper coating

Alloy: Stainless

Industry: Automotive

Challenge:

  • Customer needed a bright decorative finish that would stand up to harsh environment
  • Customer also needed to remove the copper coating

Solution:

  • Able’s electropolishing proprietary technique stripped the copper coating, brightened the finish to near-chrome quality and gave the part an anti-corrosive finish
Nickel Alloy Electropolishing

Beryllium/Nickel Alloy with Surface Contamination from EDM

Alloy: Nickel

Industry: Electrical

Total Material Removed: .001”
(or half that amount per surface)

Challenge:

  • Delicate ribs showed obvious contamination, burrs, and recast materials
  • Mechanical cleaning had risk of warping or distortion

Solution:

  • All critical surfaces were completely cleaned of surface and sub-surface contamination with electropolishing
  • Removal of stress cracks improved product life

Complex Assembly of Multiple Alloys Needing Improved Sealing Surface

Alloy: Stainless

Industry: Aerospace

Challenge:

  • The ‘Hermetic Assembly’ part had green oxide layer from glass fusing, which needed to be removed

Solution:

  • Electropolishing provided an oxide free, Brite Ultraclean surface
  • Discoloration was removed & part passed stringent leakage testing

Copper Automotive Stamping with Burrs Cutting into Plastic Mating Surface

Alloy: Brass/Copper

Industry: Electronics/Communication

Challenge:

  • Edges of fingers were causing problems in assembly of the finished product
  • Could not vibra-finish the part due to the fragile nature of the fingers

Solution:

  • Electropolishing removed the burrs and made the part’s surface smoother
  • Achieved without incurring any damage to the fragile fingers

Copper drawn part used in Aerospace oxygen application needed contaminant-free surfaces

Alloy: Brass/Copper

Industry: Aerospace

Challenge:

  • Engineers feared that contaminates could compromise the integrity of chemicals stored inside the container

Solution:

  • Electropolishing removed the outer layer of metal & any contaminants from handling
  • The process increased corrosion resistance & gave the part an extended life

Fastener needing removal of heat treat discoloration

Alloy: Stainless

Industry: Other

Challenge:

  • 'Stop Nuts' parts were highly discolored and heavily oxidized from heat treatment

Solution:

  • We electropolished a small sample lot to clean and brighten the heavily discolored parts
  • Customer avoided losing several thousand dollars of material

Food Service Wireform

Alloy: Stainless

Industry: Food/Beverage

Challenge:

  • Weld discoloration
  • Surfaces needed to be easily cleaned with minimal food adhesion

Solution:

  • Electropolishing removed the weld discoloration and sub-surface contamination
  • Improved corrosion resistance, achieving a smoother surface that is easier to clean

Gear Teeth Requiring Resizing

Alloy: Steel

Industry: Automotive

Total Material Removed: .0005"
(or half that amount per surface)

Challenge:

  • Heat treating caused the internal gear teeth to grow

Solution:

  • Electropolishing the steel removed varying amounts of surface material until achieving the ideal size
  • Internal gear teeth were resized uniformly, ensuring that the part fit its mate

Improving 440C Stainless Steel Corrosion Resistance

Alloy: Stainless

Industry: Other

Challenge:

  • Customer was concerned with their 440C, machined valve components rusting in the field
  • Customer did not have success passivating these parts

Solution:

  • Able tested an electropolished part against a passivated and a raw “control” part
  • Raw and passivated parts both showed red rust while the electropolished part remained clean

Machined Brass Part with Burrs Around Outlet Hole

Alloy: Brass/Copper

Industry: Food/Beverage

Challenge:

  • After machining, a burr was produced around the edge of the outlet hole
  • Problem persisted after trying other methods of deburring

Solution:

  • Part was electropolished with a minimum stock removal to clean up the orifice
  • Part now has a controlled, constant stream

Machined Casting Used in a Beverage Filling Application

Alloy: Aluminum

Industry: Food/Beverage

Challenge:

  • Part was leaking from seating problems when assembled with other components
  • Customer machined problem areas but problem persisted

Solution:

  • Electropolishing smoothed out the surface allowing a better fit, eliminating leaks & enhancing the part's “cleanability”

Pharmaceutical machined part needing a surface that would not harbor bacteria

Alloy: Stainless

Industry: Pharmaceutical

Challenge:

  • Customer needed to ensure that all surfaces were clean and smooth, free of contaminants and crevices where bacteria could gain a foothold

Solution:

  • The electropolished surface reduced surface irregularities by 50%, while removing contaminants embedded in the surface
  • Part is now 30 times more corrosion resistant than ordinary passivation

Stainless Steel & Brass Assembly with Braze & Flux Contamination

Alloy: Stainless

Industry: Electronics/Communication

Challenge:

  • Part was comprised of dissimilar metals that are silver brazed
  • Tumbling alone could not remove the excess silver braze from the part

Solution:

  • Electropolishing removed the excess silver braze, while smoothing and cleaning the surfaces of all three dissimilar metals

Stainless Steel Medical Devices

Alloy: Stainless

Industry: Medical/Dental

Challenge:

  • The teeth of this stainless steel blade had large, hanging burrs
  • Hand deburring was neither an economical nor a consistent solution

Solution:

  • Electropolishing removed the burrs while retaining the sharp blade
  • Ultraclean, exceptionally corrosion resistant surface across the entire part

Stainless Steel Medical Part with Small Holes

Alloy: Stainless

Industry: Medical/Dental

Total Material Removed: .0005"
(or half that amount per surface)

Challenge:

  • This medical part needed to be free of contaminants and burrs to improve release characteristics
  • Because the part has many small holes, hand deburring operations would be time-consuming and imperfect

Solution:

  • Electropolishing the parts removed a uniform amount of surface metal and eliminated potential initiation sites for corrosion and burrs

Stamping Stainless Steel Hook Latch

Alloy: Stainless

Industry: Other

Challenge:

  • Part is heat-treated and discoloration is produced on the surface
  • The heat treat discoloration is an oxide and accelerates corrosion

Solution:

  • Electropolishing removed a controlled amount of material
  • Part left free of oxides, scale and discoloration

Steel spring with surfaces too rough and contaminated to accept plating

Alloy: Steel

Industry: Other

Challenge:

  • Part was experiencing adhesion problems and flaking of plated material

Solution:

  • Electropolishing removed the layer with embedded contaminants from normal fabrication and lubrication
  • Surface of the wire was smoothed and cycle life of the part was improved

Titanium Part with Heat Tint

Alloy: Titanium

Industry: Medical/Dental

Total Material Removed: .0003"
(or half that amount per surface)

Challenge:

  • From heat treatment, this titanium part had a film of gray, dusty scale
  • Intricate machined features and small holes proved difficult to clean by other metal polishing techniques

Solution:

  • Electropolishing removed a uniform amount of surface metal from the titanium part, achieving a bright and uniform finish free of tint and scale while maintaining tolerance

Titanium Parts for the Medical Industry

Alloy: Titanium

Industry: Medical/Dental

Total Material Removed: .0005"
(or half that amount per surface)

Challenge:

  • Black, amorphous layer created by thread rolling on titanium parts
  • Premature corrosion due to embedded contamination from tooling

Solution:

  • Electropolishing provided a consistent finish acceptable for a part used in a medical or surgical setting and reduced the coefficient of friction, creating a better finish on the thread

Valve Springs Needing Extended Life to Last Through Race

Alloy: Steel

Industry: Automotive

Challenge:

  • Valve Springs needed an extended life to last through high-speed racing

Solution:

  • Customer chose to electropolish the parts, resulting in an extended life without stressing
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