The Electropolishing process cleans and polishes metal in a special electro-chemical solution. An electrical current passes through a chemical bath, dissolving a small amount of smear metal from the surface, leaving a smooth, shiny finish. The current is greatest on the outside edges and corners of parts, which are left especially smooth. The longer the process is applied, the greater the amount of metal that is removed: holes can be enlarged, threads can be rounded, and sharp edges can be smoothed. Electropolishing is used on a variety of metals, including stainless steel, brass, aluminum, copper and other high-grade steels. It is an excellent finishing process for fine parts, because no vibration or tumbling is involved.
Because the part is bathed in oxygen, hydrogen is removed from the surface, thereby acting as a stress relieving anneal. In addition, the electropolished surface, being free of hydrogen greatly reduces the possibility of bacterial growth. Electropolishing is the best choice when contamination cannot be tolerated.
APPLICATIONSThis process is ideal for food processing and food handling equipment, semiconductor equipment, springs, delicate stampings, gears and splines. Electropolishing is not right for every part, so it is important to consult one of our application specialist about new applications you are considering.
Electropolishings primary function is to improve parts cosmetically. It cleans, polishes and brightens stainless steel in a way that no other process can, and also removes small burrs. The results, easily visible to the naked eye, make extra finishing operations and costs unnecessary. Intricate components requiring microfinishes are greatly improved. As a result, friction, leakage and wear problems can be eliminated.
Stainless steel, known for its excellent corrosion resistance, will corrode when impurities are left on the surface of the metal. Electropolishing dissolves a minute layer of the parts surface metal. Impurities are removed and the surface is left brighter, passivated and protected from rust.
Components subjected to repeated stress, such as springs and delicate stampings, have a tendency to prematurely crack and wear. Removing surface defects prolongs service life. Electropolishing can salvage oversized gears and splines which often grow during heat treating by restoring them to their original size.
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