| Medical | Materials | Manufacturing & Prototyping

What it Does, How it Works

Electropolishing is often referred to as a “reverse plating” process. Electrochemical in nature, electropolishing uses a combination of rectified current and a blended chemical electrolyte bath to remove flaws from the surface of a metal part.

Since the development of electropolishing in the 1950s, substantial refinements have taken place. Able Electropolishing has numerous electrolytes to allow for electropolishing on a broad range of metals. These newer electrolytes, combined with advanced parts handling techniques, have improved production yields on a wide range of metal products.

While electropolishing is best known for the bright polish left on a surface, there are some important, often overlooked, benefits of this metal finishing method. These benefits include deburring, microfinish improvement, ultraclean finishing, improved corrosion resistance, and others. These multiple benefits are highly desirable to design and manufacturing engineers because the one operation can cut cost and time which is critical in today’s marketplace.

The typical electropolishing installation is deceptively similar to a plating line. A power source converts AC current to DC at low voltages. A rubber-lined tank, usually fabricated from steel, is used to hold the chemical bath.

A series of copper or stainless steel cathode plates are lowered into the bath and installed to the negative (-) side of the power source. A part or group of parts is fixed to a rack made of titanium, copper, or bronze. That rack in turn is fixed to the positive (+) side of the power source. The metal part is charged positive (anodic) and immersed into the chemical bath.

Able specializes in providing electropolishing services for a variety of common and specialty metal alloys. Here are some alloys that can be electropolished: 200-300 Series stainless steels, 400 Series stainless steels, precipitating hardening grades, unusual stainless steels, copper alloys, tool steels, aluminum, titanium, nitinol, specialty alloys, nickel alloys, specialty steels, and carbon steels.