Electropolishing: Smoothing The Surface

For fabricators, various methods are available for polishing or finishing the surface of a metal. Buffing is always a possibility for removing such flaws as spikes and burrs. Passivation, grinding and blasting are other potential solutions to rough and uneven metal surfaces. However, a favorite method for achieving that almost flawless metal surface is none of the above. To achieve this goal, many companies turn to electropolising services.

Defining Electropolishing

Electropolishing, also known as electrolytic polishing, is the antithesis of electroplating – another common fabrication process. Electropolishing employs an anodic dissolution of that specific metal in an electrolytic cell to smooth or brighten the metal surface. This process is anodic oxidation and occurs on the exterior surface of the metal. The intent is to provide the metal surface with an aesthetically pleasing, smooth and polished appearance.

What Does Electropolishing Do?

The aim of electropolishing is simple. It is to free the surface of the metal component or item of any imperfection providing it with a smooth appearance. Electropolishing accomplishes this by removing:

  • Elemental iron
  • Embedded particles
  • Ingrained inclusions

Essentially, electropolishing produces decorative work. As the mainstay of various commercial goods that need to look as good as they perform, electropolishing has provided that gleam to basic cookery items e.g. pots, pans, as well as fountain pens. However, more recently, the process has changed focus. Companies such as those who are in the food, pharmaceutical, medical, and semiconductor industries are turning to electropolishing services to provide products that have improved surface qualities in the following areas:

  • Cleanliness
  • Reflectivity
  • Smoothness
  • Passivity

Such results are increasingly becoming desirable as many specialist-manufacturing concerns focus on cleanliness.

When Fabricators Prefer Electroplating

If a fabricator wants to clean off the edges, he or she may use buffing or a similar method. Yet, if the demand is for the finishing of an irregular or complex shaped item, the fabricator will prefer to use electropolishing. Buffing simply cannot deliver the high quality results electroplating can in such instances. For some things such as laboratory and medical instruments and equipment, only electropolishing will achieve the standards required by regulatory bodies and end-users.

Electropolishing Services

At one time, electropolishing was the glamor child of the fabrication industry. Its purpose was to add that shine, gleam and brightness to cookware and other related items. Today, the process provides so much more than this. Electropolishing services are a prerequisite for producing the right properties in the fine, complex components or instruments used in the medical field and laboratory settings.

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