Electropolishing, also called electrochemical polishing, anodic polishing, or electrolytic polishing, is best understood as the reverse of electroplating—i.e., it is an electrolytic finishing process that removes the surface layers of metal (most commonly stainless steel). Compared to mechanical polishing techniques, the method achieves superior surface finishes with greater corrosion resistance and durability.
The electropolishing process involves passing an electric current between positive (anode) and negative (cathode) terminals immersed in a chemical electrolyte solution. A standard finishing operation typically includes the following steps:
The longer the stainless steel part is subjected to the electropolishing process, the greater the amount of material removed from its surface.
Electropolishing provides several benefits to metal parts, including:
HIGHER QUALITY SURFACE FINISHES
Compared to mechanical finishing methods, the electropolishing process removes more surface imperfections (such as roughness, burrs, and cracks) and microscopic irregularities (both high points and micro-depressions) on the part to achieve a more aesthetic, smooth, and level surface.
BETTER CORROSION RESISTANCE
Stainless steel electropolishing improves the metal’s corrosion resistance by removing impurities lodged on the surface.
LONGER SERVICE LIVES
As electropolished parts are not subjected to mechanical polishing, they accumulate less fatigue prior to use, resulting in longer service lives.
GREENER FINISHING OPTION
Electropolishing does not require the use of harsh chemicals, making it a safer and more environmentally friendly alternative to other finishing processes.
The electropolishing process is suitable for finishing a wide range of materials. In addition to stainless steel, companies use the process to finish aluminum, brass, copper, nickel, titanium, and many other metals and alloys. Some of the industries that use electropolishing are:
For over four decades, FZE Manufacturing has machined and manufactured parts, components, and end products for customers across a broad range of industries, including:
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