Often the final step in the manufacturing process, electropolishing offers manufacturers and metalworking shops an array of benefits including enhanced corrosion resistance, fatigue life and microfinish improvement, deburring and more. However, some of these benefits can be negated if parts are improperly packaged when sent for electropolishing or after undergoing electropolishing.
Why Proper Packaging is Critical
Because improper packaging can cause potentially irreversible damages to components, it’s critical that part manufacturers determine the necessary packaging solution for their parts before sending them in for electropolishing. Likewise, they need to determine the best way to ship the parts back after electropolishing.
When determining the proper packaging method, it’s important to consider the cost and time that is involved in trying to repair damaged parts. Many companies are “penny wise and dollar foolish” when it comes to packaging. By the time parts are ready to be sent for electropolishing, a lot of time and money have been invested to produce the parts. If parts are received damaged, they would have to be returned for a secondary operation to repair any damage incurred. In some cases the parts are out of tolerance and must be scrapped and remade which can lead to long delays and potential lost business.
Packaging Parts Pre-Electropolishing
Parts can easily get scratches or nicks from coming into contact with each other. This damage will not be removed during electropolishing and will be magnified through the process. Since electropolished parts have a bright and shiny finish, nicks and scratches will stand out, making the problem even more visible.
While parts like fasteners and wire forms may be fine with bulk packaging, more sophisticated parts should be packaged separately to avoid damage from part-to-part contact. This is especially critical for fragile parts.
Whether wrapped in newspaper or tissue, individually bagged, or in cell trays, proper packaging of parts pre-electropolishing will ensure the parts will benefit the most from the process. Although specialty packaging adds an additional cost upfront, the potential costs of improper packaging will be much higher.
Packaging Parts Post-Electropolishing
Just as packaging parts for electropolishing is important, properly packaging parts once electropolished is even more important and should be addressed before parts are sent for processing. Can the original packaging be reused or is it necessary to send additional clean packaging? Once electropolishing has been performed, it is necessary to pack the parts so they are received damage-free as well as clean so that the passivity is not compromised.
This is especially important when processing parts for the medical, dental and pharmaceutical industries, for example. In these instances, specialty packaging is critical to ensure that the final parts arrive in the desired condition. Proper packaging ensures that the parts retain their ultraclean and sanitary finish.
How to Ensure Proper Packaging
The best way to ensure your parts are properly packaged is to discuss with an electropolishing specialist at Able. Understanding the journey of your parts and their final application will help determine the best way to package your parts pre and post electropolishing.
If you already have established packaging requirements make sure to include the instructions on your P.O. along with any other pertinent processing information and part drawing. By including proper paperwork, you will avoid delays in engineering and processing your order.