When it comes to the surface finish of metal parts used in pharmaceutical manufacturing, there is a simple standard: it’s got to be perfect.
When it comes to the surface finish of metal parts used in pharmaceutical manufacturing, there is a simple standard: it’s got to be perfect.
It’s “all hands on deck” at Able as we work to electropolish critical metal parts for the manufacturing of medical equipment needed for the COVID-19 outbreak. But not all those hands are human.
The stamping process puts a tremendous amount of pressure on metal parts and can leave behind surface anomalies and defects that affect fit and function.
Adapting to conditions under the coronavirus (COVID-19) threat requires different things from each of us.
In the aerospace industry, the right metal finishing process is not an aesthetic preference – it’s a crucial step for ensuring the safety and durability of flight-critical parts.
Stop by booth #381 Feb. 11-13 at the Medical Design and Manufacturing Conference at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, Calif.
Providing state-of-the-art metal finishing processes for our clients is a process of customization, innovation and commitment. Every part we electropolish or passivate goes through a process of prototyping and testing – including test runs on full production equipment – to ensure precise and consistent results.
Our clients work in some of the most challenging industries you can imagine, designing and manufacturing parts, tools and devices with critically important functions.
The right metal finishing process starts with the right cleaning process to remove grease and other residue left behind in the manufacturing or stamping process.
Pathogen resistance and cleanability are critical features for the makers of medical implants.
CHICAGO - Able Electropolishing, celebrating 65 years in business this year as a family-owned provider of advanced metal finishing technologies to the medical device, aerospace, food manufacturing and automotive industries, among others, is pleased to announce two key promotions.
Manufacturers of medical devices and products for the food industry know that a smooth and shiny finish on metal parts is about more than the way a finished product looks.
At Acme Wire Products, a company that provides custom wire frame products for food service manufacturers, laboratories and other OEMs, a high-quality metal finish is critical for both form and function.
In an era of increasing collaboration between medical device manufacturers and healthcare researchers and providers for “clean design,” electropolishing occupies a unique position as a bridge between design and infection control.
Manufacturing components for the hydraulic and pneumatic industries often involve creating the ideal surface finish: neither too rough nor too smooth. When it comes to surface finish, electropolishing can help manufacturers walk that fine line and achieve the ultimate in function.
Doug Danforth had just retired from a career in banking and was thinking about what to do next. His dogs, it turned out, had the answer.
"People often get ideas in the context of their everyday lives,” says Danforth. “My day-to-day life involved changing the tags on my three dogs, and I dreaded it."
With three dogs in his life, Danforth knew first-hand the shortcomings of the small metal rings used to attach tags to pet collars. The ring was an awkward, nail-breaking design that Danforth says hadn’t been improved upon since it was introduced in the 1800s. "No one likes them," he says.
Stop by booth #1128 at the Medical Design and Manufacturing Conference Oct. 23-24 at the Minneapolis Convention Center.
The design and manufacturing of medical devices is a complex undertaking with patient safety hanging in the balance at every stage in the process.
In addition to the more obvious benefits like a bright, shiny exterior, electropolishing is also an ideal metal finishing process for prolonging the fatigue life of metal parts that are required to remain flexible or bendable. These parts come in many forms, including laser-cut tubes, springs, machined parts, stampings and wire forms.
In the medical field, doctors and other hospital staff use thousands of different instruments every day. To identify and ensure the correct instruments are used for each application, the instruments must have a specific marking on them. Learn more about the benefits of lasermarking for the medical industry, as well as why unique device identifiers are crucial for patient safety, medical staff accountability and overall organization.
On May 14th, 2018, Able Electropolishing broke ground on an expansion of our processing production facility. The construction project, expected to be completed in August of 2018, will effectively increase production capacity to Able Electropolishing's current facility.
If you’re experiencing issues with your metal parts and need a reliable finishing method solution, it can be overwhelming to find the right method to achieve your desired end result.
See how some of the most common finishing methods compare.
When considering a metal finishing process to solve common metal surface problems, submitting a sample for processing can be a great opportunity to learn the types of results the selected method will yield as well as how it will affect your metal components themselves. If you’re working with prototypes, submitting a sample for processing should be your first step to ensure that the process will result in an optimal finish for the intended application. At Able, we run free samples for our signature electropolishing service at no charge. Electropolishing offers a variety of benefits including improved corrosion resistance, deburring, ultracleaning, microfinish improvement, and more. Here are the basics you’ll need to provide when submitting a sample part for processing:
When sending in parts for electropolishing, it is crucial for the parts to be correctly prepared for the process. Since electropolishing is typically the last step in the manufacturing process, proper preparation of parts is crucial for optimal results.
Since its founding in 1954, Able Electropolishing has grown to be the largest electropolishing specialist in the world. Our services are employed by manufacturers who provide parts for a wide range of products – from medical device components to flight critical aerospace components. Below are several reasons to choose Able Electropolishing.
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.
Contamination and particulate buildup are major concerns for manufacturers of components used in nearly any industry. From part performance issues to biocompatibility issues, contamination on parts is a critical matter for manufacturers.
Often the last step in the manufacturing process, electropolishing is a “reverse plating” process that removes the outer skin of metal instead of depositing metal on the surface. . The process removes a uniform layer of metal from parts’ surface to remove surface defects. Using a combination of chemicals and electrical current, electropolishing carefully removes surface imperfections and contaminants from metal parts removing as little as .0002”” up to .003”” (.0001” to .0015” per surface) to produce the desired surface finish
Stained or discolored parts are unsightly at minimum. When used in critical applications such as electronics or consumer products, these stains become even more problematic, affecting performance and overall appearance.
Manufactured parts, whether through stamping, laser cutting, or grinding, often have resulting sharp edges that need to be properly treated before they can be used in their final application
Electropolishing, often the final step in the manufacturing process, can effectively treat sharp edges to achieve the proper finish. Because electropolishing can be used with almost any alloy, including specialty alloys like Nitinol and titanium, it is a preferred finishing method for part engineers and manufacturers.
Whether the final, desired edge is sharp or dull, electropolishing can achieve the desired finish on even the most fragile parts.
Electropolishing is used to improve surface finish and corrosion resistance, enabling parts to perform better and last longer. While there is no unified standard on how to specify electropolishing, there are some best practices that engineers and manufacturers can use to ensure the final finish on their parts meets their specific requirements.
Metal parts develop heat tint and oxide scale during manufacturing when exposed to high heat during welding or heat treating. Electropolishing is an effective process for removing the heat tint and associated oxide scale that results from a part being exposed to high heat. By removing the outer skin of metal, the process exposes the base metal and leaves the part passive and with an aesthetically pleasing finish
The Medical Design & Manufacturing Expo is one of the top events in the industry, well attended by the most innovative suppliers. Able Electropolishing is proud to be participating in this prestigious tradeshow this year, which will be held at the Anaheim Convention Center from Feburary 9-11.
We'll be exhibiting and would love to meet with you to discuss your metal finishing challenges! If you're experiencing any of the following with your parts, stop by our booth:
• micro cracks and burrs
• premature part failure
• inadequate microfinish levels
• surface contaminants
Achieving the necessary finish on metal components is critical for meeting industry standards and ensuring part performance. However, part manufacturers and engineers often underestimate the requirements needed to achieve that perfect finish on both the macro and micro level.
Passivation is an acid-cleaning process designed to remove free iron from the surface of stainless steels. This process is an essential step in removing foreign matter from the surface of the metal and creating a chromium-rich layer that is resistant to corrosion. The process effectively prolongs the part’s lifespan. Passivation can be the differentiating factor between acceptable performance and untimely part breakdown.
Since electropolishing is a metal removal process that occurs after machining, engineers sometimes ask, “Will electropolishing destroy my threads?” The answer is no, as long as the process is performed correctly. Oftentimes threads are actually improved after electropolishing.
A burr is a raised, rough portion found on the surface of metal parts. This condition is commonly created as a result of machining operations such as cutting, stamping, grinding, milling or broaching.
A major ice cream manufacturer an recently recalled all products when two ice cream samples tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes, (listeria), a food-borne bacteria that causes a serious, sometimes fatal infection if ingested. This listeria outbreak has prompted several food production facilities to recall their frozen treats and ice creams that had already been shipped to 23 states.
If you’re considering the benefits that electropolishing can impart on metal parts and components, this helpful infographic can explain some of the reasons why so many people and businesses choose this process.
When finishing stainless steel, there are several key points to be aware of. Like all metal alloys, stainless steel requires unique finishing to attain the desired surface finish. Understanding the composition of the particular stainless steel alloy, how different finishing methods interact with that alloy, and what effects you are looking to achieve are critical to attaining the proper finish for your components.
Stainless steel components can be treated in a number of ways to lengthen their useful life, but the right choice may depend on the grade of stainless steel. What should manufacturers consider when they need to finish 416 or 440c stainless steel?
As a general rule, if metal surfaces are kept sanitary and have an adequate supply of oxygen to preserve their protective layer, they will most likely be able to resist imbedded and surface contaminants for quite a while. Still in most cases, peeling of plating or other coated materials; rust, corrosion and the introduction of other imbedded contaminants can always arise. In certain applications, especially those requiring ultra high purity, this can pose a problem. Electropolishing can help.
When stainless steel is heated, either in a furnace or in a heat-affected zone (such as welding), the colorization that can sometimes appear is known as heat tint. Often times, when heat tint is present, chromium-rich outer layer is formed. This will most likely affect the part’s corrosion resistance over time.
If you are involved in the electronics industry, you know that manufacturers are always searching for new ways to enhance conductivity and equipment performance. It’s possible to greatly diminish the chance of performance failures like arcing or current flow interruption by maintaining a smooth surface that is free of burrs, and other imperfections.
Bonds created by welding (in HAZ-heat affected zones) can be extremely strong, but as anyone in the industry knows, heat application can sometimes result in discoloration. This discoloration often takes the form of a “rainbow” pattern of various colors, but can also appear as a dark or medium gray stain.
Unfortunately, there is no metal that exists (even stainless steel, despite the name) that is completely protected from staining and discoloration. If it is exposed to air, every type of metal can develop stains that can lead to rusting and corrosion in time. But that is no reason to discard this valuable material. At Able Electropolishing, we have been restoring and prolonging the life of metal parts for almost 60 years. Our qualified engineers and technicians are here to listen to your concerns and offer the best possible solution.
When working with new or raw materials, it often becomes necessary to hone these materials to a specific size. Compared to similar processes, electropolishing is a quick, cost-effective way to achieve customized results.
Back in the 1950s when it was developed, the electropolishing process earned its name because of the unmistakable bright, shiny finish that it left behind. While certainly a valuable aesthetic benefit and one that enhances appearance and consumer value, the attractive, chrome-like finish of electropolishing is just the beginning.
As anyone who works with metal can attest to, metal parts, have an inherent value; regardless of their current condition, size or shape. Often times, metal parts can be salvaged or repurposed to preform new tasks.
At times you may have found that your stainless steel bolts and nuts twist off during installation or find that the bolt's threads are failing to fit together with the threading of the nut. This is known as “thread galling.”
Fissures are long, fine cracks than can quickly become a serious problem, affecting both part performance and worker safety.
At Able Electropolishing, our advanced metal treatment techniques can remove micro-cracks that may impede the performance of many metal parts. For 60 years, our services have helped prolong equipment lifespan and increase safety for a wide variety of industries.
In order to prolong their life cycle and perform optimally over time, metal parts must remain in optimal condition. During machining or stamping parts may develop sharp edges and burrs, putting them and the people who use them at risk. Electropolishing, a technology used since the 1950s, is effective in applying a sling radius and deburring metal parts which has benefited industries such as medical, dental, aerospace, automotive, pharmaceutical and many more. At Able Electropolishing, we have been experts in this field for 60 years, and can break it down for you, step by step.
If metal surfaces are kept clean and have a sufficient supply of oxygen to maintain their protective layer, they will usually maintain resistance to imbedded and surface contaminants for some time. However, corrosion can always occur with the severity dependent on how stable the environment is.
Imperfections in the surface of a metal part can create a variety of problems, from premature failure as a result micro cracks to corrosion. Electropolishing is well suited for eliminating these flaws and preventing these results from occurring. During electropolishing, the transfer of metal ions occurs most quickly on the edges or corners of metal parts. The density of the electrochemical power is most concentrated on the high points of the object. This explains how electropolishing (often referred to as “reverse plating”) quickly removes metal at these points. Following is a more in-depth process overview.
At Able Electropolishing, we offer our electropolishing service for a wide variety of common and specialty alloys, including stainless and carbon steel, titanium, aluminum, copper and nickel alloys, as well as Nitinol, Tungsten and other specialty alloys. Electropolishing offers better protection and enhanced performance than other methods such as passivation. Other benefits include:
There are many industries that use electropolishing so their parts continue to perform optimally. Preventing contamination, unexpected failures, and costly complications due to corrosion and tarnishing of metals is possible with electropolishing.
During manufacturing, metal parts may be subjected to processes that create burrs. Burrs are most commonly characterized as raised edges or small pieces of material that remain attached to an object after a reformation procedure. Burrs usually appear after machining operations such as stamping, drilling, milling, rolling, grinding, engraving or turning.
Metal pickling and electropolishing are both metal finishing treatments that can remove surface impurities and contaminants. However, electropolishing continuously proves to be the leading treatment for metal parts made from both specialty and common alloys. Read on to learn about metal pickling and electropolishing, as well as why electropolishing is the most beneficial treatment for parts.
Tumbling and electropolishing are two finishing treatments that are used to polish metal parts. Want to learn more about tumbling vs. electropolishing? Examine each process below, as well as the benefits, to determine which one is most advantageous for your parts.
Mechanical polishing is a manual process performed on individual parts, while electropolishing can be performed on multiple parts at one time. Wondering which treatment provides better results? Follow our guides of the processes of each treatment, as well as the benefits for both.
Metal plating and electropolishing can both be used to enhance metal parts. Electropolishing will delay the corrosion properties of copper, brass, aluminum and carbon steels and is commonly utilized in conjunction with plating techniques. Want to know more about how electropolishing can improve metal parts and be utilized in addition to metal plating treatments? Examine our guide on both metal treatments.
With so many metal finishing treatments available, many companies are wondering which would be most advantageous for their parts. Blasting and electropolishing are two common finishing procedures used to enhance metal parts. Wondering which treatment will work best for your metal parts? See the attached explanations of both blasting and electropolishing, as well as the benefits of each.
As companies examine ways to enhance their metal parts, they will be able to choose from a variety of metal finishing treatments, including vibratory polishing and electropolishing. Each process utilizes different methods to polish parts. They also provide varying results. Wondering whether you should submit metal parts for vibratory polishing or electropolishing? Find out which finishing method proves to be most beneficial and effective.
As metal parts are fabricated, they undergo a variety of metalworking processes that can introduce burrs. Untreated metal parts may have jagged edges that can pose a risk to parts’ quality and safety. Deburring with use of electropolishing provides the needed solution. This metal finishing treatment enhances parts’ performance, improves part appearance, all while maintaining the parts’ shape without warping or distortion. Want to learn more about deburring? Examine the following benefits of this metal finishing operation.
Laser marking is a process in which a laser beam is used to mark machined metal parts. Wondering if laser marking is right for your metal parts? Learn about the process, as well as its benefits.
Passivation is a metal finishing treatment that companies utilize to protect and enhance parts against corrosion.. To begin passivation, metal parts are placed into a basket and then submerged into a bath of nitric or citric acid. The concentration of the acid removes free iron and other foreign material deposited during part machining. Passivation is simply utilized to remove surface impurities and provide some corrosion resistance. While passivated parts do have a light level of cleansing, they often require additional processes, such as electropolishing, for more intense removal of surface contaminants.
Laser marking can be used to engrave designs, labels, textures and, most commonly, identification markings into metal parts. This process is utilized by a variety of industries for simple product identification, improved product traceability and safety, organizational purposes, and much more. Learn more about the laser marking process and how can be advantageous for your metal parts.
Electrochemical polishing, which is commonly referred to as simply “electropolishing,” is the process of removing a uniform layer of surface material from metal parts to enhance them for corrosion resistance, as well as improved performance and part lifecycle. Many companies utilize electrochemical polishing as the “final step” in the manufacturing process. Wondering how this metal finishing treatment works? Learn more from our guide on electrochemical polishing.
Metal parts need to be in exceptional condition for enhanced performance and cycle-life value. Without a proper finishing treatment, your parts could be at risk. The solution? Electropolishing. Companies in industries like aerospace, automotive, dental, medical, pharmaceutical and more utilize electropolishing as the “final step” of the manufacturing process to enhance the performance of their metal parts. At Able Electropolishing, we understand electropolishing may seem confusing, which is why we’ve broken down the process step by step.
If you aren't familiar with electropolishing, the differences between this process and the passivation process may not be immediately clear. While both are metal finishing operations that treat parts in a chemical solution and improve corrosion resistance, they are drastically different in many other ways. From the metals these processes can treat to the benefits they provide, electropolishing and passivation are considerably different.
Whether for internal or external use, a system of identification is highly useful for distinguishing like parts. Establishing and adhering to such a system enables you to quickly and easily organize metal parts, but you must ensure that your method is useful under different conditions. Printed sticker labels or tags, for example, can wear off over time especially when exposed to moisture. A process like laser marking, on the other hand, is a permanent solution.
The electropolishing process is renowned for its ability to improve a metal part's microfinish, reducing the surface irregularities and imperfections to create a smoother, better-performing part. Because electropolishing is more precise than other metal polishing methods, it can be used to remove a small amount of surface material, reducing the microfinish value as much as necessary without altering the size and shape of the part more than its tolerances allow.
While its benefits include improving corrosion resistance and eliminating surface contamination, one of the most immediately recognizable benefits of electropolishing is decorative. This is because the electropolishing process actually strips away a consistent layer of surface metal from a part, eliminating a wide variety of surface impurities like embedded scale, heat discoloration, debris, oils and more.
Medical devices, tools and implantable items are used for highly sensitive procedures, and therefore must be expertly finished before they are utilized. Burrs on a cutting implement can break off inside a patient, an implantable device can corrode inside the body and a critical mechanical device can seize up and jam when it's needed the most. To avoid the bodily harm that can result from improperly finished parts, medical device electropolishing is becoming increasingly popular. What does this process do, though, that makes it suitable for such important tools and devices?
Metal parts used by the food and beverage industries are subjected to heavy use, harsh environments and potentially corrosive cleaning chemicals on a regular basis. Because of this, these industries rely heavily on metal finishing operations that can improve the life of their parts while ensuring their safety and aesthetics. Does electropolishing provide the benefits that they need?
In addition to electropolishing, titanium can benefit from a range of other finishing treatments, including color anodizing. Titanium anodizing is a process that builds up a layer of oxide on the surface of the metal part, which causes an interference in reflecting lights that creates a colorful appearance. Unlike dyes or coatings, anodizing doesn’t add any foreign materials to your parts—and its benefits go beyond the cosmetic.
Even a metal part that looks flawless to the naked eye can have micro imperfections that drastically shorten its fatigue life. Parts that bend and flex, like springs, are particularly vulnerable to the notch effect, which can cause part failure before they last as long as estimated. What is the notch effect, exactly, and how can electropolishing stainless steel and other metal parts prevent it from causing premature part failure?
When comparing electropolishing to other metal finishing operations, like plating and coatings, one frequently asked question is whether it wears off over time. The finish resulting from electropolishing will last indefinitely and will not chip, peel or abrade like platings and coatings. If over time, as a result of physical damage, the electropolished surface requires refurbishing or re-machining, there is nothing to strip or remove prior to accomplishing this.
Not all metal parts are well-suited for conventional tumbling, vibratory finishing techniques or manual metal polishing. They may be too small, too complex or too delicate for those methods to be effectively utilized. The question that some may have, though, is when are parts too small for electropolishing and is there a method in which parts are processed in a bulk fashion?
Chemical passivation is frequently used to increase the corrosion resistance of stainless steel by eliminating free iron and other surface contaminants. Despite the process's history and widespread use as a method for improving part longevity in corrosive environments, its ineffectiveness is causing engineers to look for other methods to protect their parts from corrosion.
When metal parts are stamped or machined, they may be left with ragged edges and burrs that impede their performance. Burrs on a sharp metal cutting implement, for example, may hinder its ability to cut smoothly. Burrs may also break off during use, posing hazards when metal tools are used in medical or food applications—broken-off flecks of metal could make their way into food or a medical patient.
Able recently received the coveted ISO 13485 certification. Awarded only to select companies, the certification is considered to be the gold standard for manufactured medical devices, worldwide.
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