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.
Electropolishing: A Reverse Plating Procedure
Instead of simply adding another layer of metal to a part, electropolishing completely removes the outer surface of a metal part; this is done by employing a combination of electrical current and specialized chemicals.
First, we submerge the metal parts in an electrochemical solution. This process completely dissolves a uniform layer of outer material. This procedure also efficiently removes impurities that exist beneath the surface, leaving the parts with a level, polished and corrosion-resistant surface. Following are a few other benefits of electropolishing.
Surface contaminants can take many forms, but are often characterized as anything from a slight brown “blooming” pattern on the surface to deep pitting, rusty spots or scouring on items such as banisters. These results are often caused by impurities from contact with non-stainless steel materials, but can also be caused by handling or manufacturing stainless steel on non-stainless steel equipment, using non-stainless steel tools or working in "mixed-metal" manufacturing facilities without proper separation and cleaning. If any of the above conditions become wet, rust and other contamination will most likely result.
Electropolishing goes below the surface of the part to remove surface imperfections, but it also dissolves a uniform layer of material—not just the contaminants that lie on the surface. This may include peeling of coating, sharp edges, fractures, burrs, pits and other tiny imperfections not discernible to the naked eye. Eliminating them doesn’t only lessen the chances for bacterial growth and corrosion—it stops it from getting worse over time and affecting part longevity.
For all these reasons, electropolishing is a smart form of insurance against corrosion, but it is also a great investment for extending part reliability and functionality over time. Electropolished metal parts may be less susceptible to premature breakdown and stress, and without peeling or sharp edges, they may perform better, as well.
Call or email Able Electropolishing today to learn more about how our signature metal finishing treatment can remove peeling and enhance your metal parts.