Metal parts used in food processing machinery, including cutting blades, mixing tanks, and fittings face constant exposure to corrosive substances such as salts, acids and moisture, in addition to aggressive cleaning methods.
How can food manufacturers ensure defect free metal parts that hold up under such conditions?
Many turn to electropolishing for its ability to eliminate metal surface defects (improving Ra up to 50%) and leave parts with a corrosion and pathogen-resistant surface that is also ultra-smooth for cleanability.
Research has shown that an electropolished surface is more effective at repelling both the adherence of bacteria and the process by which some bacteria – including salmonella, E. coli and listeria – organize into a biofilm of connecting cells that is especially resistant to normal washing procedures. Such biofilms may also play a role in enabling other harmful microbes to become attached.
Electropolishing can also provide enhanced durability and fatigue life, for added protection against degradation and breakdown.
Electropolishing for Increased Safety & Longevity
Electropolishing uses an electrochemical process that combines an electric current and a chemical bath, to eliminate surface defects including microcracks, pits, burrs, and deposits left behind by manufacturing processes. It’s effective for parts made of stainless steel and other alloys commonly found in the food manufacturing industry.
Electropolishing leaves metal parts with enhanced finish, fit and function – along with a bright and shiny appearance. Here’s an overview of the benefits:
One of the key benefits of electropolishing is its ability to significantly enhance the corrosion resistance of metal parts. This is particularly important in food processing, where equipment must endure frequent and aggressive cleaning to prevent bacterial build-up and cross-contamination.
By creating a smoother surface, electropolishing also eliminates flaws that can become initiation sites for corrosion. Electropolishing improves corrosion resistance 30% more than passivation alone, while also passivating parts in the process.
An electropolished surface is less hospitable to the growth of pathogens, which is crucial in preventing the formation of biofilms — structures that can make bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella more resistant to standard cleaning methods.
Research by the U.S. Department of Agriculture has shown that electropolished surfaces offer greater resistance to these biofilms, making them ideal for high-risk environments like meat processing.
The ultra-smooth surface finish that electropolishing leaves behind improves cleanability and eliminates cracks and crevices where debris and pathogens can hide.
While functionality and safety are priorities, the aesthetic appeal of electropolished food processing equipment conveys and promotes cleanliness.
The Able Electropolishing Difference in Food Processing
Able Electropolishing is committed to providing food processors with the highest quality metal finishing results and customer service. As a pioneer of electropolishing with seven decades of experience, our processes have been honed in collaboration with engineers across industries, including food and beverage processing and meat and poultry processing, among others.
To learn more about how electropolishing can improve your metal parts for food processing, download our whitepaper on how electropolishing reduces bacterial cross-contamination or contact one of our electropolishing experts.