Electropolish for a shiny smooth surface

Nov. 22, 2001
An associate at Fort Wayne Anodizing finishes the electropolishing process and prepares the parts for anodizing.

An associate at Fort Wayne Anodizing finishes the electropolishing process and prepares the parts for anodizing. FWA's electropolishing operation puts a high-luster finish on stamped, machined, and extruded parts.

Electropolishing smooths, polishes, deburrs, and cleans steel, stainless steel, and copper or aluminum alloys in an electrolytic bath. It selectively removes high points on metal surfaces, giving parts a high-luster surface finish that won't chip or flake. As a manufacturing process it's said to be preferable to older methods such as "brite dip" which are corrosive and require extra safety precautions.

The aluminum parts are immersed in a electrolytic liquid and subjected to direct current. The direct current flows from the part or anode polarizing it. The metal ions subsequently diffuse through the film to the cathode, removing metal at a controlled rate. Cathodes are commonly 316 stainless steel.

Conventional mechanical-finishing systems tend to smear, bend, stress, and sometimes fracture metal surfaces to impart smoothness or luster. In contrast, electropolish removes metal from surfaces, producing a unidirectional pattern that is both stress and occlusion free. Electropolished surfaces are also microscopically smooth, and highly reflective. They deburr quickly. The current density on the burr is high compared to adjacent surface valleys which are shielded by oxygen during the process.

The combination of no directional lines plus a surface relatively devoid of hydrogen gives a hygienically clean surface where no bacteria or dirt can multiply or accumulate.

For additional information: Fort Wayne Anodizing Co., Fort Wayne, Ind. www.fortwayneanodizing.com

Qualities and benefits:

  • Removes oxides
  • Hygienically clean surface
  • Reduces friction
  • Both polishes and deburrs odd shaped parts
  • Radiuses or sharpens edges, depending on rack position

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