We make many products out of stainless steel and offer an electropolish finish for stainless steel products. Customers often ask what electropolishing is and what the process entails. This blog covers electropolishing in general and specifically, our process.
Electropolishing is sometimes described as the reverse of plating because material is removed from the surface of the part in electropolishing as opposed to adding material during plating. However, this description is often lacking and incomplete.
Electropolishing is an electrochemical process. At the microscopic level, the process smooths out the surface. Also, the process removes iron at the surface. Ion migration removes iron at the surface. The result is that the chromium to iron ratio is improved at the surface resulting in improved corrosion resistance. In addition, the surface is less susceptible to bacteria buildup. An oxygen enriched, hydrogen depleted layer develops at the surface of the part. Because the product is smoother at the microscopic level, it is easier to clean. Electropolishing is commonly used in the medical, semiconductor, and foodservice industries.
At Pronto, we have our own electropolish line so that we can efficiently eletropolish stainless steel. Like all metal finishing, electropolish begins with cleaning the wire or metal product. Products first go into a heated tank containing a caustic cleaner. This tank removes all of the machine oil and dirt from the product.
After that, the product goes into an acid pickle bath that is used to remove weld scale from the product. It is critical to the electropolishing product that we remove all oil, dirt, and weld scale so that the electropolishing tanks can perform their job adequately.
Next are the electropolish tanks. These tanks are also heated and contain a mix of phosphoric and sulfuric acid. The products serve as an anode and cathodes are placed on each side of the product. A current is then applied, which causes the electropolishing process.
The next step is that the products go into a nitric acid tank to remove any iron that may still be at the surface. Finally, the products go into rinse tanks to be cleaned.
For more information on electropolishing wire products or metal products, contact us now at [email protected].