Electropolishing (electrolytic polishing) is an electrochemical process by which surface material is removed by anodic dissolution.
Electropolishing provides clean and smooth surface. Micro-peaks and valleys are levelled.
The electropolishing process of stainless steel is performed in large tubs with 4,3 m3 capacity each. Thanks to the specially designed “racks” and one additional electrode we are able to electropolish various parts of complex external and internal shape. For all our electropolishing processes we use demineralised water only. We also take advantage of specific chemicals and ecological solutions that is why the whole surface treatment process is carried out safely and lets you save your money.
We can perform the electropolishing for pieces with the maximum dimensions as shown in the table below:
Description of the electropolishing process:
To some extent, sharp peaks of surface irregularities will be smoothed out. This reduces the roughness of the surface and among other things has a positive influence over the decrease of the coefficient of friction, gives the surface more shine and makes the cleaning process of electropolished parts easy. Nowadays, the most commonly electropolished industrial parts made of stainless steel are various types of tanks, components of technological systems for food, pharmaceutical, cosmetic and chemical industry as well as some medical instruments. There are still some industry-specific applications for products which must undergo the electropolishing treatment. These parts are for example components and small parts for aerospace industry or bodies of vacuum pumps.
The final result of the electropolishing process depends on many factors, for example on the type and shape of the parts to be electropolished, current density, duration and temperature of the process, hydrodynamic factors, capacity and shape of the electrolyser, cathode size, distance between anode and cathode or the location of the anode – according to the technologist and constructor, Mr. Grzegorz Boguta – the bath composition and process parameters must be each time optimized for the specific type and grade of steel. You must also take into consideration the way in which the parts have been manufactured prior to electropolishing and that the surface must be appropriately prepared for this kind of treatment. The possibility of surface treatment of even geometrically complex shapes and wide application of stainless steel is the reason why in specialised plants focusing on electrochemical surface treatment there are many thousands of parts which undergo electropolishing process each year.
As far as the electropolishing of stainless steel is concerned this surface treatment process leads to an increase of atomic concentration on metal surface. Thanks to that, the surface of steel will undergo additional hardening. The electropolishing is a rather delicate process in comparison to the steel to be treated – adds Mr. Grzegorz Boguta. Characteristic of the electropolishing is the fact that only those irregularities of the metal surface which are elevated above the average in the microscopic scale. The macroscopic surface structure remains completely unaffected by this process. All fine details of the parts remain unaltered whereas in the microscopic scale the surface is smoothed out and looks glossy. Thanks to that process the metal surface gains aesthetic look and, what is more, it is easy to keep clean what is of utmost importance for medical instrument, in food, pharmaceutical, cosmetic and electronic industry. The mechanical hardness of steel does not influence the efficiency of the electropolishing process and therefore the costs and duration of this surface treatment process, contrary to other traditional methods, does not depend on surface hardness reached on previous production steps. Because the electropolished parts are not subject to mechanical and heat stress as well as this treatment process does not have a chemical influence on the steel surface, this method can be successfully used for parts with various shapes and sizes.