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Which is Better for Which Application? Mechanical Polishing or Electropolishing

Mechanical polishing is the mechanical smoothing and removal of contaminants. It involves grinding, polishing and buffing of the surface. This process is used to smooth out welds, prepare metal surfaces for electropolishing or provide a surface with a specified roughness.  Allegheny Surface Technology (AST) employs experienced and highly skilled craftsmen who have the training and certification to perform this service at any facility.

Our state of the art polishing facility and equipment enable us to consistently achieve your surface requirements, as fine as single digit Ra readings. We are able to work on OEM parts as well as refurbished used vessels and equipment in-house and on-site. Allegheny Surface Technology can also perform compound – free mechanical polishing, a requirement in several pharmaceutical applications.

The techniques available are:

  • Abrasive belt polishing
  • Abrasive wheel polishing including nylon, flap and combination wheels
  • Automated and hand polishing equipment
  • Custom machinery for OD and ID polishing of tubular work pieces.

Electropolishing is an electrochemical process that smoothes the surface by removing the peaks on a nanoscopic level (anodic leveling). This enhances the corrosion resistance of austenitic stainless steels, and in some applications also reduces product adhesion and contamination buildup. Electropolishing may also be used for deburring and dulling sharp edges. The result is often a lustrous and reflective finish.

Which is better? Electropolishing:  The CLEAR advantage

Electropolishing typically creates a bright, smooth, and more highly corrosion resistant, sanitary finish. Other advantages of electropolishing include:

  • Reducing the surface area on a microscopic level. This reduces product adhesion and contamination build-up, and cleaning can be performed more efficiently.
  • Electropolishing has been proven to reduce bacterial biofilm build-up and the appearance of rouging.
  • De-burring- The electropolishing process naturally has greater current densities at high points and less at low points. Due to the higher current densities at the high points, the burrs are removed at a much faster rate, leading to a smooth clean surface.
  • Aesthetics- Through proper electropolishing, the microscopic surface becomes smooth and clean, containing a nickel-chromium enriched surface that results in a lustrous finish. This facilitates a visual inspection since any remaining imperfections will be magnified.

Have more questions? Feel free to contact one of our Mechanical Polishing & Electopolishing specialists by calling (866) 266-9293, or Request a Quote right here on our website.

Allegheny Surface Technology is your trusted provider of high-performance, ASTM and BPE compliant electropolishing, passivation, pickling, and mechanical polishing services. Specializing in both in-house and on-site metal surface refinishing/refurbishment services, AST assures both the quality and reliability of its services through multi-step Quality Assurance and inspection protocols.

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