By Pat Hayes, VP Business Development
Electropolishing is an electrochemical process that removes a microscopically precise layer of surface material from a metal part, resulting in an ultrasmooth, defect-free surface and enhanced resistance to corrosion, among other benefits. The process is a preferred finishing method among medical manufacturers due to its ability to improve the durability, cleanability and pathogen-resistance of metal parts.
The Electropolishing Process: How It Works
The electropolishing process involves immersing a metal part in an electrolyte solution while applying an electrical current to the bath. The electrical current reacts with the metal to dissolve surface impurities, removing a rough and uneven surface layer and revealing an ultrasmooth, ultraclean finish.
From microcracks and burrs to other surface defects, electropolishing eliminates impurities and leaves parts with improved cleanability, corrosion resistance, and more for critical metal parts used in the medical industry. Here is an overview of six key benefits.
Benefits of Electropolishing for Medical Manufacturing
- Precise and Effective Removal of Surface Defects
Electropolishing smooths surface imperfections, removing a microscopically precise layer of surface material to eliminate microburrs, microcracks and other defects that can trap bacteria and impede the fit, function and durability of medical devices, implants and surgical tools.
- Increased Corrosion Resistance
Electropolishing significantly improves the corrosion resistance of medical device components, reducing the risk of corrosion-induced failure and extending the life of the device.
- Pathogen Resistance and Cleanability
Electropolished surfaces are ultrasmooth and easy to clean, reducing the risk of contamination and infection. Electropolishing leaves metal surfaces with enhanced resistance to pathogens and has been shown to inhibit the formation of bacterial biofilms that resist cleaning.
- Microscopic Precision and Improved Safety
Able’s ability to provide tight control over our electropolishing process is an advantage to medical device manufacturers. Electropolishing is a precise process that can remove material from a metal component with tolerances of +/- .0001”. By targeting the high points and removing burrs from blades and other surgical instruments, electropolishing reduces the risk of parts breaking off and harming patients.
- Superior Biocompatibility
Electropolishing results in a clean, contaminant-free surface and improved resistance to bacterial growth for biocompatible parts that are safer for internal use.
- Alloy Compatibility
Able’s electropolishing process is effective for specialty alloys like Nitinol and titanium leaving parts for medical implants with an ultrasmooth, ultraclean surface while retaining elasticity and durability.
Able’s electropolishing is compatible with a wide array of other alloys that include:
Certifications & Standards of Electropolishing
At Able Electropolishing, diligent quality control protocols and compliance with internationally recognized standards enable us to provide finishing services for critical parts in industries that include medical device manufacturing and pharmaceutical manufacturing, among many others.
Among the industry standards we meet are:
- ASTM (The American Society for Testing and Materials)
- ASME (Formerly The American Society of Mechanical Engineers)
- ISO 9001 (The International Organization for Standardization)
- ISO 13485 (The International Organization for Standardization)
About Able Electropolishing
Able Electropolishing is the leading provider of electropolishing services for the medical device manufacturing industry, and the world’s largest electropolishing specialist across a wide range of industries with mission-critical parts.
Able Electropolishing’s Trusted Supplier Network offers clients a suite of additional metal manufacturing solutions from providers with the highest standards, providing a one-stop source of finishing needs and logistical support.
To learn more about our solutions for the medical industry, reach out to the Able Electropolishing team to request a free sample of your part, or schedule a technical review of your part.
You can also download our whitepaper: Electropolishing for Safer, Cleaner, More Durable Medical Parts
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