// HOW THE FOOD INDUSTRY BENEFITS FROM ELECTROPOLISHING
Food service equipment manufacturing and electropolishing go hand in hand. Quite often, the various
products manufactured for food service applications are formed, spun, drawn, stamped, cut, machined or
welded from a stainless steel, such as 304, 316, 420 or 430. Products created for use in food service are
sometimes said to be made from “Food Grade Stainless.” What this typically means is that the stainless
steel has undergone a finishing operation such as passivation or electropolishing to enhance cleanliness
and corrosion resistance. In the case of electropolishing, one also receives the added benefits of microfinish improvement and deburring.
In the world of food service equipment manufacturing, corrosion resistance and cleanability are key. Electropolishing helps insure that both of these requirements are met. When a part is electropolished, the
microscopic high points of the surface are removed at a faster rate. Sometimes referred to as “surface
leveling,” electropolishing smoothes part surfaces, giving food particles and bacteria less places to harbor
or stick to. According to research done by the USDA’s ARS (Agricultural Research Service), electropolished
surfaces perform better up against mechanically polished surfaces in terms of bacterial biofilm buildup in
theory because of the electrochemical nature of the electropolishing process and the fact that bacteria are
negatively charged. Electropolishing to a smoother surface ensures that there is less build-up in the first
place and the products are easier to wipe down and quicker to clean at the end of the day.
Food service equipment is constantly being cleaned—often with harsh, chlorine containing chemicals which
cause crevice corrosion and pitting on stainless steel. In addition, welded components are subject to intergranular corrosion, also referred to as “weld decay,” which is corrosion occurring in the heat affected zones.
Electropolishing helps prevent against both types of corrosion. The electropolishing process removes
embedded particulate, weld tint/scale, free iron and more. At the same time, electropolishing enhances
the chromium to iron ratio on the surface and restores the passive layer which makes the stainless stand
up longer to corrosive conditions. The icing on the cake is that the final product, in addition to functioning
better, will have a bright and uniform appearance and will look that much better when your client is deciding
which equipment to purchase. It’s no wonder many food service equipment manufacturers use electropolishing as a final finishing step in their process.