// HOW IT WORKS
The typical electropolishing installation is deceptively
similar to a plating line. A power source converts AC
current to DC at low voltages. A rubber-lined tank,
usually fabricated from steel, is used to hold the
A series of copper or stainless steel cathode plates
are lowered into the bath and installed to the negative
(-) side of the power source. A part or group of parts
is fixed to a rack made of titanium, copper or bronze.
That rack in turn is fixed to the positive (+) side of the
As the adjoining illustration depicts, the metal part
is charged positive (anodic) and immersed into the
When current is applied, the electrolyte acts as a conductor to allow metal ions to be removed from the
part. While the ions are drawn toward the cathode, the
electrolyte maintains the dissolved metals in solution.
Gassing in the form of oxygen occurs at the metal
surface, furthering the cleansing process.
Once the process is completed, the part is run
through a series of cleaning and drying steps to
remove clinging electrolytes. The resulting surface
is ultraclean and bright. In fact, the bright surface is
the most identifiable trait and is what helped coin the
process name: electropolishing.
// WHAT IT DOES
While the process is best known for the bright polish left
on a surface, there are some important, often overlooked,
benefits of this metal finishing method. These benefits
include deburring, size control, microfinish improvement,
ultraclean finishing, corrosion resistance and others.
These metal improvement benefits are highly desirable
to design and production engineers for cost savings and
product lifespan improvement.