Metal Finishing Services That Use Electricity

When electricity was discovered, the many wonders that were envisioned for it at the time most likely did not include metal finishing services. If they knew then what we know now, people may have considered the role electricity would play in finishing metal, because it’s really quite useful. While there are many ways to finish metal, electrical processes, particularly electroplating and electropolishing, have benefits that are beyond other methods.

Types of Metal Finishing Services
One of the most popular ways to finish metal is by plating it, either through chemical plating or electroplating. Metal can also be mechanically brushed, buffed or polished. It can be treated by sandblasting, metal vibratory finishing, powder coating, or hot blackening. Each process is used to achieve different results and benefits for the metal, and they vary greatly in effectiveness and cost.

Electroplating
Electroplating is one of the more popular and effective forms of metal finishing. It involves attaching a thin layer of one metal to another to achieve better corrosion resistance, abrasion resistance and/or electrical conductivity. The method by which the plating metal, often a precious metal like gold or silver, is applied involves electricity.

The part being plated is put in an electrolyte bath along with the plating metal, which is often prepared by being broken down into a metal salt. An electrical current is applied to the electrolyte, effectively pushing the plating metal onto the other metal and melting it into place. The result is a smooth, even plated surface, smoother than can usually be achieved through mechanical methods. When the plating is done with a precious metal, the look of the surface is improved through electroplating along with the conductivity and corrosion resistance.

Electropolishing
Electropolishing is basically the opposite of electroplating. A piece is put in an electrolyte bath and electrical current is made to flow in the opposite direction, stripping microscopic amounts of material from the metal. The process naturally takes higher deposits from the metal, so the end result is a very smooth, even surface that will be more resistant to rust, friction and abrasion. The process also has a deburring effect, and the removal of imperfections and “high points” in the metal can improve the structural stability of the piece.

PEP General Metal Finishing has been providing world class plating and finishing services since 1972. More information about their services can be found at www.pepgenmetal.com.

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