Metal Polishing | A Brief Overview

July 18, 2018
Posted in news
July 18, 2018 Mike Jetter

Metal Polishing | A Brief Overview

Metal polishing is the process of smoothing and shining metal surfaces with abrasive materials. Metal polishing should be a part of your metal finishing process when needed to remove oxidation, corrosion, or other contaminants that could tarnish the appearance of your metal surfaces and reduce the life-span of your part. Bend Plating has robotic and manual polishing capabilities that can help you with your high or low quantity metal polishing needs.

Metal Polishing | A Brief History

Polishing is both art and science, producing great looking items that function better and last longer than without polishing. Polishing enhances appearance, prevents contamination, removes oxidation, creates a reflective surface, as well as deterring corrosion. Over time (and sometimes right in front of your eyes), metal surfaces can tarnish due to contact with the oxygen in the air (oxidation).  This will change the appearance of the part and eventually the function of the part and will affect all unprotected silver, gold, nickel, chrome, copper, brass, aluminum, steel, and iron plated products.

Metal polishing can be applied to many different metals; however, the type of metal you need polished will determine the process. Hard metals benefit from robotic or automatic polishing (and they get really hot), whereas softer metals require a sensitive touch with manual polishing and buffing. When polishing metal, you use another abrasive surface to polish the metal surface. Using rough abrasives — 60 or 80 grit — followed by a finer abrasive — 120 or 180 — will remove imperfections like nicks or scratches while improving the luster and shine. You would then buff your metal piece after polishing if you want to achieve that mirror-bright finish.

Once you achieve a high sheen with your metal piece, you must protect your process. If you don’t take preventative measures, oxidation will occur again — this is especially important if you are working with copper alloy, raw steel, and aluminum products in corrosive environments. Waxes, oil, or lacquers coated onto the surface will maintain the shine.  Paint will protect the surface for a period of years.  Nickel/Chromium electroplate and PVD will likely protect your parts for generations yet to be determined.

Bend Plating | Metal Polishing

We at Bend Plating employ both robotic and manual metal polishing processes to provide high capacity metal polishing capacities to high volume polishing requirements. This, along with a one-stop-shop for electroplate, PVD, packaging, and shipping, enables us to be competitive in the metal polishing industry. Hand polishing is perfect for complex geometry, while robotic polishing is great for products that need a constant decorative finish. We are expert polishing providers and will be able to assess the best polishing application for your needs.

Bend Plating is ready to serve with manual and automatic/robotic metal polishing processing. Contact us for more information about polishing metal and solutions to your metal processing needs.

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