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17 leading U.S. metal polishing companies

Posted by IndustryNet on Monday, April 16, 2018

Man in blue shirt buffs and polishes steelMechanical polishing of metals is the evening or smoothing the surface of a part or a component through the use of a fixed abrasive. Abrasives are graded by grit.

The condition of the material being polished determines which level of grit will be used. Rough surfaces, such as metal castings, will require coarser abrasives.

As the process continues, a series of finer abrasives will be employed until the desired appearance is obtained.

Traditionally, abrasives are mounted on wheels. Belts or strops are also used. Abrasive polishing may be performed by hand or by machine. Some applications may be entirely automated.

RelatedExpert guide to choosing the right type of metal finishing service

Electropolishing accomplishes the same goal through a combination of electrical and chemical means. Parts are immersed in temperature-controlled, concentrated acidic solutions while electrical current passes through them. Electropolishing not only creates a more attractive appearance, it also removes contaminants.

Polishing advances

While craftspeople have created smooth, shiny objects for millennia, the methods for producing them continue to progress. In some cases, electropolishing is combined with mechanical techniques. After an initial abrasive process, stainless steel parts may be electrochemically treated. The resulting finish is not only smoother but less likely to corrode.

The correct choice of technique is essential when applied to the surfaces of components for the biotechnical and medical fields, where a clean surface is vital. Researchers recently conducted a study comparing the efficacy of various polishing techniques in the prevention of bacterial growth. Electropolishing slowed the growth of E. coli on stainless steel when compared to a competing method.

Shop variations

Polishing companies may specialize in specific metals or types and sizes of parts. Electropolishing is most commonly used on stainless steel. It is especially useful for parts and components with complicated geometries not amenable to polishing by abrasive tools and machinery. Equipment and methods employed vary to accommodate the specifications of industries served.

The use of metal polishing and electropolishing is growing. Sales, as reported to IndustryNet by 164 companies in polishing sectors, have risen 0.55 percent. Recently, some shops have expanded into larger quarters. The companies profiled below illustrate the variety of services available from leading firms and the markets they address.

Top companies by number of employeespolished metal CERN supercollider part

Able Electropolishing Co. has been a leader in electropolishing since 1954. The company employs 180 workers in Chicago. Metals it processes include aluminum, steel, brass, carbon steel and nickel.

The 100 employees of Valex Corp. in Ventura, California, specialize in producing high-purity stainless steel tubing. Valex serves the semiconductor, electronic display and solar markets. In addition to tubes, it produces fittings, valves, manifolds and assemblies.

Although they polish small batches as well, the forte of the 100 employees of Highpoint Finishing Solutions, Inc. in Zeeland, Michigan, is large runs. The company has grown steadily since its founding in 2011. It is quality-certified to the latest edition of ISO 9001.

For the Great Lakes Area and beyond, the 100 employees of Mann Metal Finishing, Inc. of Hartford, Michigan, process parts for manufacturers and service providers. The company is family-owned. Industries it serves include office furniture, automotive and appliances.

Arconic Hutchinson Aerospace Center in Hutchinson, Kansas, provides solutions to aerospace and other industries. Its 87 employees specialize in working with lightweight metals. Arconic was formerly part of Alcoa, Inc.

For the polishing of architectural and ornamental metal, customers look to the 60 employees of Polished Metals Ltd. in Hillside, New Jersey. Hillside is adjacent to a major transportation hub, enabling it to serve a range of industries from automotive to high-tech. Metals this company works with include copper, brass, bronze, aluminum and stainless steel.

Electropolishing Systems, Inc. performs electropolishing on 300 and 400 series stainless steel. The company has been in business for 50 years and provides 50 jobs in Plymouth, Mass. The facility is both ISO 9001 and ISO 13485 certified.

The staff of 50 at Microfinish in Vandalia, Ohio, serves companies in both North America and Europe. Its customers include firms in the medical, aerospace and automotive industries. The facility is ISO 9001:2015 and AS 9100D certified.

Eagle Metal Finishing, LLC produces high-quality finishes on complex components. Its 50 employees in Milwaukee, polish both ferrous and non-ferrous metals. The company deals with large volumes of parts and offers short lead times.

The 50-person crew of Irving Polishing & Mfg. Co., Inc. in Kenosha, Wisconsin, can handle parts of any size. It performs electropolishing on stainless steel. The company serves pharmaceutical and biomedical firms.

close up of shiny polished kitchen knifeTop companies by square footage

American Nickeloid Co. produces bright polished, or satin-finished, aluminum by its Kote-Alume® process. Its Walnutport, Pennsylvania, facility occupies 80,000 square feet. The company is ISO 9001:2008 certified.

The Main Steel Polishing Co., Inc. facility in Harmony, Pennsylvania, covers 75,000 square feet. This company specializes in polishing high-nickel alloys, stainless steel and aluminum. Its markets include the petrochemical, transportation, food service and equipment industries.

Polished Metals Ltd., profiled above, maintains a 65,000-square-foot plant.

Williams Metalfinishing, Inc. polishes sheet and plate metal in a 65,000-square-foot facility in Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania. The plant is ISO 9001:2008 certified and Federal Firearms licensed. Industries it serves include structural beams and vacuum chamber manufacturers.

M P C Industries in Irvine, California, also does business as M P C Industrial products. M P C specializes in polishing aircraft-quality sheet metal and parts. Its facility occupies 51,000 square feet.

In its 50,000 square foot facility in York, Pennsylvania, Accent Metals, Inc. employees polish architectural metals. The company encourages its customers to bring in old stock for revitalization with a new finish. The company also sponsors a motor sports team.

The Chicago plant of Able Electropolishing Co., Inc., described above, occupies 40,000 square feet. Though less than a decade old, the plant of previously profiled Highpoint Finishing Solutions, Inc., also covers 40,000 square feet.

Fin-Tech, Inc. in Houston, Texas, has been a worldwide leader in polishing for 40 years. It provides mechanical polishing and electropolishing services and in a cutting-edge process combines the two techniques. Its plant occupies 40,000 square feet.

Elkhorn Electro Polishing, LLC removes imperfections, brightens and provides a scrupulously clean surface on metals in its 35,000 square foot facility in Elkhorn, Wisconsin. The company has over 100 years of experience in electropolishing and metal finishing. It participates in steel tubing projects.

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IndustryNet maintains up-to-date information on over 400,000 manufacturers and suppliers of more than 10,000 products and services. Companies are profiled by both capabilities and geographic area. A free search of this online resource will yield a list of the most conveniently located metal-polishing providers to meet the specific requirements of a business. 

 

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