When surface finishing is important, MICRO offers various options. Two distinctly different, yet effective technologies employed at MICRO to finish medical device components are anodizing and electropolishing.
Anodizing is an electrolytic passivation process used to increase the thickness of the natural oxide layer on the surface of metal parts. Anodizing increases corrosion resistance and wear resistance.
The process is called "anodizing" because the part to be treated forms the anode electrode of an electrical circuit. Anodic films are most commonly applied to protect aluminium alloys, although processes also exist for titanium, zinc, magnesium, and niobium.
Certain varieties of titanium ligation clips produced at MICRO are anodized per customer request, giving them a bluish hue. This can aid in part identification, diminished reflectivity, and increased lubricity in the firing mechanisms of surgical instruments.
Electropolishing, also referred to as electrochemical polishing, is an electrochemical process that removes material from a metallic workpiece. It is used to polish, passivate, and deburr metal parts. It is often described as the reverse of electroplating. It differs from anodizing in that the purpose of anodizing is to grow a thick, protective oxide layer on the surface of a material rather than polish.
At MICRO, electropolishing is commonly used on stainless steel components after they have been sharpened. Scissor blades and spiked trocar tubes are some of the common medical components sharpened and electropolished at MICRO.