Global chemical etching supplier Precision Micro has unveiled a further expansion of its manufacturing capacity and capability with the addition of a second new etch room at its Fort Dunlop-based site in Birmingham, UK.
In an investment totalling £1.8 million, the etch room is home to three new highly efficient etch machines alongside a bespoke semi-automated print frame.
Believed to be an industry first, the business’s new print frame boasts a design that minimises human input in printing photoresists onto larger sheet metals up to 1500mm x 600mm in size, increasing throughput and delivering cost savings to its customers. Furthermore, the shift towards a more automated approach enhances component quality by eradicating the issue of foreign object debris which can impact the photochemical etching process, as well as reducing the manual handling of heavier materials.
Driven by global demand for next-generation energy technologies such as hydrogen production and storage, carbon capture, green energy buffering, electric and hydrogen electric vehicles, the expansion enables Precision Micro to supply larger, thicker etched sheets in higher volumes.
Supplying enabling components such as printed circuit heat exchanger flow plates for waste energy recovery and hydrogen pre-coolers, busbar battery interconnects for EVs and bipolar plates for fuel cells and electrolysers used for hydrogen production, the investment will support companies looking to productionise these products and overcome capacity constraints in the existing supply chain.
Karl Hollis, Precision Micro’s Director of Engineering, said: “We’ve worked closely with our suppliers to ensure all the new equipment is developed in line with our ESG strategy, automating many parts of our manufacturing process using less power to achieve the same consistent results. Chemical etching is often the only appropriate method for manufacturing the precision components needed for many emerging renewable technologies. This latest £1.8 million investment marks the next stage of our expansion, and we are excited to be able to support our customers’ rapid growth.”
In 2019, Precision Micro invested £5.1 million in plant and new equipment, a move which increased the business’s etching capacity by 30% which in turn opened new opportunities within sustainable energy markets. The latest addition has increased this by a further 40%.
Precision Micro also plans to add a fourth etch machine to its new etch room in early 2024.