Acid etching, also known as photo etching, chemical etching or chemical milling, is a sheet metalworking technology which uses acid etchants to machine complex, highly accurate precision metal components.
The process offers a fast, low-cost alternative to stamping, laser and water jet cutting when machining complex, accurate components from almost any thin gauge metal to 1.5mm thick.Read the design engineers guide to etching
Acid etch tooling is digital, meaning component designs can be set-up quickly and optimised without financial penalty.
No heat or mechanical force is used during etching, meaning material properties are unaltered and components are produced burr- and stress-free.
Almost limitless part complexity is achievable, with accuracy to ±0.025mm
Benefits at a glance:
The acid etching process works by ‘printing’ a component design onto photoresist which is laminated onto metal. The areas of photoresist which have not been printed are removed, exposing the metal, which is subsequently etched away.
We can etch almost any metal. Typical stock metals include:
We also work with customer supplied metals. Please contact us for more information.
Precision Micro has pioneered photo etching for over half a century, setting the standard for accuracy and repeatability. Our 10-strong technical team includes PhD and degree-qualified engineers, metallurgists and chemists, pioneers of advanced production techniques for components and materials once thought too difficult —even impossible —to photo etch.
We are the only photo etching company accredited to AS 9100, IATF 16949, ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO 13485, so you can rely on the stability and capability of our processes. Our robust quality systems are underpinned by a continuous quality improvement programme which ensures repeatability levels approaching Six Sigma standards.
At 44,000 sq ft, our state-of-the-art photo etching plant offers the largest sheet etching capacity in Europe. Key technologies include a class 10,000 clean room, cut-sheet lamination for blemish-free components, laser direct imaging for finer components, Europe’s largest, fastest most reliable titanium etching service, product-specific manufacturing cells and a best-in-class in-house metrology facility.
We specialise in etching proprietary super-alloys which exhibit excellent mechanical strength, resistance to thermal creep deformation, good surface stability and resistance to corrosion or oxidation.
We stock the widest range of standard and specialist material types and grades in thicknesses from 0.010mm-1.5mm and in sheet sizes to 600mm x 1500mm.
We have sales offices and partners in locations that enable us to respond quickly to customer requirements. Our sales engineering team has first-hand knowledge of photo etching and can advise on design parameters which lower manufacturing costs.
We offer a number of additional in-house services which can be combined with photo etching to produce components with greater accuracy, unique characteristics and improved functionality, reducing customers’ supplier base and time-to-market.
Precision Micro is well-invested, enabling us to deliver the levels of product quality, productivity and competitiveness expected by major international companies.