Benefits at a glance
- Unlimited complexity – you only pay for the first hole
- No expensive hard tooling required
- Low-cost design iterations – fast
- Burr and stress-free – metal properties unaffected
- Lead-times in days, not months
- Virtually any metal
- Accuracy to ±0.025mm
Chemical etching is a subtractive sheet metal machining process which uses chemical enchants to create complex and highly accurate precision components for industrial applications from almost any metal.
The chemical etching process
The chemical etching process works by laminating sheet metal with a light-sensitive photoresist which is exposed with UV-light to transfer the CAD image of the component.
The areas of unexposed photoresist are removed (developed), then sprayed with etchant chemistry to accurately remove the unprotected material.
The remaining photoresist is removed (stripped) to reveal the final etched component
What metals can be chemically etched?
Almost any thin gauge metal bewteen 0.01mm – 1.5mm can be etched, including those considered hard to machine or ‘non-corrosive.’
Typical materials include:
- Steel and stainless steels
- Nickel and nickel alloys
- Copper and copper alloys
- Titanium and titanium alloys
- Other specialist metals including molybdenum and polyimide metallised film
Chemical etching benefits
The tooling for chemical etching is digital, meaning no expensive “hard” tooling is required.
Digital tooling can be adapted and changed extremely quickly allowing for risk-free design optimisation without financial penalty.
No mechanical force or heat is used meaning material properties are unaltered and etched components are free from stresses and burrs.
Component features are machined simultaneously meaning almost limitless part complexity is achievable, with accuracy to ±0.025mm.
Precision Micro: The industry-leading chemical etching supplier
We etch more than 50 million high-precision metal components each year for major global manufacturing companies across multiple industries.
By collaborating with our customers at every stage of the product development cycle, we can achieve the most cost-effective, timely and accurate outcomes to your design engineering challenges.
Here are a few reasons why
- Unrivalled know-how – Precision Micro has pioneered chemical etching for over half a century
- Proven capability – AS 9100, IATF 16949, ISO 13485, ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 accredited
- Largest capacity – 44,000 sq ft state-of-the-art etching plant
- Material know-how – hard-to-machine metals and dedicated titanium etching service
- 2,000+ metal variants – standard and specialist material types and grades
- Global support – we have sales offices and partners in locations that enable us to respond quickly to demand
- Added value – we offer a number of additional services including wire EDM, electropolishing, forming, finishing and plating