The chemical etching process works by ‘printing’ a component design onto a photoresist which is laminated onto metal. The areas of photo-resist which have not been printed are removed, exposing the metal, which is subsequently etched away.
Precision Micro has advanced the principles of chemical etching, investing in new technologies and developing proprietary methods which have set the standard for accuracy and repeatability.
Scroll through the slides below to see a step by step guide to how each stage of the etching process works, or click here for a more detailed overview of the process and process video.
Almost all metals can be photo etched. Precision Micro holds more than 2,000 metal types in stock, in thicknesses from 0.010mm – 1.5mm and sheet sizes to 600mm x 1500mm.
The selected material is chemically cleaned and degreased to remove debris, waxes and rolling oils.
Photo-sensitive resist is applied to the sheet in class 10,000 clean conditions using automated cut-sheet-lamination. We developed this process to improve adhesion, essential for highly repeatable, blemish-free components.
Using laser direct imaging (LDI), a technology more accurate than conventional photo-tooling, the component design is transferred to the photo-resist by exposing the sheet to ultraviolet (UV) light.
The unexposed resist is removed to expose raw metal. The remaining photo-resist, which has been hardened by UV light, will protect the component during etching.
Etch-chemistry is sprayed onto the developed sheet. The etch-time is determined by a skilled etch technician using variables including metal type, grade, thickness and size. Precision Micro’s etch technicians have a minimum of five years’ experience, the knowledge required to handle the wide range of metals we supply.
The remaining photo-resist is removed from the sheet to reveal the etched component.
Visual and dimensional inspection
The component is visually and dimensional inspected. Precision Micro guarantees repeatability levels approaching Six Sigma standard, supported by a best-in-class in-house metrology facility.
Precision Micro combines photo etching with in-house forming and finishing, offering single source supply of 3-D, polished, bonded and plated components.