Photo Chemical Etching & Automotive Industry

Automotive is an industry with rapid development and full of challenges, automobiles are not just vehicles that take people from one place to another, it has gone through a lot of changes, both the appearance and capabilities. Obviously, cars are smaller and more lightweight than before, eco-friendly hybrid and electric vehicles is the new trend for the market. Maybe a few years later, the traditional cars with standard gasoline engines will be replaced by electronic vehicles.

Smaller cars need smaller parts, how can you miniaturize the key components without sacrificing the function and safety? Let’s put the eyes on the photo chemical etching, which will give a perfect solution. Photo etching can create high precision miniature components in high quality. We can benefit customers on both size and tolerance.

Common Automotive Photo Etched Parts including:

  • Speaker grilles
  • Scuff plates
  • Electronic Connectors
  • Car decorations
  • Filtration (Oil Control Valve Filter)
  • Fuel Cell Frames
  • Fuel Cell Screens
  • Gaskets
  • Diffusers
  • Flat Springs
  • Spacer Washers
  • Filters for Fuel Injectors
  • Damper Shims
  • Encoder Disks
  • Heat Exchanger Plates
  • Lead & Covers

So many automotive parts are made by photochemical etching process, buy do you know why? Though it is an effective method, it is not the only available one, stamping and laser cutting can be the competitive ways to produce those thin metal parts too. Here is the key reasons for the questions.

The Advantage of Photo Etching

Photo etching process emerged in the 1960s.  Nowadays, it serves for many fields, its benefits are quite obvious. We can tell from the following points.

Stress-free and Burr-free

The first advantage of etching process is that it doesn’t cause unnecessary damage to the metal properties, because it only impacts the exposed areas of the metal, not imposing thermal and press stress, unlike other methods which use hard tools or heat to get the job done. So, etching can make stress-free, burr-free components, does not need extra process to correct the burrs and stress.


Laser cutting metal parts can create products with the same level of precision as photo etching, but laser cutting can cut components one by one, but etching can try to fit as many pieces as possible on one sheet, which can be etched all together. Thus, it is more cost-effective and fast turnover.

Inexpensive Tooling Cost

Tooling of custom metal etching parts are made by computer. Creating or adjusting existing design, it is easy to do the digital work. Except for labor costs, the material cost is a mylar film. Even if you revise your designs several times, it only costs you several hundred dollars. Customers can create a small runs for their products without worrying about hard economic burden. This is flexible and cost-effective way for customers who go after perfectness.

Rapid Prototyping

From CAD drawing to physical custom metal etching parts, we can do it in one or two days, or even faster. Comparing to other hard tooling, it is much more quickly. If you have some urgent projects, etching process will be a wise choice.

High Precision

For those customers who need extremely complex, elaborate parts, other mechanical processes are often inadequate or impractical. Photo chemical machining (PCM) uses digital design tool to make very precise features which stamping cannot achieve. The etching process can help to control the accuracy by adjust the etching time or chemical ratio.

More Choices of raw material

PCM can be used on virtually any commercially available metal or alloy, of any hardness, including  Aluminium, brass, copper, inconel, manganese, nickel, silver,  steel, stainless steel, zinc and titanium. From this large range of raw material, customers can choose a most economical one for their parts without thinking about the processing limits.

The etching thickness ranges from 0.0005 to 0.08 in, our limitation is 0.03 to 1.0mm. With abundant choices, many innovative parts produced by photo chemical etching method.

As auto engineering continues to rely on miniaturization, it is expected that the range of parts created by this process will gradually expand.

Contact Ketching for Automotive Photo-Etching Services

Since 2010,  Ketching Metal Factory produces high precision photo-etched metal parts to the automotive industry. Meanwhile, we also offer some value-added services like welding, stamping and plating. For more information, please feel free to contact us here.

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