The Advantage of Photo Etching
Photo etching process emerged in the 1960s as an offshoot of the printed circuit board industry. 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.
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.
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.
In sum, photo etching contains the following advantage:
- Material properties remain unchanged, stress free and burr free
- No expensive tooling investment, flexible to revise design
- Cost-effective for mass production
- Short lead time for prototyping and production
- High accuracy