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Get to Know: Photo Chemical Machining

If your business is in need of a high quality and cost-effective photo chemical machining service, then Qualitetch have the solution to your problem.

Photo chemical machining – more commonly known as photo etching, is an engineering production method that is used to create metal components entirely burr and stress-free. This is achieved through the process of chemical etching – which selectively corrodes flat, sheet metal through the use of a photoresist masking agent.

The chemical etchant removes the metal that is no longer required without cutting it, allowing your end product to be as strong as a complete sheet of metal. This process works just as well for complex and intricate designs as it does for simple and easy ones.

Why Use Photo Chemical Machining?

The entire process is highly accurate and cost efficient, with a fast turnaround. It can be used in conjunction with other processes such as forming and plating, and it can be utilised as a viable and more economical process compared to stamping, punching and laser cutting.

It is due to the affordability and adaptable process that makes photochemical machining ideal for creating parts and components from prototype stage right through to final production. Changes can be made very easily and quickly with the use of this technique, which can prove invaluable for many businesses.

Ready for use with a variety of sheet metals including aluminium, silver, stainless steel, copper and brass; this process is a highly accurate and practical technique for metals of varying thicknesses. Please visit our website or contact our team to discuss your specific requirements.

The Process

The photo chemical machining process is very simple. The design is printed negatively on a film sheet. The metal sheet is then sized ,cleaned and placed between two sheets of UV sensitive film, known as laminating.

Utilising a vacuum and a UV light, the negative is then transferred to the metal sheet. Excess photoresist is then washed away, leaving just the parts that require etching.

The sheet can now enter the etching line. It is moved along a line resembling a conveyor belt and sprayed with acid – typically ferric chloride, which, when heated, reacts with the metal and corrodes with ease. The sheet is then neutralized and rinsed before removing the remaining photoresist, cleaning once more and finally drying.

This process can be used to manufacture parts and components across a variety of industries with different needs. Some of the most common uses include; making mesh, battery grids, springs, sensors, washers, elements, circuits and many more components.

For more information on how you can get the best from the photochemical machining process, please contact our customer service team for a chat.