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Introduction to Chemical Etching

What is Chemical Etching?

Chemical etching is a controlled corrosion process which we use to create both simple and complex metal parts and components, giving them definition without reducing the quality of the materials used.

The process is a popular way of producing parts for an extensive range of industries because it allows us to create fine detail accurately and easily. It also allows our customers a cost effective method of ordering parts and components to suit their budget without the need for expensive tooling.

The Process Explained

Before the etching process starts, the metal is cleaned thoroughly to eliminate all contaminants and debris that might compromise the final results. The contaminant-free metal is then inspected to ensure that it is 100% clean before the next step.

The design is then laminated on both sides with a UV photo sensitive resist. Our technicians can now add the customer’s design using an acetate artwork, that has been stepped and repeated on the sheet, in order to make the most out of the available sheet metal space.

This allows the photo-tool mask to protect the laminate directly underneath the photo-tool that effectively are the profile cutting lines, which when exposed to UV light then leaves this area soft and all other exposed areas of the sheet are hardened.

The metal sheet is then passed through a series of chambers with a chemical etchant. This acid wash then eats away at the exposed metal lines at a consistent rate, only on the areas that aren’t protected by the UV photo resist mask.

In the last and final step, the etched metal sheet is washed and rinsed clean of the etching agent and the remaining photoresist is stripped away as well. The finished product is then washed and dried again before our QA technicians inspect the sheet for both dimensional and visual qualities.

More information about chemical etching can be found here.

This process is one of many that we offer here at Qualitetch, and is very popular for creating parts and components. Not only can it be done in a timely manner, but it is cost effective and highly accurate, too. This is perfect for customers that require both small and high volume amounts of metal parts.

For more information about the work that we do, please browse our website and blog or contact us on 01354 658787.