The process of chemical etching with aluminium is a specialist process.
This is due to the fact that aluminium etching can be difficult to get right if you do not have the correct process controls in place, which can lead to poor edges and a rough finished etch.
The reason for this is that aluminium is exothermic, meaning that it creates heat and gases on the surface of the metal as it is being etched, which causes the aluminium to blow outwards and smut with carbon; roughening the surface.
When done correctly, there are many advantages to the process of aluminium etching. One of the main benefits is the light weight nature of Aluminium and it’s clean looking finish. Here at Qualitetch, we only etch aluminium with ferric chloride, as this is the most appropriate etchant to best suit your individual metal component requirements.
Our flexible production line approach helps reduce manufacturing lead-times for our customers and allows us to save time by cutting unnecessary steps from the manufacturing process.
We have a dedicated team of Engineers who are on hand to deal with the various complexity of metal component requests for our customers needs.
Bespoke for your needs
We offer assembly, soldering and spot welding, bespoke packaging, and also many other specialist bespoke customer requirements that our clients may have.
Photo Etching Process
The photo etching process produces metal components that are both stress-free and burr-free compared to more traditional manufacturing methods – ensuring that your end product is as both accurate and precise to your drawings.
Qualitetch offer a huge range of metals for etching including: Stainless Steels, Carbon Spring Steels, Copper, Brass, Nickel Silver, Mild steel, Phosphor Bronze, Silver, Beryllium Copper, Aluminium, Nickel, Mu Metal, Alloy 42, Alloy 52 & Many Others.
Metal Cleaning Process
In order to ensure perfect parts every time, we need to clean the sheet metal to remove any impurities from the sheets surface before manufacturing your designs. This involves passing the metal sheets slowly through acid or alkaline solutions and rinsed prior to laminating, printing and developing.
Metal cleaning involves passing the sheets slowly through conveyorised acid or alkaline solutions and rinsed clean prior to the lamination, printing and developing stages, depending on the sheet metal choice required.
Preparation - Lamination
Once cleaned the metal sheets are coated with a UV sensitive photo resist, which melts to sheet in preparation for the printing process.
Preparation - Printing
The printing process involves us taking your chosen profile design and applying it to a two sided top and bottom acetate photo film mask, that we then print your design onto the UV sensitive photo resist.
Preparation - Developing
Once the metal sheet is printed with your chosen design, we then need to develop the sheet. This process effectively washes away the fine lines of the profile we are cutting, leaving raw metal track lines ready for the etching process to work it's magic very precisely.
Photo Chemical Etching
The etching process itself is an acid, usually ferric chloride, that effectively eats it's way through the metal at a known rate to ensure precision and targeted only in the areas you wish to remove, such as the profile track lines or other holes and features such a mesh. The rest of the sheet is masked by the UV photo sensitive blue resist, to protect the metal from the etchant until the parts are complete. This can be a very useful in a manufacturing process as the design can be very complex or include tabs or half etch fold bend lines at no added cost as you simply print your design rather than needing expensive machining time. Following an on-line dimensional check, all that is then required, is for us to strip and remove the UV photo sensitive resist coating and the parts are ready for full QA Inspection.
At Qualitetch we offer various levels of QA inspection depending on our customers needs, as we supply both major blue chip businesses all over the world as well as smaller local businesses and anywhere in-between, as the photo etching process is very versatile. We have various automated optical equipment to ensure you parts are accurately supplied to your drawings. We also offer levels of inspection including 100% inspection, PPAP levels, batch inspection, First article inspection (FAIR) and bespoke customer inspection as required.
Once the parts are fully inspected and passed they are ready to be packed and sent to the customer, or for additional processes such as plating, forming, soldering, spot-welding, machining, EDM wire erosion, heat treatment or any other bespoke services required, such as assembly.
Alluminium Etching Process
As the process of chemically etching Aluminium needs to be completed correctly to manufacture quality finished components without staining or etch faults, you need to ensure you use a trusted manufacturer to provide the best possible quality within the marketplace That’s where we come in. At Qualitetch, we pride ourselves in our world class manufacturing solutions and customer service to deliver your metal component requirements flat or formed.
For more information about how our aluminium etching services can make a difference to your products, please give us a call today on 01354 658787.