This is due to the non corrosion qualities of stainless steel and the parts generally not needing additional plating & finishing once the material has been etched.
We manufacture both flat & formed components using stainless steel with the aid of chemical etching process, and we have our own dedicated in-house tool-room team to manufacture bespoke form tooling for 3d formed parts to ensure the highest quality standards are met whilst meeting lead-time requirements of approximately 15 working days for new part components.
Qualitetch offer a total metal component solution an as well as photo etching we also offer stainless steel components manufactured using other processes such as metal stamping / punching and EDM wire erosion & laser cutting.
We have designations 304S15, 1.4301, 316, 316L, 316S11, 316S31, 301S21, 1.4310, 321S31, 17-7ph, 430S17, 304S16, S527,S526, 302S25. We also provide bright annealed, mirror polished, 2B and commercial grade finishes.
Variety of Thicknesses
Our stainless steel is available from 0.0127mm through to 1.60mm including: 0.0127mm, 0.025mm, 0.038mm, 0.05mm, 0.075mm, 0.10mm, 0.125mm, 0.15mm, 0.18mm, 0.20mm, 0.25mm, 0.30mm, 0.40mm, 0.50mm, 0.70mm, 0.90mm, 1.00mm, 1.20mm, 1.50mm & 1.60mm in most tempers and specifications.
Various industry sectors
using stainless steel including: automotive components, medical devices, aerospace parts, electronic components, oil and gas, telecoms products, renewable energies, defence related parts, and arts to just name a few.
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.
Suitable for Prototyping or Large Volume
The photo chemical etching process is a fantastic way to produce both small quantity R&D or prototype components or equally suits much larger volume quantities, as we have etching capacity to meet all your manufacturing needs. We typically manufacture parts in sheet sizes of 500mm x 305mm and accurately nest your chosen profile part design to ensure we achieve the best possible sheet yield through production.