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11 juin 2019
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Burr-free, Stress-free, metal components achieved through photo etching

Photo etching has many benefits for anyone looking to manufacture components from thin gauge sheet metal (namely 10um – 1.6mm thick). However, in comparison to traditional manufacturing techniques, the photo etching process is particularly advantageous when it comes to two particularly distinguished features being burr free and stress free.
As the chemicals are passively subtracting the exposed metal, they are not generating any substantial force against the metal, unlike traditional methods such as metal stamping which uses high tonnage machines to punch through the material grain structure, which results in deformation of the surrounding area on the parts profile.


What is a Burr? And where do they originate?

If a process removes metal, it’s highly likely that it will generate burrs, with these raised edges of the metal often degenerate to the part and can cause fatiguing or even shear surrounding cables (if used within electrical applications). This said, the burr must be removed by hand as a post process, which can prove expensive. If you can imagine drilling through a piece of flat sheet metal, you are applying a downward force to drive the flutes through and the newly displaced metal has nowhere to go but out through the entrance hole, however, as you breach the bottom the metal can essentially fold itself around the exit hole whilst remaining attached to the sheet metal, this is known as an “exit burr”.

What do you mean, Stress-Free?

Traditional manufacturing techniques such as metal stamping see heavy tooling punch down on the metal surface in order to separate the material by force. By doing this it generates a force on the metal surrounding the area of removal which can alter the material grain structure causing the material to behave differently, or even reduce the structural integrity resulting in total-part failure. Photo etching doesn’t introduce any pressure or contact onto the material, as we are simply exposing the metal to a liquid solution evenly sprayed over a UV photo sensitive resist mask.

Case Study: Fine Filter Mesh

An OEM approached us requiring a large burr free, stress free mesh. traditional methods would require individual deburring procedures for each aperture which is both time-consuming and costly. As detailed above the etching process is a burr-free, stress-free procedure making the need for any expensive post-processing procedures redundant.

Further to the above, this project was in the early development stages, this meant that the OEM required multiple iterations to determine the most viable design. At Qualitetch we offer free photo-tooling artwork to our customers, as we believe in investing in our customers future growth. This proved particularly advantageous as we were able to turn around a dozen variations within a few days rather than weeks, and at no additional hard tooling costs that would be present with the traditional manufacturing techniques.

at Qualitetch we understand and fully appreciate that with all aesthetic parts, quality cannot be compromised, and our process is designed for minimum contact with abrasives reducing the risk for scratching and other defects that can occur.

Such adaptability is particularly advantageous especially under the circumstances of mass volume production. Minimal inspection is required allowing fast turnaround of components parts ensuring cheaper overall unit costs.
Taking all the above into consideration we believe this demonstrates how photo etching is the current market leader for all your burr-free and stress-free thin gauge metal component needs.

For more information please give us a call today and let Qualitetch help manufacture your ideas in metal on 01354 658787 and speak to our team. Alternatively, you can find us at or for more information on the processes and services we provide.