Chemical Etching Process
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The photo etch process is one of the most accurate methods of manufacturing parts and components for businesses and industries around the world. The process involves a systematic approach to ensure that your end products are as high quality as possible.
From receiving the initial design brief, we will know exactly what our clients are expecting to receive, including material used, dimensions of the parts, volume, and any other subsequent services after the initial etching process.
In order to guarantee customer satisfaction, we need to ensure that the sheet metal we use is fully cleaned of impurities before processing. This involves passing the metal sheets slowly through acid and alkaline solutions and rinsed prior to laminating, printing and developing.
Our expert technicians then apply a UV photo sensitive resist to both sides of the sheet metal using heated rollers. The excess is removed, and the metal is now ready for the next stage of the etching process.
The design artwork needs to be applied to the sheet metal, using a two-sided photo tool which ensures that all designs are accurately matched up on both sides of the metal. The sheet, with artwork attached, is then exposed under UV light, hardening the untouched metal, and leaving only the artwork profile design. The sheet is now ready to be developed.
Metal Etching and Resist
The sheet metal with artwork is now ready to be passed through a series of chemical washes.
The main chemical etchant used, Ferric Chloride, attacks the metal that is not protected by the UV resist. Whole sheets with multiple parts are passed through at once, with several sheets on the conveyor at the same time, allowing us to fulfil large orders on an efficient quick turnaround, regardless of the design.
Intricate and complex designs are just as easy to produce as simple or large designs, without a loss of accuracy, precision or quality. The nature of the acid etching process is that it creates stress and burr-free products, every time.
Finally, the etched parts and components are now placed on mesh trays and passed through a stripping chamber, to remove the photo resist – leaving only the base metal behind.
After a thorough inspection for quality control purposes, all parts manufactured using the metal etching process by our team are subject to inspection by state-of-the-art Automated Optical Inspection Equipment CMM, which can complete accurate first article reports.
We are proud to tell you that we hold the ISO AS9100C Aerospace standard as well as the 9001:2008 standard and the environmental ISO 14001:2004 standards for inspection, and approval from Rolls Royce.
The end result will now go on to the forming department for assembly, plating, and finishing or will be packed and dispatched to the customer as required.
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