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Silver Photo Etching

Silver is one of the most common precious metals around the world

We use it to create important everyday parts and components, as well as delicate and intricate jewellery designs. Silver can be found in everything from cutlery, mirrors and cufflinks through to parts for clocks, electronic equipment and appliances, circuit boards, batteries and vehicles – and much more besides; you are likely to come across photo etched silver on a daily basis.

The process of photo etching silver is just as flexible and accurate as other metal materials. However, because of how silver reacts with chemicals, we use a different chemical etchant – Ferric Nitrate – to ensure we produce the same high manufacturing standards at all times.

Other than the difference in chemistry used the etching process itself is exactly the same for silver parts as when acid etching other metals.

Alongside the highly accurate and cost-effective photo etching service, silver can also be used to plate and finish parts that have been manufactured using other materials.

Silver chemical etching is a accurate process that has a wide range of applications, in various industries. It involves using chemicals to remove material from a silver substrate resulting in the creation of patterns, designs or functional features. The uses of chemical etching are diverse. Can be found in fields such as electronics and decorative arts. In this discussion we will explore some areas where silver chemical etching is extensively applied.

1.Electronics and Microelectronics;

Silver chemical etching plays a role in the manufacturing of components and microelectronics. It is commonly used to create circuits on silver films with exceptional precision and resolution. This method proves valuable for producing circuit patterns with fine details needed for sensors, flexible electronics and other miniaturized electronic devices.

2.MEMS (Microelectromechanical Systems);

In MEMS applications where tiny mechanical and electronic components are integrated into a chip, silver chemical etching is employed to produce features and structures. This level of accuracy is crucial for manufacturing sensors, actuators and other micro devices that require patterns, with precision.


The solar industry utilizes chemical etching to pattern. Texture the surfaces of solar cells.

This method of texturing improves the absorption of light which in turn enhances the efficiency of cells. Furthermore chemical etching is utilized to create contacts, on the surface of solar cells allowing for smooth flow of electricity.

4.Medical Devices;

Silver chemical etching finds application in the production of devices like surgical instruments, implantable devices and diagnostic tools. This process enables the creation of accurate features on small scale components that meet the requirements of the medical industry.

5. Automotive Industries;

In aerospace and automotive sectors silver chemical etching plays a role in manufacturing components such as fuel cells, sensors and electronic control systems. The ability to produce patterns and precise features makes chemical etching a choice for creating lightweight and high performance parts in these industries.

6.Decorative Arts and jewellery;

Apart from applications silver chemical etching is also utilized in arts and jewellery making. Artists and designers employ this technique to etch patterns, designs and textures onto surfaces to create unique pieces that are visually captivating.


In microfluidics field where tiny channels and structures are used for manipulation purposes chemical etching assists in creating accurate features, on microfluidic devices.

This plays a role, in areas such as medical diagnostics, lab on a chip systems and chemical analysis.

8.Antennas and Radio Frequency (RF) Devices;

The fabrication of antennas and RF devices often involves the use of silver chemical etching. This process enables the creation of patterns that are vital for efficient signal transmission and reception in communication systems.

To sum up silver chemical etching is a manufacturing process with a wide range of applications. Its ability to achieve precision intricate details and complex patterns makes it an essential technique in industries, like electronics, medical devices and decorative arts. As technology continues to advance we can expect the applications of chemical etching to expand fostering innovation in various fields.

Whatever your needs, our highly experienced team are on hand to help. Simply give our team a call today on 01354 658787 for more information.

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Benefits of Silver Photo Chemical Etching

Save time and money

Our assembly line approach reduces manufacturing time and allows us to save time by cutting unnecessary steps out of the manufacturing process.

Dedicated Team

We have a dedicated team of fully qualified professionals who are on hand to deal with and complete assembly work requests from our customers.

Bespoke Packaging

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.

Metal Selection

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

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.

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.

Final Product

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.

World class manufacturing

Silver photo chemical etching can be used for both commercial components and creative arts projects. You need a trusted world class manufacturer to provide you with the very best quality etched components and that’s where we come in! At Qualitetch, we pride ourselves in only offering quality products and QA standards manufactured to your exacting drawing requirements, meaning that we are always fully committed to delivering only the best quality products and components to our customers every-time.

For more information about how our silver photo etching services can make a difference to your products, please give us a call today on 01354 658787.

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Please fill out our enquiry request form for more information about how our silver photo chemical etching services can make a difference to your products.

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