How Chem Etching Provides Solutions to Supply Chain Challenges

April 2023

One of the biggest challenges faced by organizations are supply chain issues in which disruptions, increased costs, and delays occur when primary components are sourced. However, veteran supply chain leaders know that utilizing the best chem etching services in the US can enable faster part production, produce less waste, and offer manufacturers greater flexibility.

Engineers Need to Invest in Chem Etching Services and Let Go of Tradition

Many engineers default to trusted and long-standing machining methods that have been around much longer than chem etching. For example, laser cutting, stamping, and waterjet cutting are popular options that are often subscribed to, even if they bring a greater degree of risk and compromise. In the book Thin Film Processes, edited by John L Vosses and Werner Kern, data reveals that, often, organizations will invest in one of these metal manufacturing processes because they think they are the only reputable ones that are available. However, studies reveal that when switching to the chem etching process, organizations have been able to improve supply chain operations. In fact, chem etching is increasing in adoption by a growing number of engineers seeking a speedier and more flexible solution while still maintaining the highest quality.

What Is Chem Etching and How Does It Work?

Chem etching, also known as photochemical etching, is a machining method for creating thin metal parts in which a metal sheet covered with a photoresist that’s printed using a CAD image of the component eats away unwanted metal parts when it’s exposed to light, leaving only the metal that’s part of the wanted component design. Chem etching can be executed to micron accuracy, and the very fact that it doesn’t cause burrs is a major reason why so many engineers have made the transition to chem etching.

Chem etching can be used on almost any type of metal and other materials, and is a very cost-effective and accurate way to manufacture a wide range of thin metal parts, including:

  • Meshes
  • Filters
  • Springs
  • Connectors
  • Contacts
  • Microfluidic plates
  • Shims
  • EMI shielding
  • Camera parts
  • Encoder discs
  • Apertures
  • RFI shielding
  • Heat sinks
  • Battery components
  • Medical imaging equipment
  • Radar systems
  • Telescope parts
  • Much more

From titanium to copper, and from steel to aluminum, there are a wide range of materials that can be used in chem etching, and considering that metal parts can be produced as thin as 0.010mm with total accuracy, and in large volume at low cost, chem etching is growing as a popular option by engineering teams.

Chem Etching Cost Benefits That Offer Supply Chain Solutions

Once you start utilizing chem etching services as opposed to other manufacturing options, you will discover that it’s more cost-effective, allowing more complicated designs with very fine details. Usually, when a design is more complex and is done at volume in a slow, staggering manner, supply chains can experience delays and disruptions. Chem etching enables mass volumes of parts to be created within a single day, each identical.

Chem etching also eliminates rework, which can interrupt the supply chain. Not only does this mean that project costs revolve around the initial process, but the speed of designing tools can keep costs down while improving supply chain operations. For example, stamping causes a great degree of wear in a short time frame, and performing maintenance can disrupt the supply chain. When utilizing chem etching, this challenge is automatically eliminated.

Chem Etching Dramatically Decreases Process Limitations

Some of the limitations associated with the more traditional metal part manufacturing processes, such as burring, cutting edge stress and thermal issues, can be eliminated when using the chem etching process.

Burring can threaten the integrity of even the most precision-engineered part, and this can add to costs, disrupt supply chains, and add to production cost as a result. Chem etching shortens the lead time because it doesn’t rely on mechanical force and pressure, no heat is present, and the chance for burring and stress is completely removed.

Call United Western Enterprises to Learn About Our Chem Etching Services

Are you ready to discuss your component design and discover how chem etching can improve your supply chain operations while lowering cost and enabling you to get your products to market at a faster rate? United Western Enterprises has more than 54 years of experience offering chem etching services to clients spanning a wide range of industries. Call today and learn how a partnership with United Western Enterprises can help your organization hit all of your growth goals in 2023 and beyond!

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