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Chemical Etching for the Biomedical Industry

Bio Technological Laboatory Female Research Scientist Analyzes Test Tube in Medical Machine

Precision shaping of surgical grade materials for the biomedical industry is a prime application for chemical etching and other high-tech material treatment services from United Western Enterprises. The California biomedical industry depends on our quality prototypes and products for manufacturing parts, as well as innovative medical device research and development.

Biomedical Applications of Chemical Etching

Chemical etching is one of the metallographic techniques used to make high-quality metals and alloys into surgical tools, medical devices, and medication administration pumps.

Chemical etching is essential to the biomedical industry in preparing and machining parts from the materials that are the most difficult to shape, surface, and cut to precise specifications. The processes used have an effect on how well these critical devices function.

What Metals and Materials Are Used for Medical Devices?

Alloy steels and complex alloys are common metals used in medical devices, but emerging new materials are also essential to the biomedical research industry. Different materials have different properties. They may be coated or combined with other substances to improve machinability, create a high-quality weld, or strengthen and enhance the mechanical properties of a given material.

Ideal medical materials have a high strength-to-weight ratio and are long lasting. They must resist corrosion and wear in their working environment. Medical devices might contain many metals or treatment processes to make them suitable for their intended use. For this reason, many different metals and materials may need chemical etching. Some of these include:

  • Stainless steels, which contain chromium, nickel, and molybdenum, offering good corrosion and scratch resistance. This material can endure hardening and tempering, being cooled quickly to a smooth surface. Stainless steel also holds a very sharp edge for medical instruments.
  • Acid or chemical treatments can also change a material’s surface by making it rougher. Material resurfacing allows it to bond more easily with other materials by increasing the oxide layer.1

Innovative Biomedical Industry Applications

Biomedical companies have used our precise chemical etching and other material treatments to create innovative components and devices like these:

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) systems components, including etched copper devices to channel electric fields which shape or focus the magnetic fields used for MRI.
  • Medical monitors or sensors which have intricate and interconnected pieces designed to be worn by the patient. Microcomponents machined to precise standards can be produced with our techniques.
  • Aneurysm devices which are used to treat or prevent blood vessel failures or monitor for issues.
  • Drug delivery systems for the pharmaceutical industry, which may be patches or pump units, applied to the skin.
  • Flat-wires for medical catheters, etched needles, and stents.
  • All types of orthopedic devices used for joint replacement or reconstruction.
  • Orthodontic components and maxillofacial meshes.
  • Spinal implant components and closures for incisions.
  • Surgical saw blades, steel instruments, specialty drills, and cutting tools.
  • Sieves and filters for laboratory and diagnostic equipment.
  • Targets for imaging applications.
  • Veterinary instruments, devices, and implants.

Advantages of Chemical Etching in the Biomedical Industry

Chemical etching offers a variety of benefits when it comes to making a biomedical prototype or manufacturing a batch of exact parts or components. Using chemical etching, materials can be made:

  • Free of burrs and minor imperfections
  • Without the stress of physical cutting techniques, which can distort the part or change its characteristics
  • With incredibly complex designs with almost unlimited tooling potential, and repeatable at the same specifications and quality level
  • From a wide variety of materials which are hardened, etched, heat treated, or laser cut
  • To the micro or nanosystem level for miniaturized biosensor development, tissue engineering, and drug delivery analysis

Partnering With the Best Photo-Etching and Machining Supplier

Whether you are involved in the life sciences industry, medical device development, or venture capital investment, your project needs the best photo chemical etching and precision production partner. UWE provides expert consulting and manufacturing to a wide range of industries nationwide from our headquarters near Los Angeles, CA.

We can create a cost-effective proof of concept or medical prototype, and handle a steady supply of identical precision etched parts for your manufacturing needs. Exacting specifications and FDA standards are everyday requirements for us, so bring your most complex designs to us and make your device vision a tangible reality.

UWE is an AS9100D/ISO 9001:2015 certified company that provides free consultation, rapid prototyping, and the expertise you need to develop and produce the most innovative technology possible. Since 1969, UWE has been helping industries research, develop, and produce the amazing life-saving technologies of the biomedical industry.

You can request a quote today or contact us for more information on how to partner with us for the successful outcome you envision.


  1. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1155/2019/3806504

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