Nickel Silver

A sheet of nickel silver made using photo etching.

If your manufacturing process requires the photo chemical etching of one or more nickel silver parts, you should reach out to United Western Enterprises. Our technicians have years of experience in photo etching nickel silver materials into a broad range of shapes, patterns, and configurations for customers in various industries.

Nickel Silver Properties and Applications

Nickel silver is an alloy of copper, nickel, and zinc. It contains no elemental silver at all, as its name derives from its silvery appearance rather than its composition. Nickel silver goes by a number of other names, including German silver, Argentan, nickel brass, new silver, albata, and alpaca.

The most common nickel silver alloy composition is 62% copper, 18% nickel, and 20% zinc, but other mixtures are possible as well, including:

  • Alloy 735: 72% copper, 18% nickel, 10% zinc
  • Alloy 752: 65% copper, 18% nickel, 17% zinc
  • Alloy 762: 59% copper, 12% nickel, 29% zinc
  • Alloy 770: 55% copper, 18% nickel, 27% zinc

What is nickel silver used for?  Nickel silver’s properties—it is highly heat-, electro-, and corrosion-resistant—make it a highly suitable material for the creation of many kinds of components frequently found in commercially available products.

Hard but malleable, this metal is commonly used in silverware, plumbing fixtures, printed circuit boards, clothing zippers, heating coils, and certain musical instruments. Nickel silver can be manipulated to create pipes, tubes, wires, fittings, fasteners, and much more. Often it is utilized as a protective coating over soft metals. Due to its appealing sheen, nickel silver is also found in many types of jewelry.

Advantages of Chemical Etching Nickel Silver

The photo etching (or chemical etching) process is a cost-effective production method that confers multiple benefits to manufacturers. One important advantage is the lack of thermal stress. Nickel silver etching with chemicals enables the precise alteration of a metal surface without the burrs or other unwanted distortions associated with laser etching.

It’s also a much speedier process than is possible with lasers or other etching tools. Even if you require a large production run or extremely elaborate designs—often impractical with alternative manufacturing methods—you can resort to chemically etching nickel silver to deliver the finished materials you need on schedule.

In addition, etching nickel silver in this manner does not require expensive tooling, as the process is reliant on chemicals (such as ferric chloride) and CAD software rather than elaborate metal-forming equipment.

Contact UWE, Inc., for Nickel Silver Etching Services

For photo etched materials that conform to the highest industry standards, you can depend on United Western Enterprises to deliver the goods. Since our founding in 1969, we have offered an assortment of etching services to customers in the automotive, aerospace, medical, and electronics industries.

We are an AS 9100D / ISO 9001:2015 Certified company and a member of the Photo Chemical Machining Institute (PCMI). Our nickel silver etching processes are carried out under close supervision at our facility in Camarillo, California.

Whether you need a single prototype or a large number of application-ready parts, we will ensure that your photo etched products meet your specifications. Furthermore, our value added options such as plating and heat treating provide you with expanded opportunities to realize the potential of your project. For more information about photo etching nickel silver at UWE, Inc., don’t hesitate to contact us.

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