What are the Popular Talking Points Surrounding Photochemical Etching?

April 2022
Chemical etching and micro stamping

When brands are under pressure to design metal components and they are facing multiple constraints, experienced organizations will turn to United Western Enterprises for photochemical etching services. This article is intended to help internal manufacturers who are just starting out in their careers learn more about the benefits of investing in photochemical etching for producing thin metal parts.

Brands that Use Photochemical Etching After Having Used Metal Stamping Rarely Go Back

Metal stamping consumes the largest segment of the market. Anyone charged with the task of creating thin metal parts for their manufacturing efforts will know all about metal stamping, but some (newer personnel) are not completely aware of photochemical etching. First, metal stamping can be problematic because it requires hard metal tooling known for producing burrs. Photochemical etching leaves behind only the wanted parts of the metal with smooth edges.

Photochemical Etching iso Performed without Heat Use

Thin metal part manufacturing practices, such as laser cutting, can cause heat fractures and other problematic issues that can cost companies extra time and money to resolve. Photochemical etching doesn’t require extreme heat in its operations, so organizations don’t need to worry about the common risk factor that would otherwise exist. In fact, the highest moment of heat in the photochemical etching process is roughly 165 fahrenheit for only a few seconds before it sustains at 135 fahrenheit. That said, compared to lasers and even EDM which operate at thousands of degrees sustained through the process, photochemical etching is much safer and eliminates a great number of risks associated with extreme heat.

Photochemical Etching is Very Affordable

If you are charged with managing your organization’s budget, then you know the manufacturing process can take up the largest chunk of your available funds for a project. Another reason why photochemical etching is so popular is because it is inexpensive compared to other manufacturing methods for thin metal parts. Multiple machine tooling can really cut into your budget, but with photochemical etching, no expensive tooling is required. Furthermore, the process doesn’t require large teams or the same manpower that other manufacturing processes require, and this helps keep the cost down.

Photochemical Etching is Fast, and Helps You Get Your Product to Market Faster

Photochemical etching with United Western Enterprises enables metal parts to be manufactured to precise specifications within a short time frame. Regardless as to whether you require a basic flat blank, or something very complex with multiple finishes and forms, the part can be produced very quickly. Whether you need a single piece to serve as a prototype, or you have a need for rapid prototyping with large volume production runs, photochemical etching can do the job quickly, with flawless perfection.

Photochemical Etching has High Dimensional Tolerance

Photo-etched parts

Another reason why photochemical etching is a popular option for producing thin metal parts is that it has dimensional tolerances determined by the thickness of the metal. The standard tolerance band is +/-15% of metal thickness, so that covers drawing block tolerances of +/-.005″ for metal thickness up to .032″. The practical minimum tolerance is +/-.0015 on metals up to .010″. Any senior manufacturing leader will know that there is a critical relationship between sheet sizes, project cost, and tolerances, so the main takeaway here is that your design can accommodate a wider range of tolerances, which helps to slash cost.

Photochemical Etching and Parts Versatility

Photochemical etching is a popular manufacturing process for thin metal parts because it is applicable to a wider range of alloys, including stainless steels, carbon steels, silver, molybdenum, aluminum, and the most used alloys across all industries–nickel and copper. With photochemical etching thicker materials can be flawlessly etched including up to .065 in copper, .040 in steel, and up to .080 in aluminum. Photochemical etching can even produce thin metal parts as small as .020 in diameter and as large as 24 x 60 using the same process and same equipment, making it convenient and flexible with your design team. For this reason alone, photochemical etching is a popular manufacturing process of thin metal parts for industries that range from aerospace to electronics. And from medical devices to military and defense.

Call United Western Enterprises to Learn How Photochemical Etching Can Take Your Organization to the Next Level

As outlined, photochemical etching is a very versatile, affordable, fast, and flawless way to manufacture thin metal parts. Not only can this manufacturing process get your product to market much faster than alternative processes, but it can also help your team stay well within budget, reduce the number of flaws and errors that are typically seen in other processes, but it can also be an ideal solution for rapid prototyping. Our expert team of photochemical etching experts are standing by to take your call and learn all about your project. Call today and learn more on why this is the ideal manufacturing process for creating your custom thin metal parts.

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