Chemical etching is also known as acid etching, electrolytic etching, or electrochemical marking. Chemical etching is a process for high-resolution part marking of conductive metal surfaces for traceability and metal components identification. It is a permanent and versatile process, making it ideal for custom chemical etching products.
What is chemical etching?
Chemical etching is a high precision subtractive manufacturing process that uses baths of etching chemicals at a controlled temperature to selectively remove material to make sheet metal components in different shapes.
How does chemical etching work?
A sheet of material, called a substrate, is laminated with a layer of light-sensitive resist. UV light is used to expose the resist to develop a positive image of the product. A metal product is made after exposing the substrate to an etching solution, which removes the unprotected parts from the substrate. The operating conditions are controlled to achieve the best result.
Benefits of chemical etching
There are numerous benefits:
- Chemical etching is more cost-efficient than other micro-manufacturing techniques, such as laser cutting and stamping. The reason for this is that chemical etching allows for easy changes to designs. It has a fast manufacturing time and does not need mechanical tools since chemical etching uses computer-aided designs.
- It also has more design flexibility and requires no demurring. Chemical etching is ideal for elaborate patterns with a high degree of accuracy.
- Chemical etching does not cause deformations or distortions, making chemical etching an optimal choice for high precision metal part manufacturing for all prototypes and industrial production.
What can be chemically etched?
Chemical etching can be done to different materials to produce almost any metal, including stainless steel, aluminum, copper, and brass.
Chemical etching applications
A broad range of industries uses precision metal parts. The industries using chemical etching include:
- The medical sector uses surgical blades, lancets, and (micro) needles
- The electronic and semiconductor industries use flexible circuits, heat sinks, and apertures
- The automotive industry needs flat springs, speaker grilles, and flexure
- Airplanes use heat exchangers, connectors, and air intake grilles.
- Hearing aids use micro contact springs
Key features of custom chemical etching products
The key features of chemical etching products include marks on fully hardened or soft metals, a high-resolution black etching mark, a fast speed of between 0.25 – 4 seconds for marks of any size. There are no product fixing or particular setup, which makes chemical etching ideal for variable part marking. Chemical etching can be hand-applied or done automatically.