The Photochemical Etching Process – The Manufacturing World’s Best Kept Secrets
Photochemical etching has turned out to be one of the manufacturing industry’s best kept secret used to produce products that are absolutely accurate, identical pieces. Photo etching is used in many different industries including communications, electronics, automotive and precision engineering. Photo Etching is a process used to fabricate sheet metal components using a photo resist and etchants to corrosively machine away selected areas. Photo Fabrication uses state of the art photo etching tools and technology to achieve accurate, desirable result. Let us discuss the process;
The photo etching process involves the art of creating an image from a metal plate into a material with the use of an ultraviolet light. When this ultraviolet light is shown on the material, the pattern will be inscribed onto it resulting in the desired design. This pattern is then developed and etched from the metal sheet. This process is neat and fast and that is one of the reasons why it has gained so much popularity amongst several manufacturers the world all over. When the right size of material is gotten, it is cleaned and sent to the finishing workshop for further process. Photo tools are affordable to produce when compared to traditional tooling methods.
The photo etching process can be easily done using several lamination methods. There are several lamination methods used during this process including roller, wet-dip or dry lamination. Thick metals take a longer time to etch and as such thickness range from 10 microns to two millimeters is just perfect. It is important to ensure that the metal layer is sensitive so that the efficient outcome can be achieved during the process of lamination. A clean environment should be maintained so that the material won’t be contaminated thereby ensuring a good surface of the material. This will guarantee the best and most efficient outcome.
After lamination the layers of the metal sheet are carefully examined and sandwiched between the photo tools prior to exposure to the ultraviolet light. the UV light makes the specific areas of the laminate stronger thus turning it into an acid resistant surface.
To get the finish product, an acid solution is sprayed on the surface of the metal sheet to dissolve the exposed area and reveal the design inscribed on the metal. The acid that is sprayed on the metal sheet is done on only the front photo tool. If this is the case, the acid will etch from one side alone. On the contrary, if both sides of the photo tools have etchable areas, the metal will be removed completely. After it is done, the material properties remain intact and the product will be smooth with the accurate design.
Components can be transformed into three dimensional designs. In order for this to be possible, a straight score mark is edged, thereafter the edges are folded to form different application. Improve quality of design is guaranteed. Photo etching is a natural solution to any challenges and improves plating conductivity. This process is so advantageous and less time consuming.