Chemical Etching and Its Benefits: An Overview

Also known as metal etching, photo etching or chemical milling, chemical etching contributes to being the subtractive metal machining procedure in which enchant chemistry is used for the production of highly accurate and complex metal components. This procedure offers an economical alternative to water jet and laser cutting, punching, stamping, etc.
How chemical etching works
Chemical etching is known to work by the lamination of the sheet metal with the aid of light-sensitive photo resist after which it is exposed to the ultraviolet rays for the transfer of CAD photo of the component. The areas of the photo resist that are unexposed are developed or removed after which etchant chemistry is sprayed for the removal of unprotected material. The rest of the photo resist is then stripped for the revealing of the final etched component.
Benefits of chemical etching
Here is a list of few of the benefits of Chemical etching method.
Burr free metal parts
One of the benefits of chemical etching is that it can produce thin and burr-free metal parts. Other procedures can leave the burrs which can interfere with the prerequisite performance of the specific part. Owing to the metal etching process, you do not need to invest in time-consuming and expensive debarring processes, As the photo tool is considered to be the replica of the dimension of the part and does not wear in a similar way to the hard tooling, maintaining the tighter tolerances are easy.
Affordable repeatability
The tooling is known to be designed for yielding different pieces as the specific part design will allow. Owing to the repeatability, the production runs of large size involve a reduced cut off from the pocket, in comparison to laser and stamping. In addition to this, it is possible to etch part number, company logos or any identification marks without any additional cost.
No change in the properties of the metals
Though the other machining procedures bring a change in the metal properties with mechanical stress or heat during production, the internal structure of metal stays unaltered at the time of using the procedure of photochemical etching. There is no impact on the ductility, grain structure and hardness of the metal. This is highly significant for the functionality of different product applications.
Metal etching tooling is known to develop with the aid of mylar film on the photo plotter. In addition to this, it takes an ample amount of time for the generation of the tooling. This affordable process let the tooling engineer perform experiments with different designs, thereby making it easy to modify and reduce the project time in a significant manner. The flexibility of the tolling enable the revisions of the future part if required, thereby making it a suitable option for short turns or prototypes.
Chemical etching method is used on an extensive scale across a plethora of industries for accomplishing the precision metal part requirements. It is possible to produce burr-free, stress-free and complex components from scratch within the time duration of a few days. The chemical etching procedure can be applied to a bunch of materials such as mild steel, spring steel, tool steel, nickel alloys such as alloy 42, MU-Metal, Inconel, etc.