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Photo etching is a chemical process used on all sorts of metals. It is a process we specialise in here at Qualitetch, and we take great pride in sharing our knowledge and experience with others.
However, when we go to schools, colleges and universities, we find that many students are unaware of the industry and the various skills and disciplines behind it. That is why we have decided to write a blog focusing on careers in photo chemical etching; specifically, the unlikely skills and qualifications that apply.
The name ‘photo chemical etching’ suggests that a career in photo etching is only for those whose interests and skills lie in chemistry, metalwork and at a push, photography. However, that is not the case. In fact, these three fields are but the tip of the iceberg.
The photo etching industry requires all sorts of skills and disciplines. As well as graphic design and chemistry, there is also scope for work based in areas like maths, art, technology and design. Each discipline is very different in its own right, but each is crucial to the overall process.
So, to see how your qualifications and area of expertise fits the wonderful world of photo etching, here is a quick breakdown.
Maths and Chemistry
The technical drawings and schematics used as artwork for the etching process, as well as services such as graphic design and development, require an element of mathematical skill. Similarly, the core stage of the process requires an understanding of chemicals, metals, reactions and the complexities of acidic and alkaline solutions which need to be tailored to individual projects and changed on a regular basis.
Though the majority of the photo etching process is done with chemical baths in automated and hand operated machines, there is still a metalwork aspect. This is especially the case with special projects that call for 3D forming, precision pressing and bespoke tools that are designed and developed in-house. There is also a need to understand how to shape and mould metals when forming components, i.e. do you need to spot weld, solder or shape and attach via tabs.
Graphics and Art
Due to our in-house creative department, we can design logos and develop even the sketchiest of drawings from anyone; aerospace engineers and amateur jewellery designers alike. Thanks to our pool of art and design skills, we can also ensure that the artwork for the etching process is done in-house, by an experienced team who fully understand the whole process. This means we can talk to clients and fully understand, then translate their bespoke vision.
Design and Engineering
Design and engineering are central to the chemical etching industry. On the floor, we need design knowledge and skill to handle trickier projects and tackle challenging briefs. We also need engineering experience because of the tools and machines we use and develop. Furthermore, the industry needs driving forward by those who can design and develop new tools, equipment and processes.
Photo chemical etching involves an element of photography. Not only do we need experts who understand the basic principles, challenges and nuances of photography; we also need photography enthusiasts to work with films in the dark room, with a full understanding of the precision needed and the comprehensive knowledge base that will help drive development. There is room for both the artistic and technical sides of photography in photo etching.
Varied as these skills and disciplines are though, they are only the beginning. As with any innovative and dynamic industry, the photo etching industry is always on the lookout for new talent and useful skills. Even if you aren’t sure your skills apply, there is always room to learn, grow and develop.
So when you are thinking about the next step in your career or education, consider how your passions and skills can work in the photo etching industry. You can always contact us here at Qualitetch for more information and advice. Alternatively, click here for more information on etching.
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