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The process of chemical etching has changed the way metals are engraved; it is cost-effective, efficient, easier, and allows industries to create intricate, complex, and precise designs.
The process is utilised in a wide variety of different industries, such as aerospace, automotive, medical, electronics, military, stamping, telecommunications and more.
Let’s take a brief look at how and where chemically etched components are found in everyday life.
Chemical etching is an important part of the electronics industry and many components in packaged devices are often etched. This is because developments make these packages more advanced and compact, meaning they require a more efficient process. Hybrid devices and ceramic packages consist of chemically etched plain and stepped flat lids and shielding cans, as well as precision lead frames.
Automobile manufacturers often employ methods and techniques to stay competitive in the market; chemical etching is one such manufacturing technique. It is used to produce high-end tread plates, speaker grilles (sometimes “grills”), trims, and inlays. Through the process of chemical etching, automotive manufacturers can create increasingly complex and intricate component designs, logos, and patterns, all stress and burr-free.
Previously, speaker grilles were made with woven wire. Now, when designing speaker grilles, engineers can come up with customised grille designs to give a more appealing look, and they can use chemical etching to deliver on both aesthetics and function.
Chemical etching is a vital part of the manufacturing process of medical implements like orthopaedic saw blades, reconstructive surgery meshes, and hand surgery distract plates. Most of these implants are made from titanium, stainless steel or titanium alloys, which are usually etched or engraved with important information.
Chemical etching ensures that medical components are burr-free and stress-free. This is an invaluable and essential quality as far as medical manufacturing is concerned, especially when intricate meshes and other such components are in play, etched from titanium.
For example, rigid and flexible meshes can be fabricated for craniofacial, neurosurgical, oral, and maxillofacial purposes. Such meshes are made from titanium and can be configured in different sizes, thanks to the precision of the etching process.
Chemically etched connectors and battery contacts are used in electrical and electronic circuits, and are found in different sizes and shapes. They are manufactured using photo etching and press tooling processes.
You can find many types of connectors that use chemical etching, like pin connectors, spring contacts, connector shields for RFI. To enhance their conductivity and minimise wear and tear, multiple coatings and finishes – like silver, gold, tin, nickel/sulphur, and lead – are applied to their surface.
Gaskets and Shims
A machine is made from moving parts like gears, shims, and gaskets. Precision is key here, as all of the different parts need to move perfectly in conjunction with one another. Parts like these are usually chemically etched; you can expect to find smooth surfaces along with burr and stress-free finishes, for everything from spacer washers to gaskets for cylinder heads in racing engines.
If rough surfaces are present on gaskets, they can interfere with other moving parts. Due to the flexibility of the process, many designs that are complex in nature might be developed better with photo etching; this includes location washers and external and internal tabs.
So, mysterious as the world of chemical etching may be, it is a vital manufacturing process for many everyday items and industries. Get in touch to find out more about how chemical etching can help with your project.
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