Need shims to a specific thickness or washers to precise dimensions? Need a flat part that is truly flat, stress free and burr free? If what you need is out of the ordinary and not an “off the shelf” item, the chances are that the quickest and most economical way of producing it will be by photochemical machining (etching), although few engineers are familiar with the process and its benefits.
The first great benefit of this production method is in the speed of manufacture. Etching does not require hard tooling that can be expansive and take weeks if not months to source. It uses digital photo tooling, or in the case of Precision Micro, no tooling whatsoever. The Company now uses Laser Direct Imaging (LDI)… transferring the digital design direct to plate without the use of film phototools, speeding the overall process and dramatically increasing the levels of precision achieved. LDI also enables designs to be changed and optimised at little extra cost, removing the need for compromise to avoid the cost of press tool modification.
Etching is a cold chemical process that corrosively removes unwanted material. Complex designs cost no more to produce than simple ones. Flat parts remain as flat as the original sheet material from which they are made, unlike pressed parts that are subjected to substantial mechanical forces and stresses. In most instances, pressed parts will have burrs caused by the shearing action of the press tool. These can be removed in a subsequent operation but etched parts are completely burr-free and need no further finishing. Precision Micro’s high throughput, etching facility also makes large volumes economical to produce.
The next time you need quick, precise, burr free, flat parts, in quantities from tens to millions, consider “Photochemical Machining”, one of industry’s best-kept secrets.
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