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Qualitetch Components Ltd
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Photo Chemical Etching Specialists
Photo Chemical Etching Specialists

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Your Chemical Etching FAQ’s

Here at Qualitetch HQ, we offer high-quality chemical etching as part of a range of services - to provide businesses like yours with a total metal component solution. When you need metal parts and components to bring your product to market, you know who to call.

Although the work we do influences domestic and business lives on a daily basis, within a niche industry such as ours, it makes perfect sense that many of our clients and prospective customers will want to know more about the services we provide. With that in mind, we’ve put together a selection of our most frequently asked questions to answer your queries with ease.

What is Chemical Etching?

Simply put, the process of chemical etching uses a technique of printing a profile image onto sheet metal using a UV photosensitive film, which is then passed through an acid etchant. The parts are then processed, leaving behind the precision metal parts and components to your specific design. Take a look at our process video from our website Click Here

The metal is then rinsed free of chemicals and the blue UV film coating removed. Your parts are then ready to be shipped or assembled.

What Are the Benefits?

Compared to other services, this process is much kinder on the metal used, leaving it stress and burr free. This means we can process much thinner sheets of metal while maintaining our high standards and levels of accuracy.

What Metals Can We Use With this Service?

This service is suitable for use with an extensive range of metals thanks to the flexible nature of this process. The most popular metals that we etch include Brass, Copper, Stainless Steel, Mild Steel, Carbon Spring Steel, Silver, Aluminium, Beryllium Copper, Nickel, Nickel Silver and many many more.

Is this Process Limited to Manufacturing Industries?

Our services are available across a broad spectrum of industries and sectors, including Aerospace, Electronics, Telecommunications, Science, Medical devices, Automotive, Healthcare and the Renewable energy sector; to name just a few.

If you have a project that requires the production and manufacture of thin gauge metal parts and components, then we can assist.

Do All Parts Have to Be the Same?

We manufacture both small R&D and prototype orders, through to high volume production, but the following is true for all of our clients. If you have a number of parts that require the same material (including thickness), then we can manufacture as many as we can from one sheet to reduce your overall costs via nesting parts within the sheet.

How Long Will an Order Take?

We usually offer a lead time of approximately 5-7 working days (flat blank profiles), 5-10 days (flat and plated parts), and 10-15 days (3D formed parts). However, we also provide a premium service for urgent orders as soon as next day.

For more information about chemical etching and our other services, please refer to our more extensive FAQ page http://www.qualitetch.co.uk/faq/ or contact us on 01354 658787. 

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Why not Come see us next week at the Southern manufacturing exhibition down in Farnborough at stand K7

Look forward to seeing you there.

http://www.industrysouth.co.uk/

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Chemically Etched Every Day

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.

Electronics

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.

Automotive

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.

Medical

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.

Electrical Connectors

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 at www.qualitetch.co.uk or call our sales team on 01354 658787
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What is Chemical Etching?

As one of the most heavily used processes we utilise here at Qualitetch, the chemical etching process is one that has been refined and perfected by our team of specialist experts. Not only is it highly efficient, but it allows for entire orders to be customised as per your part and component needs as a customer. Similarly, it is a very accurate process that allows for a very small margin of error, ensuring precision at all times.

We pride ourselves on our customer service and the ability to provide our customers with bespoke, personalised solutions; no matter what the design, volume or design requirements.

What does the process involve?

In simple terms, an acidic solution is applied which then eats away at the metal, leaving the etched pattern or design remaining. Each sheet of metal has a design applied, along with a photo-resist to protect the design from the acid. When the acid is applied, it dissolves the remaining metal to a point where just the design remains.

What does chemical etching produce?

There are hundreds of different parts and components that we might come across on any given day that has been manufactured using the chemical etching process.

Jewellery, parts of your cooker, washing machines, televisions, mobile phones, cars, aeroplanes and even batteries have, at some point on their journey to your home, been involved in our etching industry.

Are high-quality results guaranteed?

The chemical etching process is one that involves very little stress on the metal sheets that we utilise. This means that unlike other processes that require bending and cutting, the end product is a lot less vulnerable to damage when it comes to being used.

Additionally, there are no burrs or rough edges on any part or component that goes through our metal etching process. Due to the method of checking and double checking parts in place, any mistakes can be spotted and easily rectified before any expensive mistakes are made. Furthermore, this is one of the most accurate processes in the industry, so high-quality results are a given.

The flexible method used in this process allows us to accurately produce complex, sophisticated designs that would usually incur damage to the material if utilised in any other process.

More information on this topic can be found here.

For further information on any of our other services, please view our website www.qualitetch.co.uk or contact us on 01354 658787 and we’ll be more than happy to assist with any queries you may have.

From Brazil and Back Again: Acid Etching

With the 2016 Summer Olympics due to be held in Rio de Janeiro this August, Brazil has been under the world’s spotlight since the news was announced back in 2012. This year, a record number of countries will be participating in 28 different sporting events, making this Olympic Games another one to remember.
One of the most iconic and memorable traditions in the build up to any Olympic Games is the Torch relay; the torch is lit and will be carried by notable athletes while visiting cities throughout the host country. The torch is traditionally lit in Greece and was handed over to Brazil in April this year before beginning a journey that will end at the Opening Ceremony on August 5th in Maracanã Stadium.
Etching – Then and Now
Before modern civilisation took hold of South America, Brazil was largely populated by tribes. Although the tribal culture that was once dominant in the country now equates to a mere 0.4% of the population, there are still approximately 240 tribes living in Brazil, primarily within the Amazon Rainforest. Many of the tribes’ people live entirely off the land of the forest and rivers, hunting and building homes in the same way their ancestors would.
The natives would etch and carve designs into rocks, stone and wood to create the traditional tribal jewellery that is now known the world over.
Fast forward to today and etching is still very much a part of modern day life around the world. While techniques have expanded to use acid as a means of etching metal materials, the ability to acid etch has led to core developments in a variety of industries.
This year, a process that began as a means of tribal decoration will come full circle; many key parts of the 2016 Olympic Games are acid-etched products, including the Olympic torch itself.
Here at Qualitetch, we provide an acid etching service that is both high-quality and cost-effective for our customers. With modern techniques at such a level, we can provide a fast turnaround service to suit your need and requirements.
For more information about the services we provide or to speak to our team about how we can assist you, please feel free to contact us on 01354 658787.

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Facts about Chemical Etching

The chemical etching process is highly popular across a multitude of industries, for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it is a highly precise and accurate way of manufacturing; it is stress-free on the metal used and lastly, it offers a fast turnaround in a cost effective manner. We offer a broad variety of methods to manufacture parts and components for our customers. However, this method remains the most common.
To see exactly why chemical etching is a vital part of the manufacturing industry, please read on for some facts about the process and the ways in which it is used!
The chemical etching process manufactures parts and components that are entirely free from burrs
Because the nature of the process is very gentle, the metal that is used to create the end product is stress-free, which results in parts that are less susceptible to damage
The chemical etchant is often ferric chloride as this can corrode a broad variety of metals, no matter how hard they are
Other acids are also used for metals that do not corrode well with ferric chloride, such as ferric nitrate for Silver & Molybdenum.
The chemical etching process can be used to achieve the most detailed, complex and intricate designs with ease, no matter how big or small
The process works with a wide variety of metals such as silver, nickel, nickel silver, aluminium, stainless steel, copper, brass, beryllium copper and much more
Design changes are easy to make as it simply involves amending the drawing revision that is then printed onto the metal sheet before the etching process begins. A video of this process can be found here
Accuracy is vital when it comes to creating parts and components. The etching process is highly accurate with tolerances of +-0.010mm, depending on the material used and how thick it is
The thickness of the metal used also determines how fast the etching process is
The chemical etching process is very cost effective because you can use one sheet to create a great number of parts, determined by size
That being said, if a thicker metal part is desired, the process takes a little longer, thus driving up the price
If you need to make use of our chemical etching process; either alone or in conjunction with any of our other metal component processes, then please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss your requirements.

 Get to Know: Photo Chemical Machining
 
If your business is in need of a high quality and cost-effective photo chemical machining service, then Qualitetch have the solution to your problem.
Photo chemical machining - more commonly known as photo etching, is an engineering production method that is used to create metal components entirely burr and stress-free. This is achieved through the process of chemical etching – which selectively corrodes flat, sheet metal through the use of a photoresist masking agent.
The chemical etchant removes the metal that is no longer required without cutting it, allowing your end product to be as strong as a complete sheet of metal. This process works just as well for complex and intricate designs as it does for simple and easy ones.
Why Use Photo Chemical Machining?
The entire process is highly accurate and cost efficient, with a fast turnaround. It can be used in conjunction with other processes such as forming and plating, and it can be utilised as a viable and more economical process compared to stamping, punching and laser cutting.
It is due to the affordability and adaptable process that makes photochemical machining ideal for creating parts and components from prototype stage right through to final production. Changes can be made very easily and quickly with the use of this technique, which can prove invaluable for many businesses.
Ready for use with a variety of sheet metals including aluminium, silver, stainless steel, copper and brass; this process is a highly accurate and practical technique for metals of varying thicknesses. Please visit our website or contact our team to discuss your specific requirements.
The Process
The photo chemical machining process is very simple. The design is printed negatively on a film sheet. The metal sheet is then sized ,cleaned and placed between two sheets of UV sensitive film, known as laminating. Utilising a vacuum and a UV light, the negative is then transferred to the metal sheet. Excess photoresist is then washed away, leaving just the parts that require etching.
The sheet can now enter the etching line. It is moved along a line resembling a conveyor belt and sprayed with acid – typically ferric chloride, which, when heated, reacts with the metal and corrodes with ease. The sheet is then neutralized and rinsed before removing the remaining photoresist, cleaning once more and finally drying.
This process can be used to manufacture parts and components across a variety of industries with different needs. Some of the most common uses include; making mesh, battery grids, springs, sensors, washers, elements, circuits and many more components.
For more information on how you can get the best from the photochemical machining process, please contact our customer service team for a chat. 

Titanium: The New Metal On The Block
For many years, titanium has been a popular metal for all sorts of purposes. Everything from jewellery and design to medicine and engineering has benefitted from the substance, and that has resulted in increasing popularity for titanium all-round.
For starters, it is incredibly strong; you may have heard the recent news story about the Sheffield doctor who had to use bolt cutters to remove a titanium ring from a patient’s quickly-swelling finger. It is also much more resilient than gold or silver, as well as many other metals, meaning it can keep up with busy 21st-century life. And as for comfort and ease of use, it is a light metal that, unlike its gold and silver alternatives, does not cause allergies or green discoloured bands when it comes into contact with skin.
Of course, common items like jewellery, bicycles and lightweight Apple Mac computers aren’t the only instances in which titanium shines.
Being a surprisingly biocompatible metal; titanium is also used in the medical sector as a means of giving people a new lease of life. In addition to surgical instruments and equipment like wheelchairs, everything from cranial plates and micro meshes to surgical implants for socket and joint replacements can be made from titanium.
The human body can process significant amounts of titanium without absorbing it, minimising the risk of rejection or allergic reaction as far as the patient is concerned. And this, combined with the similarity between titanium’s density and that of human bone, makes for a very useful and reliable material. In fact, so minimal are the effects of titanium on the human body that it lasts for more than 20 years, meaning the recipients of titanium implants don’t have to go through the trauma of multiple and frequent operations.
But how can such fine, detailed and important components be produced so perfectly that they pose no risks?
Well, processes like photo chemical etching provide such high-quality, stress-free and burr-free results that you’d never need worry about things like discomfort from rough edges or splintered surfaces. And the process allows for such precision that you can guarantee that the finished product (be it a micro mesh for facial reconstruction or an implant for a replacement tooth), will match the brief millimetre for millimetre.
So, with the phenomenal properties of titanium and the superb capabilities of photo etching specialists like us, it seems we have entered a new bionic age, where super metals like titanium can fuse seamlessly with organic materials like bone to improve and enhance human lives. Something we are excited to be a part of.
 
Find out what else photo etching is capable of by browsing our site or getting in touch with the team today.
www.qualitetch.co.uk

Chemical Photo Acid Etching - Flexible, accurate and cost-effective blanking, for any volume.
The photo etching process, also known as the chemical etching, acid etching or photo chemical machining (PCM) process, is a chemical milling process used in manufacturing to cut flat sheet metal profiles quickly, accurately, and cost-effectively.
Photochemical etching is a valuable tool when used either on its own or in conjunction with any of our other services
The process also has added benefits in that it produces completely stress and burr-free results, unlike other manufacturing methods, such as laser cutting, water-jet cutting or EDM wire erosion.
In terms of the accuracy achievable, the acid etching process is extremely competitive with other metal manufacturing methods, with tolerances from  +-0.010mm offered, depending on the material type and thickness. Features can also be positioned to an accuracy of +-5 microns. 
The process uses ferric chloride as the etchant to cut the component profile, and the hardness of the material is not a factor, as we can acid etch both very hard tool steels or annealed substrates.
Design changes are very easy to rectify with the photochemical machining process. We simply print the new required profile outline onto an acetate photo-film soft tool, and up-issue the drawing revision, as appropriate.
As the profile image is simply printed onto the metal sheet, the complexity of the design is not an issue. Even very intricate designs, such as metal meshes and very small feature component parts, can be manufactured easily and quickly, which also lends itself perfectly to frequently changing parts or research and development projects.
We can manufacture component parts in most metals, including Aluminium, Stainless Steel, Mild Steel, Copper, Brass, Nickel, Beryllium Copper, Nickel Silver, Spring Steel, Molybdenum, Silver, Titanium and many more.
So, for a total metal component solution, call Qualitetch for a quotation, today on 01354 658787 or sales@qualitetch.co.uk
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