What Is Acid Etching?
Acid etching is the process whereby metal is exposed to corrosive acids to remove any unwanted parts of that metal. In order to keep the desired parts involved in this process we use a photo-resist which is a thin polymer coat that’s applied to the surface of the metal which will maintain the required shape or pattern. The principal advantage is that this method of metal-cutting is very precise as you’re essentially able to use a stencil to cut the required shapes in the metal. A part of this precision means that there are no faults as a result of employing this method. With machining or laser-cutting metal there can be burrs or slight abnormalities as the metal is exposed to high heat or pressure from the tools – not with acid etching.
The acid etching process, thanks to its very nature of dissolving unwanted parts of the sheet metal, means that adding fluidic channels, numbering, logos and more is also easily possible. It’s because of this process that means its uses are numerous across a wide range of different industries.
The tooling process for acid etching is all digital which means limitless possibilities when it comes to shape, form and features of the metal components. For example in the medical field where precision (often on a micro scale) is necessary, acid etching is the best way to produce the desired results. This is also true for certain metal parts that may require intricate tooling in hard to access places; where alternative metal manufacturing might struggle, acid etching is able to remove all the unwanted material with no trouble and no flaws.
Using acid etching is also necessary for any industry where safety is paramount. As mentioned above, the medical field is an example where the equipment requires absolute precision but this is also true in aerospace, for example, where parts are often operating under significant stress. The process of acid etching has a multitude of practical uses and this is especially so where certain appliances require custom-shaped parts.
As cost is always a significant consideration in any manufacturing process, it’s essential that the manufacturing process is reliable and consistent in its efficiency. This is where acid etching shines as throughout the production, it retains the quality and consistency that is required for the most demanding of products.