Chemical Machining Photo Etching and Micro-Laser Technologies for Metal Part Manufacture
Founded in 1970, Chemical Machining was the first Italian company to develop the process of photo chemical milling.
By staying at the forefront of this technology and always using the latest developments and machinery the company has been able to keep its number one position in the Italian market and be rated among the top ten chemical milling job shops worldwide.
Photo etching and micro-laser technology for precise metal parts
Chemical Machining provides precision customer-designed metal parts of any complexity by using photo etching and micro-laser technology. The fastest response time and lowest tooling costs make this technology ideal for both prototyping and medium / large production quantities. Parts are not stressed during the process, keeping their molecular structure and properties intact. Engraving and marking is always possible at no extra cost.
Photo etching / chemical milling technology
The photo etching technology, also known as chemical milling, basically consists of controlled removal of metal particles through a combined chemical and physical action.
Starting from a drawing that describes a customer’s design, a photo tool is generated by CAD software, and the negative of the shape of the part is impressed by light exposure on a thin photo-sensitive film, which is attached to both sides of a metal sheet.
After a developing phase in which film zones that have not been exposed to light are removed, the sheet is ready to enter the etching machine where a special acid will dissolve the polymerised zones and the final shape of the part is achieved. The tolerances that can be achieved in this process depend on the thickness and can reach the 10µm range.
The size of the metal sheet is such that it may contain multiple parts (sometimes hundreds or even thousands), so as to lower the cost of the part as much as possible.
This technology is applicable to almost all metals and their alloys, with the exception of gold, platinum, palladium and the like.
Laser micro-cutting technology for high-precision parts
Where absolute minimum tolerances are needed the company will use its laser micro-cutting line; with this technology extremely high-precision parts can be produced with tolerances down to 3µm on metal thicknesses that span from 0.05mm to 0.8mm.
Using a sophisticated optical alignment system it is possible to use both photo etching and laser micro-cut technologies on the same part, to take advantage of the benefits of both technologies.
Photo etching for medical device manufacturing
Photo etching is very well suited to several applications covering almost every market segment, including medical and dental devices for which parts like scalpels, surgical blades, flat stents, teeth files, parts for dental implant, etc. can be quickly and cost-effectively built.
In general this technology is particularly convenient on thicknesses between 0.02mm and 2mm, when geometries are very complex, tolerances are very tight, and time to prototyping and production is very short.
Investment upfront is very low since the cost of tooling is an order or two of magnitude less than in competing technologies. Absence of burr, no stress, no change of temper, and magnetic properties are additional benefits for demanding applications.
Photo etching for complex 3D shapes
Although photo etching is a native 2D technology, techniques such as half-etched bend lines facilitate the production of complex 3D shapes without the need of costly hard tooling. Company engineers are ready to work with our customers to provide guidance and consultancy on this process.
Additional treatments such as various surface coatings, gold plating, etc. are also available from Chemical Machining, to ensure we provide a complete one-stop shopping service to our customers.