Conard's Photo Etching Blog

How working with a photo etcher saves you money

Posted by Kathleen Stillman on Jul 16, 2015 12:39:00 PM
Kathleen Stillman
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Here are some of the ways photo etching can deliver precision metal parts without driving up your costs.

OEMs have many criteria to consider when choosing a supplier for component parts. Quality, lead times, the ability of the process to handle the designs, costs - all play a major role in choosing the right supplier.

Manufacturers need supply chain partners that deliver high quality at competitive prices. Photochemical etching is an often overlooked opportunity to achieve both requirements. Here are some of the ways photo etching can deliver precision metal parts without driving up your costs:

Cost agnostic when it comes to part complexity
With conventional processes like stamping, punching, laser cutting and wire EDM, the more complex your design is, the more your part will cost. Photo etching, on the other hand, can create parts with extremely complex geometries and features without increasing costs.

Consider a fine screen or mesh that would be used in a filtration device. Putting hundreds or thousands of tiny holes in a small flat part would be very costly with conventional processes, if the natural limitations of these methods even allow it at all. Since every feature on photo etched parts are created all at once, you're only paying for the first hole. Your costs are the same whether you have one hole or one thousand.

Working with a photo etcher can be a cost-effective way to create precision metal parts.Working with a photo etcher can be a cost-effective way to create precision metal parts.

Turnkey services for ancillary operations
Often, the parts you need will require more than just the initial fabrication. You may require additional services like forming, welding, heat treating, surface finishing, etc. A good photo etching supplier will have resources that can quickly and cost-effectively finish these tasks for you

Low tooling costs
Conventional processes often come with expensive tooling, such as stamping or cutting dies. Photo etching uses photo tools - dimensionally stable layers of mylar film that adhere to both sides of the metal sheet and outlines the negative images of the part. These negatives, or clear spaces where the metal is exposed will eventually become the parts.

Most photo tools are about $300 or less. They can also be reused, allowing for large batches from just one tool. Additionally, we can have your tools ready in about a day, keeping lead times short.

We can also provide composite tooling, which is a way to make several different designs on one sheet of metal. If you need small volumes of multiple parts, but don't want to pay for the individual tools, we can include all of their designs on one single tool and produce them all on one sheet, saving time and money. The only rule here is that every part has to have the same thickness.

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To learn more about how photo etching can save you money, call us at 800-443-5218 or email us at sales@conardcorp.com and we can get started working on your designs!

Topics: Photo chemical etching