Are you in need of quality etching services? Well, we have expertise and experience in doing what we do best. Our enviable reputation has been a journey of expanding our manufacturing services and the effective development of technical capabilities. Photochemical metal machining services is among our etching services. It can also be termed as photochemical etching, photo-chemical milling or metal etching. It is a complex process of intricate designs and tolerance to various metallic materials.
What is Photochemical Machining
This is a process whereby metallic components are fabricated using etchants from simple designs to more complex ones. The part which needs to be manufactured is photographically transferred to a metallic plate and the unwanted part is removed using the etchants. Therefore, the mechanical properties of the finished product are retained because it has been produced chemically so there is no need for further treatment.
The Photochemical Machining process
PCM is an elaborate process with a combination of very important steps.
After cutting the metallic material into the specified dimensions it is chemically cleaned to remove contaminants, oils, grease, and dust from its surface. This enhances adherence to photoresist on the metal. In the past, the cleaning agents contributed to environmental degradation that is why most companies opted to use mild soaps.
The application of photoresist commences after ensuring the metallic component is clean. Therefore, the hot roll- lamination system is used in rolling dry film photoresist onto the metallic component. There are various photoresist applications but PEI is largely used on dry film photoresist because it is more controllable and it can be easily removed. The PEI coats both sides.
Creating a photo tool
The photo tool is the use of Mylar film to create a profile to the ordered part as per the dimensional drawing from the client or using CAD file dimensions. The tooling engineer will ensure the yield on the metal sheet is maximized bed sending it to a laser photo-plotter where the duplicate film is created on Mylar film.
A polymer on the photoresist is activated so that the photo tool image can be transferred onto the metallic sheet which will be sandwiched in the photo tool. During this process, the technician should ensure there are no gaps by creating a vacuum so that the metal can be subjected to UV rays for the image to be formed on the photoresist.
The exposed and coated metal sheets are conveyor through a developing system .Strong Alkaline substance is used in cleansing the unexposed areas thus leaving a resist on the protected parts from the etchant. Through this process, a durable and adherent image is formed is ready for etching.
Etchants are first tested and monitored for ORP and free acids. When everything is set the metal sheets are placed in a conveyor system to be sprayed with an appropriate etchant.
The unetched portions can be stripped on PEI 30 ft spray stripper or tank stripped. Sodium hydroxide is used to remove the resist after which the sheets are cleaned and dried. After Removal of photoresist, the metal sheets are inspected and packaged for shipment. Alternatively, it can be used for soldering, welding, plating among other applications in fields such as optics, electronics, medical and battery technology.