Home » Metal Etching 101: What Is Metal Etching and its application

Metal Etching 101: What Is Metal Etching and its application

by Tehseen Khan

Metal Etching is a technique that uses chemical reactions or physical impact to remove part of material. Etching technology can be divided into two categories: wet etching and dry etching.

It was first used to make printing embossed plates such as copper plates and zinc plates. It is also widely used in the processing of weight reduction instrument panels, nameplates and thin workpieces that are difficult to process with traditional processing methods. After continuous improvement and process equipment Development, it can also be used in the rapid prototyping of precision metal etching products for electronic wafer parts in the aviation, machinery, and chemical industries. Especially in the semiconductor manufacturing process, etching is an indispensable technology.

Processing steps

  1. Incoming material inspection. When we receive the workpieces that need to be processed from the customer, we must first go through inspection, which is what our IQC process does. We wipe the workpieces received from the customers clean, and then conduct careful inspection to ensure that the incoming materials are Existing defective products are removed to ensure that the input products are good products
  2. Electrostatic dust removal, spraying photosensitive oil, and inspection. After the workpiece processed with incoming materials passes the IQC inspection, it is handed over to the next process: spraying photosensitive oil. However, electrostatic dust removal must be carried out before spraying photosensitive oil, because the product is in the production process. During our wiping process, static electricity will exist to varying degrees, and static electricity can absorb dust, so it must be electrostatically removed. After the static electricity is removed, dust will not be absorbed on the product. After the static electricity is removed, proceed Next step: spray photosensitive oil. The main function of spraying photosensitive oil is to prepare for the next process of photosensitization (exposure). Spray photosensitive oil on the front and rear of the product. After completing the spraying work, the product must be carefully inspected. The purpose of the inspection is to check whether the product is sprayed with oil or whether there are any undesirable phenomena such as oil residue during the oil injection process. When the product inspection is OK, it will flow into the next process: photosensitization (exposure).
  3. Sensitization and development Sensitization (exposure) is to place the film on the product that has been sprayed with photosensitive oil. The main purpose is to make the pattern on the film form on the product through exposure. Pay special attention to the fixture during the photosensitization (exposure) process. It must be placed properly, and the film cannot be skewed, otherwise the product pattern will be skewed, resulting in defective products. The film must also be inspected regularly to ensure that it cannot be folded, otherwise defective products will also appear. After the photosensitization (exposure) is completed, the next step is to proceed: development; the purpose of development is to wash away the unexposed areas with the developing solution, and solidify the exposed areas to form an etching pattern. After development, the quality inspector will inspect the product. , select out areas that cannot be developed or products with poor patterns, and good products will enter the next process: oil sealing.
  4. Oil sealing. The so-called oil sealing is to manually replenish oil at the edge of the product during the oil injection process and in areas where oil cannot be sprayed. During the oil replenishment process, the metal parts of the product must not be exposed, otherwise they will be etched. If a defective product is produced, the product will be dried after the oil replenishment is completed. After the drying is completed, the product will be inspected. Only after the inspection is OK can it be put into the next process: etching.
  5. Etching and cleaning etching is a key process in the entire production process. It mainly uses the chemical action of chemical solutions to corrode the exposed stainless steel parts of the product after exposure and development, thereby forming the pattern we want. After the etching work is completed, The product is cleaned to remove excess paint, and then passes through cleaning equipment such as a slow drawing machine to complete the product processing process.
  6. Shipping inspection: The product after the etching and cleaning process is the product we want, but it must undergo final FQC inspection to remove defective products during the production process before it can be handed over to the finished product warehouse for shipment.

Corrosion problem

After the protective film on the etched workpiece is removed, the shiny metal color is revealed. For example, brass decorative parts, nameplates, and unetched convex areas are bright golden yellow. The corroded recesses are matt or matte, with clear layers. After rinsing and passivation, the surface is covered with protective paint, which is the finished product. The corroded recesses are also filled with various colored paints to form colorful patterns and then covered with protective paint. After the high-end handicrafts are stripped, they often need to be electroplated, plated with alloy or real gold or silver, and then filled with paint or directly varnished. There is also partial electroplating, for example: without removing the protective film, plating other colors on the corroded parts, and then removing the protective film, so that it becomes a gold and silver product. It looks exquisite, gorgeous and noble. In the past, some people used self-drying paint for varnishing. It looked good but was not durable. Instead, drying paints, UV-cured paints or electrophoretic paints were mostly used. For parts made of stainless steel used in industrial products, the protective film is usually removed and cleaned. Of course, surface coloring, passivation or coating may also be required if there are special requirements.

Etching purposes

  • Deburring. After the stainless steel plate is punched or machined, there are burrs on the end face or corners, which not only affects the appearance of the product, but also affects the use of the machine. If mechanical polishing or manual deburring is used, not only will the work efficiency be low, but it will also fail to meet the design requirements. For fillet chamfering requirements, a special chemical polishing or electrochemical polishing solution is used to corrode the burrs without damaging the surface finish, or even improve the surface finish. This is a combination of surface treatment and machining.
  • Remove excess dimensions. For example, for a stainless steel spring wire, the wire diameter is required to be φ0.8~0.84, but the actual wire diameter is and 0.9. How to make the finished product uniformly φ0.8~0.84, how to effectively remove burrs and heat treatment during machining The oxide film produced during the process? If you need to use mechanical polishing and pliers repair to remove burrs, oxide scale and remove 0.06~0.1mm uniformly on the circumference of the steel wire diameter. Not only is the processing technology poor, the efficiency is low, but the processing quality is also difficult to guarantee. Using a special solution of chemical polishing, the purpose of removing burrs, oxide scale and evenly removing excess wire diameter can be achieved at the same time. For example, for some flake stainless steel parts that are larger in size, special electrochemical polishing solutions can be used to appropriately reduce the thickness to meet product size requirements.
  • Milling cnc machining. The parts of the stainless steel etching material that need to be processed are exposed to the chemical milling fluid for milling processing, so as to obtain parts of a certain shape or size to achieve three-dimensional and decorative purposes. Using screen printing, text, patterns, and patterns can be chemically milled out of the stainless steel surface to a certain depth, and then filled with certain different colors, such as medals, signs, nameplates, etc.

What should you pay attention to during stainless steel etching?

Processing area: The processing area of stainless steel parts should be relatively fixed. The platform in the stainless steel parts processing area should take isolation measures, such as laying rubber mats, etc. The stainless steel parts processing area should avoid damage and contamination of stainless steel parts.

Blanking: Stainless steel parts are blanked by shearing or plasma cutting, sawing, etc.

Mechanical processing: Stainless steel parts should also be protected during mechanical processing such as turning and milling. When the operation is completed, oil stains, iron filings and other debris on the surface of the workpiece should be cleaned.

Forming processing: During the rolling and bending processes, effective measures should be taken to avoid scratches and creases on the surface of stainless steel parts.

Best Metal Etching Developer and Manufacturer in China

BE-CU is a leading developer and manufacturer of products in the field of photochemical etching, providing precision-engineered products to customers in more than forty countries in the Americas, Europe and Asia.

Dongguan BE-CU factory was founded with 12 etching lines (6 horizontal and 6 vertical etching lines) in making precise metal parts and filter screens through photo etching over 10 years.

Work 24/7 providing fast, high quality etch production and extremely reliable service but at significant savings. BE-CU is known for offering the fastest lead-time of samples in 2 ~3 days from blueprint to shipment and excellent customer service as well as producing top quality metal etched parts..Be-Cu provides the highest standard of METAL ETCHING, metal spinning and more service for all your needs. Contact us today to know more about what we offer!

  • Sales: Bella
  • Web:be-cu.com
  • Phone: +86 151 1280 7161
  • Email: info@be-cu.com
  • Affiliated: Be-cu Prototype
  • Address: Dongguan,China

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