Technology has expanded at such an incredible rate in the past few decades that demand for electronic devices has never been higher.
From the countless electronics in every household to the complex components used in aerospace, automotive, and medical manufacturing, there is a massive increase in the use of precise, lightweight electronic components that withstand EMI and RFI emissions.
As a result, there are various manufacturing processes used to create precise electronic components, giving OEM designers and engineers a range of options for their products.
Chemical etching is one such process, and it is widely considered to be the perfect solution for the unique requirements of precise electronic components used in countless manufacturing industries. Let’s take a closer look to see why:
Compatible with Various Metals
Many types of metals are used to create electronic components and chemical etching is compatible with all the most common materials used, including silver, copper, brass, nickel, and steel/stainless steel.
For example, etched copper components are commonly used in electronics because of its ability to weaken electrical and magnetic waves that cause degradation. It’s also a great thermal conductor and highly resistance to corrosion!
This isn’t the only metal used to created complex and precise electronic components, so the fact that chemical etching can be used on most of the materials used highlights its flexibility and versatility for manufacturers.
Lack of Thermal Stress
Many metalworking processes involve the use of high temperature equipment, which can have a negative impact on the components, such as weakening the metal and lowering its conductivity, which are very important for the performance of electronics.
Etched components do not have this issue though, as the etching process produces no thermal stress to the materials. In fact, chemical etching is the only process where no thermal stress occurs, with the properties of the metal also remaining unaffected by the process.
This means that chemical etching is a far superior process for manufacturing precise electronic components than laser cutting or wire EDM. Each of these produce thermal stress, especially around the edges of the metal after it is cut, which can reduce the functionality of the electronics.
Like thermal stress, many metal working processes produce burrs on the components. This is prominent in laser cutting and wire EDM, with micro burrs often occurring on the surface of the metal, while stamping produces similar results.
Burrs will greatly reduce the functionality of an electrical component. For example, it can lead to short circuiting, interference, and plating accumulating along the edge, which are issues that any manufacturer wants to avoid.
Precision etched components have no burrs, making it a cost-effective option as most other processes require deburring, which adds both time and expense to the processing. Chemical etching dissolves all unwanted material while leaving the wanted section untouched, ensuring smooth surfaces and precise edges that are completely free of burrs.