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Chemical Etching is the most cost-efficient precision manufacturing technique: compared to Stamping, EDM, Laser Cutting, CNC, and Water Jetting

Aug 22, 2017 8:00:00 AM By Florin Cornea

Chemical Etching is an effective manufacturing process to create high-precision metal parts in any complex shape and pattern. Depending on specific product requirements and parameters, it could very well be the most cost-efficient technique to manufacture precision metal parts. To find out if chemical etching is the best solution for you, we compare it with 5 other manufacturing processes — on cost efficiency. 

Comparison of Chemical Etching and 5 other manufacturing technologies

In this blog, we compare Chemical Etching with the following common manufacturing processes on cost efficiency:
  1. Stamping
  2. Laser Cutting
  3. Electrical Discharge Machining (EDM)
  4. Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Machining
  5. Water Jetting

Chemical Etching VS Stamping

Stamping, also known as Pressing, is a subtractive manufacturing process that places flat sheet metal into a stamping press, where a tool and die surface forms the metal into your desired shape. The trend of miniaturization has driven the industry to a micro level, which is referred to as micro stamping.

Unlike Chemical Etching — which features no tooling cost — Stamping always requires substantial investment in tooling and installation: both monetary and time-wise. One stamping die can easily cost thousands of dollars, not to mention the extra costs for setting up the equipment and maintenance over time.

Chemical Etching VS Laser Cutting

Laser Cutting is another subtractive manufacturing process. It works by directing the output of a high-power laser most commonly through optics to cut materials in order to achieve the desired products.

In terms of small volume production or prototyping, Laser Cutting can be more cost-effective than Chemical Etching. When you to move industrial mass production, Laser Cutting loses its advantage in costs. Here’s why: with Laser Cutting, you can’t create multiple parts simultaneously. With Chemical Etching, you can.

Chemical Etching VS EDM

Electrical Discharge Machining (EDM), also known as spark machining, burning, die sinking, wire burning, or wire erosion, is a subtractive manufacturing process whereby a desired shape is obtained by removing materials with electrical discharges (sparks).

When you require small volume production or prototyping, there’s no significant difference between Chemical Etching and EDM in terms of cost-effectiveness; when it is industrial scale production, however, Chemical Etching is far more cost efficient.

Chemical Etching VS CNC Machining

Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Machining refers to computer-controlled manufacturing processes such as milling, grinding, and turning.

With CNC Machining, investing in extra tools for different parts is unavoidable. CNC Machining is especially expensive if your production volume is not large enough to spread out the costs. Even when your production volume is large enough to divide costs over a longer period, it might still be more expensive than Chemical Etching. Usually, there are additional maintenance costs involved, often with regards to tooling.

With Chemical Etching, on the contrary, you can produce thousands of parts without additional investment in tooling and maintenance.

Chemical Etching VS Water Jetting

Water Jetting is an industrial manufacturing process that uses a high-pressure jet of water  — or sometimes a mixture of water and an abrasive substance — focused into a beam by a nozzle to cut a wide variety of materials. It can cut various materials including hard materials, such as metal or granite, or softer materials such as wood or rubber.

Compared to Water Jetting — which normally involves high operation costs — Chemical Etching requires no tooling or setup costs. This makes Chemical Etching a more cost effective solution for both small volume prototyping and large volume industrial production.

Overall, we can draw conclusion that Chemical Etching is the most cost-efficient technique compared to other processes. is an optimal choice for precision metal part manufacturing, regardless of prototyping or industrial production. 

Curious if Chemical Etching is the solution for your precision metal parts? Request a quote and challenge us to co-develop your next innovation:

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