In Knol-edge, Harrie Knol shares his knowledge on precision metal. Harrie is Head of Application Engineering at Veco and helps our clients' engineers to shape their projects.
In this video, Harrie talks about cost comparison of Electroforming, Etching, and other precision technologies. Is Electroforming more expensive than other precision technologies? Why can we do Electroforming cost-effectively? What are the scenarios that Electroforming is the better choice? What Electroforming technology can do for engineers?
To learn more about Electroforming, a form of Additive Manufacturing, see White Paper Electroforming: Today we are going to talk about cost comparison; cost comparison between electroforming and different other types of precision technologies. Other types of precision technologies are photo etching, laser cutting, EDM or spark erosion and also stamping.
Most people are not aware of electroforming, of the electroforming technology, and they are not aware of what you can do with it. The main advantage of electroforming is that you can achieve very high accuracy and very high volume production.
And why is it competitive on price against these other technologies? First, at Veco we do have a very high degree of automation of our production processes. The moulds, the mandrels can be used sometimes up to 20 times, it depends on the accuracy you demand. For example, if you compare it to the photo etching, there you have to apply the photo resist every time again. So for each product you have to apply the photo resist, and if you can use the mandrels up to 20 times you only have to do it once and then make 20 sheets of products.
Other advantages with electroforming is that we can go to very high or very big moulds, big mandrels, even up to 1 ½ by 1 ½ meter. Another advantage is for our technology, it's an additive manufacturing technology. It doesn't matter if we make one hole or if we make thousands of holes or even if we make millions of holes, we can do it all at the same time.
Some examples; for example at Veco we produce about 250,000 square meters of sugar screens; sugar screen square meter size containing millions and millions of holes. They are used to filter the crystals out of the molasses. Another example is inkjet nozzle plates. We make thousands and thousands of them, very high accuracy, normally 1024 holes. And as I said, it doesn't matter in time if you make one or 1024 holes. You can all do it in the same times.
Another nice example is shaver foils. We've produced them already for decades, 25 million foils each year, and we do it with only two persons due to a very high degree of automation in a relative big mandrel size. And again, we do it with two people, making this process very cost effective at the end.
What could it mean for you? What it could mean for you is that you have the availability of a very mature process that can reproduce millions and millions of products in high accuracy, high volume, at relatively low cost if you compare it to other technologies.