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When Smaller is Better: How Chemical Etching is the Solution to the Automotive Industry's Increasing Miniaturisation Challenge

Oct 30, 2018 7:00:00 AM By Hua Fan

The trend of miniaturisation has brought various challenges to the auto industry, higher precision, tighter tolerances, and shorter product development cycles have made designers and engineers’ life difficult. What if you can take advantage of the trend rather than suffering from it?

What Chemical Etching Brings to the Automotive Industry

(1) Higher accuracy and better quality.

With Chemical Etching, complex metal parts of high precision can be easily produced. Mechanical processes may or may not produce parts of the same precision, but the fact remains that undergoing mechanical processes alters the component’s attributes like stresses and pre-loaded strains especially around the sharp edges of the work piece. Thus mechanical processes always leave the work piece with areas of stress concentration and strains; this makes the part volatile and unpredictable. Chemical etching, on the other hand, produces burr free, stress free precision parts with sharp and clean edges.

(2) Higher degree of design freedom and ensured reproducibility. 

Chemical Etching also provides a high degree of design freedom. It allows for more design flexibility due to the fact that it requires no tooling investment and that it has a very short lead time, while with other machining processes modifying a design means making a completely new tool and investing on tooling and setting up all over again. This means that Chemical Etching is perfect for small amount prototyping as well as industrial production, which is also ensured by its reproducibility.

(3) Wide range of material options.

A large variety of materials, which include metals and their alloys, can be used to produce the high precision components

The metals mostly used are:

• Steel and stainless steel
• Nickel and its alloys
• Copper and its alloys
• Aluminum and some of its alloys
• Titanium and its Nickel alloy
• Molybdenum
• Polyimide metallized film
This means that engineers have better control over properties of the finished part, properties like strength, hardness, temperature endurance, flexibility, or in other words rigidity, etc.

(4) Wide applications.

For precision metal parts, if you can imagine it, we can most likely chemical etch it. In the automotive industry, list of chemically etched components goes on and on, so is the potential.

Below are some most common solutions and related products:

• Top quality decorative meshes/plates such as speaker grilles, tread plates, and brand logos
• Miniaturized components such as lead frames, spring connecters, airbag components, clutch components, electrical contacts, high tension spring for actuators, gaskets, shims, washers, and spacers
High precision meshes/filters, diffusers, injection nozzle plates
Co-development with next gen solutions such as fuel cells, sensor components, and testing solutions for radar parts

Learn more about Chemical Etching, and how it can be the solution for your miniaturisation challenge, download the Whitepaper Chemical Etching here.


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