Chemical Photo Acid Etching - flexible, accurate and cost-effective blanking

Learn a little more about how chemical photo etching may be able to help your business.


The photo etching process, also known as the chemical etching, acid etching or photo chemical machining (PCM) process, is a chemical milling process used in manufacturing to cut flat sheet metal profiles quickly, accurately, and cost-effectively.

Photochemical etching is a valuable tool when used either on its own or in conjunction with any of our other services.

The process also has added benefits in that it produces completely stress and burr-free results, unlike other manufacturing methods, such as laser cutting, water-jet cutting or EDM wire erosion.

In terms of the accuracy achievable, the acid etching process is extremely competitive with other metal manufacturing methods, with tolerances from +-0.010mm offered, depending on the material type and thickness. Features can also be positioned to an accuracy of +-5 microns.

The process uses ferric chloride as the etchant to cut the component profile, and the hardness of the material is not a factor, as we can acid etch both very hard tool steels or annealed substrates.

Design changes are very easy to rectify with the photochemical machining process. We simply print the new required profile outline onto an acetate photo-film soft tool, and up-issue the drawing revision, as appropriate.

As the profile image is simply printed onto the metal sheet, the complexity of the design is not an issue. Even very intricate designs, such as metal meshes and very small feature component parts, can be manufactured easily and quickly, which also lends itself perfectly to frequently changing parts or research and development projects.

We can manufacture component parts in most metals, including Aluminium, Stainless Steel, Mild Steel, Copper, Brass, Nickel, Beryllium Copper, Nickel Silver, Spring Steel, Molybdenum, Silver, Titanium and many more.

So, for your total metal component solution, call Qualitetch for a quotation today on 01354 658787 or online at, or

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