Photofabrication Engineering Inc.

Enabling New Technologies through Metal Etching Applications

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Tel 508.478.2025 | Fax 508.478.3582 | Email: pei@photofabrication.com
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PEI utilizes Photochemical Machining a unique technology

to provide metal parts of the highest quality meeting all customer specifications to the aerospace, automotive, battery, electronics, fuel cell, medical apparatus and implant, and microelectronics industries among others.

 

PEI's Precision Products Division offers industrial product designers and electrical/mechanical design engineers working for a vast range of OEMs the opportunity to create precision metal parts and components at competitive prices. Our history of engineering excellence ensures that every customer's concept and design will be professionally and completely implemented, because PEI's design staff offers unparalleled photoetching expertise that adds value while lowering total project costs.

 

What is Photochemical Machining?

PEI's photochemical machining process--recognized by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers--involves the selective removal of a material by chemical action.  Evolving from the time-tested process of photoengraving, chemical machining was first used in the production of gunsight reticles in the early 1940's.  Since then it has found broad application in such industries as aerospace, appliances, automotive, battery, fuel cell, medical, microelectronics, semiconductor and telecommunications, to name but a few.

 

Photochemical machining outperforms many similar, more traditional manufacturing operations such as "blanking" complex and precise shapes, "piercing" holes of infinite sizes and shapes, "drilling" blind holes and "milling" or "grinding" of surfaces to precise depths.

 

The tooling used is a photographic image produced from the electronic artwork created to meet each customer's exacting product specifications.  It is inexpensive, and it is easy to make tooling design changes quickly.

 

What are the Advantages of Photochemical Machining?

The advantages of PEI's photochemical etching process include:

• Rapid prototyping

• No burrs

• No stresses

• No effect on magnetic properties

• No deformation

• No tool wear - the 1000th piece is exactly the same as the first piece

• Precise control of the "Z" (depth) dimension

 

When Should Photochemical Machining be Used?

Photochemical machining (photoetching) should be used when a customer is looking for:

• Reduced set-up costs (the only cost is for a phototool)

• Rapid turnaround time (the process is ideal for prototyping new products)

• A way to avoid secondary operations such as deburring or annealing

• Products made of materials like titanium and beryllium copper, which are difficult to machine

• Intricate or highly precise products

• Repeatability, repeatability,repeatability

 

What Materials can be Processed by Photochemical Machining?

Aluminum • Beryllium copper • Beryllium nickel •Blue spring steel •Brass • Bronze • Cold rolled steel • Copper • Copper clad • Direct bond copper on ceramic • Gold • Inconel • Invar • Kovar • Magnesium • Metglas • Mild steel • Molybdenum • Monel • Nickel • Nickel iron • Nickel silver • Pewter • Phosphorous bronze • Silver • Spring steel • Stainless steel • Tin • Titanium • Tungsten • Zinc • Zirconium

 

How Thick Can the Metal Be? 

Metal thicknesses generally range from 0.005 in. (0.127 mm) to 0.125 in. (3.175 mm).

 

What Finishing Services Does PEI Offer?

PEI also offers finishing services such as ....

• Assembly

• Forming

• Heat treating

• Plating

• Polishing

• Silkscreening