Photofabrication Engineering Inc.

Enabling New Technologies through Metal Etching Applications

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Photo Etching Metal Parts for Medical Apparatus

When it comes to medical apparatus, the first words you think of are “reliable,” “accurate,” and “safe.” With PEI’s 40 years of expertise in photochemical etching, manufacturers of medical apparatus can be assured that the etched metal components in their equipment will satisfy the most demanding quality and safety qualifications.

PEI does more than provide metal parts to customer specifications. All of the parts we manufacture go through a stringent manufacturing process that has met stringent international certification requirements. Because phototools do not wear like standard metal tools or molds, every part—from the first to the millionth—is the same; once it has been established that an etched part meets the customer’s criteria, all of those parts will meet those criteria. Because of this, medical manufacturers can rely on the fact that within each component, the performance of that etched metal part will be reproducible and consistent throughout the life of the component.

Since etched metal parts, by virtue of the photochemical etching process, are burr-free and stress-free, they are stronger and less likely to fail than molded or stamped parts.  For medical electronic apparatus, PEI can offer RF/EMI shielding to protect components from radio frequency and electromagnetic interference and environmental hazards, and to provide electrical grounding. Our innovative technology and extensive history in the manufacture of custom shielding give our customers the most reliable shielding on the market, quickly and economically. Standard shielding materials include tin-plated brass, copper, and stainless steel as well as SAE1010 and nickel silver; other materials and finishes are available upon request.

Safety? PEI has you covered.

Another area of expertise for PEI is the manufacture of surface-mount and insert-mount photoetched lead frames to meet exacting electrical, thermal conductivity, and strength requirements for companies providing integrated circuits to the medical apparatus industry. These lead frames are used in a wide variety of applications including semiconductors, glass-to-metal seals, and relays.

Using base materials such as kovar, nickel-iron alloys, copper alloys, and pure nickel, PEI can plate lead frames in their entirety or selectively. Lead-free plating materials include silver, nickel, gold, or tin, depending on the customer’s specific electrical and thermal conductivity requirements. Since the lead frame is the main conduit by which heat flows from the chip to the printed circuit board, PEI tailors the manufacturing material so that it will maximize the device’s operating life for any given application or environment.

PEI manufactures high-density lead frames with acute profiles and ultra-fine pitches, allowing for high pin counts. Single-sided or double-sided lead frames can be etched without incurring the stresses associated with typical machining methods. More importantly, PEI’s process can be used for lead frames that are too complicated for stamping. Dimensions can be held to extremely tight tolerances, with no burrs or other surface irregularities.

PEI’s lead frames range in thickness from 0.5 mil [0.0127 mm] to 40 mil [1.575 mm], with features as small as 4 mil [0.10 mm] on 0.010 in. [0.254 mm) centers, creating lead frames that are strong enough to be handled yet flexible enough to allow bending when necessary.

Finally, for medical battery suppliers (and for companies that manufacture batteries to incorporate into their medical apparatus), PEI offers a complete line of photoetched anodes and cathodes. These products can be incorporated into fuel cells, heat exchangers, and oxygen and hydrogen generators. Of particular significance is the fact that PEI, using a proprietary process, can photoetch pure titanium, titanium alloys, zirconium, and zirconium alloys along with more standard materials such as aluminum, stainless steel, copper and brass. PEI’s unique ability to photoetch lightweight parts from exotic materials in production quantities allows manufactures to meet high-volume, low-cost manufacturing goals without sacrificing quality or reliability. The wide variety of materials we can etch allows PEI to produce anodes and cathodes that are extremely resistant to corrosion and high heat; they can be friction-bonded, brazed or welded, giving apparatus manufacturers more flexibility in their product design and applications.

 Sample applications follow, but please visit our photo gallery for more examples:







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