Photofabrication Engineering Inc. is a Photochemical Etching company located in Milford, Massachusetts. Originally located in an 8,000 square foot building in Holliston – PEI outgrew that facility after 16 years and moved into a 40,000 square foot facility in Milford Massachusetts in 1984. Dedicated to servicing the thriving electronics and computer peripheral industry – photochemical etching was the ideal manufacturing method to inexpensively produce thin metal parts quickly. One of the original investors and engineer who started PEI was Bill Lehrer who became President in 1978. Mr. Lehrer who had graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a BS in Chemical Engineering and a Masters in Metallurgical Engineering had come to PEI with vast experience and a hunger to lead PEI to its current position as the world leader in photochemical machining. In 2011, Bill’s son Chip Lehrer succeeded him as President of PEI and continues to push the limits of what PEI can achieve.
Being in close proximity to Rhode Island (the Jewelry Capital of the World) PEI was able to market the design possibilities that photoetching produces to the jewelry industry. Very intricate details at a much lower cost than traditional manufacturing methods such as casting, stamping or even laser engraving.
PEI was the first photochemical etching company to isolate acids from Iron and Copper alloys, allowing the regeneration of all of its acids for maximum uniformity of etching, controllability, predictability and environmental friendliness. This innovation eliminates downtime for unloading and reloading etchants which translates into a better product at better prices for all of PEI’s customers.
We are proud to be an American manufacturer creating American jobs…and American products…
If you’ve come this far, then chances are you are looking to have something etched or designed and etched.
What’s the next step? Am I in the right place?
If you already have a design and fairly good idea of what you’d like to have done, you’re that much closer to the goal – ie you have a logo or subject and want an ornament or a collectible.
If you have a fairly good idea of what you want to have done but don’t have a design, one of our designers will contact you to start the design process. With a price point – PEI’s design team can tailor the design to meet your budget.
Some of the factors that come into play for pricing are:
- Base metal (Brass for example is more inexpensive than Sterling Silver)
- Individual piece versus sheet (It’s more cost effective to receive your parts in sheet form as opposed to having PEI remove the pieces from the sheet and package them.
- Plating / inkjet application (Gold plating is more expensive than Imitation Rhodium and if you’d like color, we can do that using an Inkjet process.
- Forming / assembly (ornaments or collectibles that are formed and/or assembled are more expensive)
- Quantity – PEI has a minimum order requirement of 3 sheets or the yield of 3 sheets.
The entire process time starts when a connection is made with a designer… from there the design could take anywhere from 1 week to 6 weeks – depending upon how much needs to be done and how many revisions are made to the design – and once the order is placed, the lead time could be as fast as 3-4 weeks or take as long as 8-10 weeks – depending on the complexity of the design.
Is expediting my order an option? Yes – please call us to discuss.
PEI’s metal etching process utilizes Photo-tools made inhouse out of Mylar film so your initial design and any design changes can be done promptly. You’ll also avoid expensive hard tooling which can easily drive up your total cost. Working directly with our designers helps move the process along quickly. Our large inventory of metals and finishing options drastically reduces lead time.
The quality of your collectible, whether it be an ornament, a cuff or a mobile will be the same from the 1st piece to the 100,000th piece because photo-tools don’t “wear” like other kinds of tools.
PEI uses the same process to create beautiful ornaments, jewelry and other collectibles that is used to make parts that go into airplanes, medical devices, microelectronics among many other things. For those industries PEI is certified to ISO-9001:2008 and AS 9100:2009 – “What does that mean to me?” you ask? It means you’re getting the best possible Decorative product available on the market.
Check out our Photo Gallery to see some examples of what we’ve done