Photo Etching Metal Parts for Medical

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Metal Parts for Medical Product Applications

PHOTOFABRICATION ENGINEERING (PEI) is your source for medical implantables and medical equipment components manufactured with precision, consistency and expertise.

For over 20 years, PEI has been manufacturing intricate, burr-free and stress-free etched metal parts from both standard and exotic non-corrosive metals. We can etch an extremely broad range of metals, from aluminum to zirconium, including zircaloid/zirconium alloys and beryllium copper.

Our unique ability to photo-etch pure titanium, titanium alloys and stainless steel alloys to meet the strictest medical standards has made PEI a leader in the medical parts industry.

The Process

Because PEI makes its own photochemical etching tools, and has over 2000 material part numbers in stock, we offer quick turnaround at extremely competitive prices. RFQ’s are typically answered within 24 hours, and delivery of production parts takes only 3-4 weeks from receipt of final order. Our photochemical etching process assures that tolerances can be held in all dimensions to within 10% of the material thickness.

Change in tooling design? No problem. PEI’s photo-etching tools are inexpensive to create, and minor changes can be made quickly.

Need a large volume production quantity with strict tolerances? Again, no problem. Since phototools don’t “wear” like conventional tools, you’ll get the exact same piece regardless of quantity.

PEI’s manufacturing process has achieved ISO-9002 certification and complies with MIL-I-45208 standards. We were also awarded certification under AS9100, quality standards established by the aircraft and aerospace industry.


Medical parts manufactured by PEI include:

  • Medical Implantables
  • Hearing Aid Components
  • Electrical Contacts
  • Thermal Planes/Heat Sinks
  • EMI/RF Shielding
  • Filters & Screens
  • Optical Encoder Discs

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.

Photo Etched Metal Parts for Medical Implants

PEI quickly and accurately manufactures intricate medical implants – including medical mesh and plates used in reconstructive surgery – from all types of non-corrosive, body-compatible metals, including stainless steel, titanium and titanium alloys.

The advantages of the photochemical machining process for metal medical implants are clear. Almost any pattern or texture can be etched into our products, whether you need plates, mesh, or a combination of the two. There are no burrs, and parts are consistent from lot to lot regardless of the number of parts manufactured. Since PEI manufactures implantables from pure titanium and its alloys, as well as stainless steel, we can meet almost any design requirement, in a variety of thickness, sizes, and weights.  For example, flexible, lightweight medical-grade titanium mesh can be produced in any size or pattern style, with countersunk holes for flush-mounting screws.