- Hard metals can be etched.
- Parts are produced burr-free, stress-free, flat, dry and clean.
- Very thin metals (.0005″) are routinely handled.
- Costs for prototype production, short runs, even runs in hundreds of thousands of pieces are often less than those for conventional manufacturing.
- Parts whose designs make conventional stamping impossible present no problem for the photo chemical machining process.
Below is a formula, given as an equation, which suggests an economic break-even point for photo chemical machining vs. stamping:
- Q = S + (D –A) Q = Economic break-even point
- R1 – R2 S = Cost for tooling set up and maintenance $
- U1 U2 D = Cost of stamping dies $
- A = Cost of artwork $
- R1=Labor cost for photo etching $/sheet
- R2=Labor cost for stamping $/hour
- U1=Parts/sheet etched
- U2=Parts/hour stamped
If the quantity involved is smaller than Q, then photo chemical machining is more economical than stamping. If the parts cannot have a burr, if immediate delivery is required, or if the part must conform exactly to another part, photo chemical machining is the only method. If design changes are anticipated, the time delay in obtaining new dies may justify photo chemical machining. The complexity of the part and tolerances involved make little difference in the cost or time required for photographic tooling. Multiple tooling or replacement tooling costs are reduced virtually to nil compared to many expensive dies. Photographic tooling does not wear with use, as do stamping dies, so there is no shift in dimension or tolerances requiring replacement of tooling as more and more parts are manufactured.