Maximize Efficiency with Hybrid Manufacturing
How many times have you designed a part only to find out it may require more than one manufacturing process? Partnering with a manufacturer who has Hybrid manufacturing in-house can save you time and money.
Hybrid manufacturing is a process that incorporates multiple manufacturing techniques in order to craft parts with unique characteristics. Generally, it refers to the combination of additive and subtractive machining, but in the case of sheet metal parts, utilizing two subtractive techniques can both reduce expenses and speed up the production cycle.
This article will discuss the advantages of combining photo etching and laser cutting through hybrid manufacturing and provide examples of products created with these methods. By understanding how these processes work together, you'll be able to design your products for maximum efficiency in time and costs.
What are the benefits of photo etching and laser cutting for metal parts?
Photo etching and laser cutting have long been popular processes for efficiently creating intricate parts from metal. Photo etching involves using a chemical process to cut patterns into a metal sheet, while laser cutting uses a high-powered beam of light to cut through the material.
Metal Etching and Laser Cutting offer numerous benefits for metal parts, making them an ideal choice for hybrid manufacturing.
Photo Etching is a burr and stress-free manufacturing process that allows complex shapes and contours to be easily cut into metal sheets with minimal waste while maintaining high accuracy. Photo Etched parts can also be produced with very tight tolerances, making them well-suited for applications that require exact specifications.
Photo Etching also offers advantages in cost-efficiency since it eliminates the need for expensive tooling, allowing for large batches of identical parts to be quickly produced at a fraction of typical costs. In addition, Photo Etched components can often be designed to fit within tight assembly space constraints due to their thinness and flexibility compared to other metal fabrication techniques.
Laser Cutting is another powerful fabrication method that provides quick turnaround times and highly intricate detailing while maintaining incredible accuracy on thicker metals than possible with metal etching. metal etching.
With laser cutting, skinny lines or tiny holes (smallest at .20mm) can be accurately created with little material waste or distortion compared to mechanical punching processes.
Due to its accuracy and precision, laser cutting is highly suitable for projects that need intricate features or pieces with crisp outlines and fine details, such as medical parts or aerospace parts where accuracy is of utmost importance.
Examples of parts created with the hybrid manufacturing process of photo etching and laser cutting
Hybrid Manufacturing with Photo Etching and Laser Cutting can be used to create a variety of parts.
One example of a combination of chemical etching and laser cutting is any industrial part that requires an inside feature with a sharp 90-degree angle. The chemical etching process makes it hard to create precise angles within the component's borders due to the acid current that occurs during etching, which is known as the "etch factor".
Another example is if a part requires a half-etch depth as well as a smaller hole than the metal thickness, we will have to etch the part and use laser cutting to make the hole. One part example is a heat exchanger plate used in the energy and food industries.
Photo Etching and Laser Cutting can also be used in the optoelectronics and electronics industries, where components must have low tolerances to achieve high-performance levels.
Photo etching can produce intricate lenses or filters, while laser cutting provides the precision needed for creating exact hole sizes or other features required with these types of parts.
How to design a part for hybrid manufacturing
Manufacturing components with maximum efficiency through photo chemical etching and Laser Cutting requires examining the pros and cons of each technique.
Metal etching is an affordable way to create components with intricate designs. Meanwhile, laser cutting allows businesses to make precise edges or inner features that would be challenging to achieve with etching alone. By combining these methods, businesses can make complex parts that are economical and fast to produce.
When designing a product, the shape of the item should be taken into account. Photo etching and laser cutting can both be used to make parts with multiple features and curves. Still, etching may be a better option for components with a lot of features because it is faster.
On the other hand, laser cutting could be better for prototypes or smaller runs with parts that require sharper interior angles than what photo chemical etching photo chemical etching can manage.
AME’s Hybrid Etch-Laser Process™️ (H.E.L.P)
It has been evident in the last few years that new part designs require more than just photo etching. With new technological breakthroughs in the medical, energy, and optoelectronics industries, parts require more intricate custom features for critical sensing, fluid control, motion control, and drug delivery.
With the addition of new fiber lasers, we developed our Hybrid Etch-Laser Process™️ (H.E.L.P.) to create solutions for parts that need more than one process, and to save time and money for our customers by performing this process in-house.
We have had a high level of success machining those complex parts that other manufacturers turn away.
We love finding solutions to keep you on track with your manufacturing goals and to eliminate the headaches of finding multiple manufacturers to achieve the results your part requires.
Photo Etching and Laser Cutting are two powerful manufacturing techniques that can create complex parts with precise details. By combining these processes, businesses can produce highly intricate components quickly and cost-effectively.
Design engineers must carefully consider the advantages of each process when creating a part for hybrid manufacturing to ensure maximum efficiency and accuracy.
With Photo Etching and Laser Cutting, manufacturers can adjust designs quickly with prototypes requiring low tolerances. Hybrid Manufacturing offers an optimal solution for businesses looking to maximize performance while minimizing production costs.