By Nick Gilbert
Photofabrication Engineering (PEI) has developed a proprietary photochemical etching technology that can be employed to produce defect free stainless steel precision parts. The contemporary facility of PEI extending across 40,000 sq. ft. houses more than 370 distinct stainless steel units.
Stainless Steel Mesh Screen from Photofabrication Engineering
PEI is one of the few domestic photochemical etchers of precision steel components to maintain stock of wide variety of stainless steel components in the form of coils and sheets ranging in thickness from 0.0006” to 0.090”.
The etching of stainless steel at PEI is free from copper salt deposits as the company separates the etchants. According to Chip Lehrer, PEI President, PEI pioneered the separation of etching acids used for iron and copper alloys which facilitates chemical bath regeneration that paves the way for uniform etching. Their technique also helps them cut down costs and improve quality by providing greater control over the process and eliminating the equipment down time necessary for unloading and reloading of etchant.
The stainless steel parts manufactured by PEI are suitable for consumer electronics, medical equipment, aerospace, food processing and defense industries, especially since the company has obtained the ISO 9001:2008 certification and the Aerospace Certification AS 9100:2009.
Phil Greiner, Design Engineer at PEI enumerated the applications of stainless steel, namely, lids and covers for microelectronic components, linear encoders, fuel cell plates, optical discs, flat springs, shims and shields. Phil also highlighted the unique aspect of PEI’s etching in which burrs are not employed and the properties of the metal are kept the same. The absence of tool on tool wear ensures that each piece meets the demanding specifications as every other piece, thereby ensuring high quality.