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Posted on 14 Oct 2019

Chemical Etching Or Laser Cutting: Which is better and When?

Chemical etching is the manufacturing technology which is a very precise one. It is used where accuracy is required. It is also used where we need parts having multiple features, levels and are complicated in nature. The major benefits that chemical etching services companies reap out of this method are low cost, faster lead time and no need of purchasing expensive types of machinery or extra parts.

But chemical etching has got a competitor in the industry. The laser cutting methodology is a kind of subtractive process. If you are curious to know how it works, then it basically directs the laser of high power to cut the material. The laser is usually thrown via the optics. 

Below is the comparison of these two competitive technologies on different basis:



Cost:

Both the methods can be cost-effective, depending upon the volume required to be manufactured. In case of smaller volumes or even for prototyping purposes, the method of laser cutting can be very helpful. However, for larger volumes and industrial purposes, chemical etching will be better than laser cutting. Therefore, it is important to decide on the quantity first.



Turnaround time:

Laser cutting is not suitable when you want to manufacture multiple parts together. Chemical etching services can come for the rescue in such a case. Laser cutting is good for batch processing of the parts i.e. manufacturing one after the other. Chemical etching can yield vast quantities of products in each run.



You must be wondering that if chemical etching is so good, then why use laser cutting at all? The method is actually used when the volume is very less because it is faster than chemical etching in such a situation. Therefore, the purpose of manufacturing is another consideration.



Complexity of the design:

Both the methods are flexible enough if the design of the part is a complex one. The difference is that if the design is very complex involving intricate lines or sharp edges, then laser cutting will do the job very slowly because it will focus on one feature at a time. Chemical etching on the other hand will do the job faster because it works on the complete design as a whole. It also produces large volumes of products in one go and all of them can be of complex design. 



Overall quality:

Manufacturers like One to One Engravers Ltd provide chemical etching services when they need to make products with high precision and accuracy. It also good because it does not change the properties of the raw material like the hardness of the metal, the structure of the grain or its ductility. It can also produce very thin parts which are stress-free and not burred. When it comes to laser cutting, it is a process involving too much heat which causes some thermal stress in the product.



In conclusion, chemical etching is a more suitable method for most requirements of manufacturing and method of laser cutting has some specific applications.