micrometal, a leader in the field of photo chemical etching (PCE), has made significant advancements to the technology, setting new standards in precision and application possibilities.

The company’s approach to PCE, notably different from conventional methods, involves using a special liquid resist system and glass digital tooling that enables the creation of ultra-thin and incredibly precise components. The process is highly automated and continuous, ensuring excellent reproducibility and the attainment of the tightest tolerances, making it especially compelling for OEMs seeking intricate, geometrically complex, feature-rich, thin metal parts and components.

Jochen Kern, Head of Sales and Marketing at micrometal says, “In the medical device sector, micrometal’s PCE process plays a crucial role due to the consistent need for precision metal parts and components. Our process is particularly relevant for the production of micro-filters, micro-mesh, medical blades, micro-needles, surgical instruments, lancets, scalpels, and stents. The ability to produce such precise components is essential in the medical field, where even the smallest variation can have significant implications. The significance of our technological prowess is further underscored by our recent certification to ISO 13485, a standard that represents the requirements for a comprehensive quality management system for the design and manufacture of medical devices. This certification, alongside our ISO 9001, IATF 16949, and ISO 14001 certifications, highlights our commitment to the highest quality standards, customer satisfaction, and environmental responsibility.”

micrometal’s PCE process is more than just an alternative to traditional punching or laser machining. It excels in areas where these conventional methods fall short, such as maintaining low material characteristic changes, achieving high cleanliness, and producing components with stringent tolerance requirements. This level of precision and quality is vital in medical applications, where exacting standards are the norm.

Kern continues, “Our next generation PCE process produces stress free, flat, components. When compared with conventional production processes, it has a number of inherent advantages, key among which are the ability to produce parts without degrading material properties, the fact that there is almost no limit on part complexity, and the ability to process a huge range of metals and alloys. Metals suitable for etching can be both ferrous and non-ferrous, and include austenitic and martensitic steels, coppers, brass and nickels. Hard to machine metals such titanium and its alloys, and aluminium can be processed, and also high temperature alloys such as Inconel, and precious metals including silver can also be machined.”

For medical device manufacturers, the ability of PCE to process a wide range of metals, including those traditionally challenging to work with, is crucial for several reasons. Essentially, different metals offer unique properties essential for various medical applications. For instance, titanium is known for its strength, biocompatibility, and corrosion resistance, making it ideal for implants and prosthetics. Stainless steel, on the other hand, is widely used in surgical tools due to its durability and resistance to sterilisation processes. Also, the medical industry often requires innovative materials to meet evolving medical needs and regulatory standards. Being able to process a diverse range of metals allows manufacturers to adapt to these changing requirements, ensuring the production of high-quality, safe, and effective medical devices. This versatility is not just a matter of convenience but a critical factor in the development of advanced medical technologies that can significantly impact patient care and outcomes.

Kern concludes, “Overall, micrometal’s advanced PCE process and its recent ISO 13485 certification place it at the forefront of precision metal component fabrication, particularly in the medical device industry. Our capabilities enable the mass production of complex, high-quality metal parts essential for innovative medical applications, contributing significantly to the advancement of medical technology.”