What is Electro-Chemical Etching?



Electro-Chemical Etching is a very cost effective, easy to use process that allows you to put high quality markings (identification) onto your metal parts permanently without causing any damage to the surface or structural integrity of the component. The process takes just a couple of minutes to perform and allows you to put virtually any Alpha-Numeric Text, Symbols, Logo’s, Schematics, Warnings, 2D Matrix Codes and much more onto a metal surface regardless of how hard the metal might be. In fact the harder the metal the better the results often are. Ideal for difficult marking applications such as Carbide and Titanium, the Chemical Etching Process is extremely versatile for those working with conductive metals. The systems can deliver white or “clear” markings on Black Oxide coatings for maximum contrast and beautiful dark (almost black) high contrast results on white metals. The information being etched is the result of a stencil that is made. For Logos and high volume marking applications where the information stays the same, Millennium Signatures can produce Long Life Fabric Stencils which can deliver sharp crisp marking results over and over again potentially marking hundreds, if not thousands of parts. For those applications where variable information is required and changing constantly, we have Stencil Imprinting Systems and Disposable Stencil Paper Product that allow you to make good quality stencils quickly and easily  on-demand using a computer.

Electro-Chemical Etching or “Chemical Etching” as it is most commonly referred, is a little like a miniature EDM process. It uses safe sodium based solutions combined with a pulsing low voltage electrical current to dissolve the metal and extract it through the stencil into a special cloth pad known as a Monopad in just seconds. At the same time as you are removing small trace amounts of material, you are creating and oxide which permanently remains in the aperture or cavity of the mark. This is what gives the mark its high contrast result, making the marking easy to see and pleasing to the eye. This process is not new, this process has been around and continuously developed since the 1950’s and it is very popular for use on everything Chef’s Knives, to Metal Tooling, to the Landing Gear on Military and Commercial Aircraft just to name a couple. There are thousands upon thousands of applications for this extremely versatile process.
The marking is permanent! How permanent is a function of how deep into the metal you allow the process to go. For manufacturers of Food Preparation Equipment or Medial Instruments and/or Implants who do not want a cavity in the product that could harbor bacteria or other contaminants, high contrast markings of just a few tenths of a thousandth of an inch are used (0.002″), however you can also purchase equipment that is more powerful and has features allowing you to mark up to depths of 0.012″ if required. This would be typical of an Aerospace Application where long lasting identification is a must and needs to even be easily view-able after layers of protective paint are applied.
The process has a long list of valuable benefits which appeal to most industries including, Aerospace, Nuclear, Precision Tooling, Medical/Surgical, Instruments and more…

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