Many medical devices and applications require small metal components that demand very specific characteristics. These can include:

  • ultra-high precision
  • very thin material
  • unique physical features
  • unique surface textures
  • identification features
  • extreme consistency part-to-part
  • ease of integration into the final device
  • competitive cost.

It is often a significant challenge to balance the combination of the above characteristics while still maintaining cost and achieving production volume requirements.

Micrometal GmbH, the world leader in photochemical etching of precision metal components, has consistently overcome these challenges through use of innovative techniques, comprehensive design capabilities, and the world’s largest commercial reel-to-reel etch line.

Precision metal components

Micrometal specialises on high-volume manufacturing of custom ultra-precise metal components for medical applications.

Examples are:

  • specialty lancets or needles
  • unique surgical blades
  • fine filters or sieves with complex hole cross-sections.

Our unique variation of the photochemical etching process involves the use of very thin proprietary liquid photoresist and high-resolution glass photomask tools. This combination provides extremely precise control of the etching process, enabling configurations, features and tolerances that cannot be achieved by other methods such as stamping, laser machining, or traditional chemical etching. Lancets and blades are sharp right off the etch line with no need for additional grinding or machining. Three-dimensional features can actually be etched into the thickness of the material itself.

Dimensional tolerances as low as +/-0.005mm can be achieved.

Variety of materials

While stainless steel is most common, medical components can be manufactured from a variety of different materials including copper, copper alloys, aluminum, clad metals, nickel and cobalt-based materials, and certain amorphous materials.

Repeatability, volume and cost efficiency

Micrometal’s glass photomask tooling requires no maintenance and effectively lasts forever. Because our etching process is continuously monitored in-line, and there is no physical handling of the material during processing, repeatability and quality of parts are outstanding. The first part is identical to the millionth part, the ten millionth part, etc. Lack of physical handling also reduces cost in volume production. Automated inspection is integrated into the continuous etch line so that process parameters can be optimised in real-time.

Advantages of reel-to-reel etching

Providing components on a continuous reel is ideal for volume manufacturing. The reel of finished etched components can easily be fed into additional processing steps such as bending, forming, overmoulding, or direct integration into an automated assembly process. Reels of up to 800m in length are possible depending upon material thickness. Precision location features can be etched into the edges of the material strips for precise integration into subsequent automated processing.

Your critical design partner

Micrometal is specialised in customised component design. Because our capabilities are so unique, we make every effort to completely understand the scope and function of your application so that we can help design components that fully realize the performance of your device or instrument. Our design team works with our customers to create an ideal solution that optimises performance, manufacturability and cost.

Comprehensive component manufacturing

Our goal is to provide the highest level of value possible to our customers. Our capabilities, combined with our advanced partner network, allow Micrometal to provide comprehensive manufacturing services including:

  • photochemical etching
  • forming/shaping/stamping
  • overmoulding
  • diffusion bonding
  • laser welding
  • special coatings
  • packaging.

Micrometal does what no one else can do

For over ten years, our speciality has been taking on challenges that no other company can meet. Micrometal offers a combination of precision, quality, volume capacity and design assistance that cannot be matched by any other etching company or manufacturing method. Contact us today to see how Micrometal can redefine what you thought was possible with photochemical etching.