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Author Archives: MET Manufacturing Group

  1. Industry Spotlight: Photochemical Etching

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    Photochemical etching (also referred to as chemical milling) is a precise manufacturing process to create intricate patterns or shapes on metal sheets. It utilizes a photosensitive material (photoresist) applied to the surface before placing a photographic mask on top. This combination is exposed to UV light to undergo a chemical reaction, leaving behind the desired pattern on the metal.

    The following industries utilize the photochemical etching capabilities:

    1. Aerospace

    The aerospace industry demands precision components to ensure the safety and performance of aircraft and spacecraft. Etching is often used to manufacture complex, lightweight parts such as brackets, gears, and shims. The process also allows for the creation of thin and heat-resistant turbine blades and heat shields with precise cooling channels.

    In the satellite industry, weight reduction is important to achieving cost-effective launches and efficient in-orbit operations. Photochemical etching can create portable yet sturdy satellite components, including solar cell frames, reflectors, and waveguides. It can also produce fuel cell plates and battery parts with precise flow channels and electrical paths.

    2. Automotive

    The automotive industry utilizes chemical milling primarily in the production of vehicle parts. This technology is crucial in manufacturing gaskets, shims, and filters, ensuring precise fit and functionality in motor vehicles. It also creates compact and durable fuel injector nozzles and transmission mechanisms to enhance fuel efficiency and performance.

    3. Electronics

    The electronics industry heavily relies on etching technology for various applications. One of these is the production of printed circuit boards (PCBs). The process forms precise and intricate copper traces on PCBs, allowing for the efficient connection of electronic components. This ensures fine detail and high precision, which is crucial for the performance of gadgets and devices.

    Electronic devices also typically require shielding against electromagnetic interference (EMI) and radio frequency interference (RFI). Chemical milling creates EMI/RFI shielding components that prevent signal interference in sensitive electronics. It also fabricates heat sinks with intricate designs to maximize heat dissipation.

    4. Medical Device Manufacturing

    The medical field requires implants and prosthetic components that are biocompatible, lightweight, and precise. Chemical etching is utilized to fabricate these tools and devices, ensuring that they meet patients’ specific anatomical and functional requirements. It also enables the production of microfluidic channels and structures, making it valuable in developing diagnostic equipment.

    Medical devices are also becoming smaller, particularly for implantable sensors and remote monitoring. Photochemical etching helps fabricate tiny electronic components with complex circuits and connections. It also offers a cost-effective and efficient way to create healthcare prototypes. This facilitates customization to meet the unique needs of patients and medical applications.

    5. Military and Defense

    Chemical milling is used to produce intricate and lightweight components utilized in various defense systems assemblies, such as air force and naval equipment. It is also vital in manufacturing radar parts, electronic enclosures, and shielding materials for sensitive electronic equipment, ensuring optimal performance and protection. In addition, it enables the creation of custom tools tailored to specific military and defense needs.

    6. Telecommunications

    Photochemical etching is used in the telecommunications industry to construct modules for various communication devices and infrastructure. This entails designing connectors and contact springs used in cables to enable reliable signal transmission. This method also produces waveguides and RF/microwave parts, where precision is essential for signal integrity.

    Partner With MET Manufacturing Group for Your Etching Needs

    MET Manufacturing Group specializes in photochemical etching for thin gauge, precision sheet metal applications. Aside from the abovementioned industries, we also serve to the following industry applications:

    • Semiconductor
    • Alignment and quality systems
    • Pressure sensors
    • Prototyping
    • Custom model work
    • Custom metal art
    • Scrapping dies
    • Electrical equipment

    In addition, our team offers value-added services of forming, plating, heat treating, kitting, and specialty packing for our etched products. We pride ourselves on delivering active customer service, competitive lead times and pricing, and building long-term client partnerships.

    Contact us today or request a quote to get started with us!

  2. Unlocking Precision and Efficiency: Exploring the World of Waterjet Cutting Services

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    Waterjet cutting is a precision industrial process used to cut materials using a high-pressure water stream. The waterjet stream is directed onto the material’s surface, eroding and slicing it accurately. This method is renowned for its versatility, as it can effectively cut through metals, ceramics, glass, plastics, wood, and composites.

    Companies offering waterjet cutting services leverage advanced computer numerical control (CNC) technology to program and guide the system. This ensures consistent results while emphasizing the environmentally friendly nature of the process.

    This article will explore the basics of waterjet cutting, from the different types to the kinds of materials they can cut.

    Types of Waterjet Cutting Services and Their Applications

    Each type of waterjet cutting offers unique advantages, making this technology a versatile solution for various industries and project requirements. Here are some of the most common types and their respective applications:

    Pure Waterjet Cutting

    Pure waterjet cutting uses a high-pressure water stream to precisely cut through softer materials such as foam, rubber, paper, and certain plastics. This is ideal for projects where water does not adversely affect the object’s properties. Industries such as packaging, textiles, and gasket manufacturing often benefit from this technique due to its neatness and efficiency.

    Abrasive Waterjet Cutting

    Abrasive waterjet cutting enhances the piercing power of water by adding abrasive particles to the stream. The waterjet can then slice through harder materials such as metals, ceramics, stone, glass, and composites. This enables the waterjet to cut through tough materials while maintaining precision and minimal heat generation.

    Taper Compensation

    Taper compensation is a critical technique employed in waterjet cutting to ensure precise and consistent cuts, especially when dealing with thicker materials. When a high-pressure waterjet stream interacts with a material, it naturally diverges, leading to a tapering effect where the top of the cut is wider than the bottom. Taper compensation involves adjusting the cutting head’s angle or offset to counteract this taper, resulting in a more accurate and uniform cut. By fine-tuning the cutting parameters and accounting for the inherent tapering, manufacturers can achieve the desired dimensions and edge quality in their waterjet-cut parts, making this technique indispensable in various industries.


    Waterjet cutting is a precision-driven manufacturing process with versatile applications across an array of industries, including:

    • Aerospace
    • Architecture
    • Automotive
    • Electronics

    Its ability to cut a wide range of materials with exceptional accuracy and reliability makes waterjet cutting an indispensable technology for meeting diverse manufacturing needs in these sectors.


    The spectrum of products derived from waterjet cutting is broad and encompasses diverse materials, sizes, shapes, complexities, and applications. Notable examples of items benefiting from this precision cutting method include:

    • Aerospace industry: Crafting metal or composite components for use in fuselages, wings, and turbines.
    • Architectural industry: Fashioning decorative panels and exterior building facade components with intricate designs.
    • Automotive industry: Precision cutting of body and interior components to exact specifications.
    • Electronics industry: Manufacturing circuit boards, panels, and enclosures with meticulous precision.

    Choose MET Manufacturing Group for High-Quality Waterjet Cutting Services

    At MET Manufacturing Group, our waterjet capabilities extend across a diverse range of materials, showcasing our expertise in precision cutting. Our proficiency encompasses not only various metals and metal alloys but also extends to many different materials such as rubber, plastic, foam, epoxy-reinforced composites, and even the most intricate types of glass.

    Contact us today or request a quote to get started with us!

  3. PROCESS BREAKDOWN: Photochemical Etching

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    MET Manufacturing Group (MET) specializes in photochemical etching (aka photochemical milling) by using ferric chloride acid to erode away selective areas on metal and metal alloy substrates. Utilizing customer prints and designs, MET manufactures phototooling to meet customer specifications and produce high quality photo etched products. Below is a breakdown of the photochemical etching process at MET.

    Material Cutting, Preparation Processing

    MET procures etching materials from a network of domestic, USA suppliers (RoHS/DFARS compliant) at the mill direct and material service center level. MET commonly processes on s 12”x19” sheet/panel size. This “common size” profile allows MET to effectively etch the features required in most chemical milling applications. It also provides the working space to effectively nest multiple pieces or designs per sheet to offer the end user the best price per piece. MET can offer various sizes for etched panels, with a minimum of 4”X4” and a maximum of 18”X30”.

    Utilizing a unique coil identification number, MET is able to assign material to jobs at the routing phase to set up proper material assignments and begin the traceability process. Once the sheets are cut to size, MET processes the material through a unique cleaning process based on the material type. This cleaning process removes mill processing oils, light rust/scale, and optimally prepares the substrate for photoresist application.

    Material Cutting, Preparation Processing

    Photoresist Lamination

    The cleaned material is then processed through a photoresist lamination process where a light sensitive, organic resist is coated to the surface of the panel. This photoresist is designed to adhere to the working panel throughout the entire etching process and acts as a mask to deflect the etching acid.

    NOTE: this same process can be used after the etching application as a selective plating for detailed applications.

    Photoresist Lamination

    Tooling and Tooling Alignment

    Every part manufactured through MET’s photochemical etching process requires phototooling. The tooling is made up of two thin mylar sheets, a top and a bottom with silver based ink printed to provide a negative of the final etched part. The silver ink provides protection from UV light during the exposure process.

    MET utilizes alignment targets along the border of the tooling to ensure the top and bottom films are registered properly.


    In this process step, the aligned tooling is mated with the photoresist laminated sheet. This tool to material combination is put into a machine that exposes UV light to the panel. The areas on the panel where the silver based ink is printed will block UV from the photoresist whereas the exposed, clear mylar area will be exposed away. This is the first step in transferring the product image onto the to-be-etched panel.



    Development is the final etching preparation process where an alkaline solution is used to dissolve away the remaining, unwanted photoresist on the panel. Essentially the areas that are desired to be etched will fully dissolve and expose the original base material.

    The development process is critical and precise. Utilizing a conveyorized developer, a skilled operator will set the conveyor speed, measure and tweak the development chemistry levels, and hold the appropriate temperature. If the operator develops the material too soon the residual lamination will not be completely removed causing the acid etching to deflect from the intended etched features. In contrast, if developed too long the imaging of the part may be distorted or the photoresist will become brittle, causing failures at fine details or edges of the etched features.



    MET uses a wet etching process with Ferric Chloride as the etchant. The etchant rapidly oxidizes the substrate with the intent to fully or partially remove the surface of the base base material in the intended, engineered areas. As more metal and metal alloys are introduced into the ferric chloride etching bath the bath will lose its strength. It is a common practice to etch stainless steel and carbon based alloys on a fresh bath. As the bath ages there is a switch over point where copper, brass, and nickel alloys become nominal.

    In our conveyorized Chemcut etching machines, the acid is dispersed by spray nozzles attached to an oscillating spray bar system. The acid is pressurized and sprayed onto the top and bottom of the panel as it travels down the conveyor. A highly skilled operator must be aware of the nature of the etching bath, the time and travel speed of the conveyor, and the performance of the photoresist vs the metal etching features. Most jobs require a setup sheet to be processed before final production settings are confirmed and processed.


    Photoresist Removal

    After etching, the operator verifies conformance of the etched product or panel to the MET print. Once approved the remaining photoresist must be removed from the panel. MET uses a stripping resist chemistry that is diluted and heat controlled for optimum resist removal. The chemistry also serves as a post etching rust inhibitor to help protect the etched metals from further oxidation. After a final rinse, the products are ready to be submitted to Quality Control for final review and certification of conformance to customer print specifications.

    Photoresist Removal
    Photoresist Removal

    Thank you for following this MET photochemical etching process breakdown. MET is interested in helping you with your next project that could utilize our contract etching services.

    Please contact us at or call 574-293-3342!

  4. Waterjet Cutting: Specialty Materials

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    Click to ExpandWaterjet-Cutting-Specialty-Materials

    Waterjet cutting is a versatile and effective method of cutting various types of materials. It is a non-thermal technique that uses a high-pressure stream of water and abrasive particles to cut through the material. It also boasts a relatively high accuracy level and can reach tolerances as low as +/- 0.005 inches.

    This process is frequently favored over other methods for cutting specialty materials. This is attributed to its capacity to achieve high precision while producing no heat or burrs. The following materials are ideal fits for Waterjet cutting.

    1. Copper

    Copper is a highly versatile metal often used for electrical wiring, piping, and decoration. However, its ductility and softness can make cutting through using traditional methods challenging, resulting in undesirable distortion. Waterjet cutting has emerged as an effective technique to produce precise cuts with minimal waste. In addition the purity of the copper alloy is preserved due to the waterjet leaving no HAZ (Heat Affected Zone) during the manufacturing process.

    2. Brass

    Waterjet cutting is efficient for cutting brass, an alloy of copper and zinc that can easily warp when subjected to high temperatures. The technique’s cold-cutting process avoids generating heat and ensures the brass is not distorted. Moreover, waterjet cutting’s versatility enables it to easily cut brass in various shapes and thicknesses.

    3. Bronze

    Bronze — an alloy comprising copper, tin, and other metals — is a flexible material frequently used to produce sculptures, plaques, and machine components. Waterjet technology is effective because the cutting parameters can be modified to accommodate different alloys, including silicon bronze, aluminum bronze, and phosphor bronze.

    4. Titanium

    Titanium is a hard and durable metal employed in numerous industries, such as aerospace, medical, and military. Waterjet cutting is the best technique for this material because it is susceptible to heat damage and can quickly deform when subjected to high temperatures. This method also permits precise cuts with minimal thermal stress, minimizing the risk of damage and preserving the metal’s quality.

    5. Hastelloy

    Hastelloy is a high-performance alloy recognized for its corrosion, heat, and stress resistance. Due mainly to its durability and strength, this material is used in many industries, including chemical processing, marine, and aerospace. It is predominantly composed of nickel, molybdenum, and chromium, with trace amounts of iron and cobalt — making it difficult to cut using conventional methods.

    6. Inconel

    Inconel is a family of superalloys composed of nickel and chromium that exhibits exceptional resistance to high temperatures, corrosion, and oxidation. This makes it widely used in severe environments such as chemical processing, aerospace, and nuclear industries. Inconel alloys are also highly resistant to thermal and mechanical fatigue, making them ideal for turbine blades and exhaust systems.

    7. Waspaloy

    Waspaloy is a nickel-based superalloy known for its superior mechanical qualities, resistance to corrosion and oxidation, and high strength at high temperatures. It also contains the metals titanium, cobalt, chromium, and molybdenum. Furthermore, it is perfect for manufacturing high-performance fasteners, bolts, and springs due to its durability and resistance to wear.

    8. Fiber-Reinforced Plastics

    Fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP) are composite materials consisting of fibers — such as carbon, glass, or aramid — embedded in a polymer matrix. They are highly desirable due to their high strength-to-weight ratio and resistance to corrosion.

    Here are some examples of FPR:

    • Garolite (GR4): This is made from layers of paper or fabric impregnated with a phenolic resin, known for its high strength.
    • Kevlar: This is a high-strength synthetic fiber used in body armor, tires, and fiber optic cables.
    • Phenolic CE: This is an industrial laminate made from layers of paper or fabric impregnated with a phenolic resin. It has a higher level of electrical conductivity than Garolite.
    • Acrylic: This is a transparent thermoplastic material often used as a lightweight and shatter-resistant alternative to glass.

    9. 5160 and Other Blade Steel

    5160 is a high-carbon steel frequently used in the production of knives due to its hardness, durability, and ability to maintain a sharp edge. It is also ideal for outdoor areas due to its high chromium content, which provides corrosion resistance. Additional blade steel types include 1095, D2, and various 400 series stainless steels, which are appropriate for a wide range of knife-making applications.

    10. Rubber

    Rubber is a flexible and elastic material commonly used in various applications, including automotive, construction, and healthcare. Waterjet technology is ideal for cutting rubber because it can create precise cuts without compromising the material’s integrity or leaving any heat-affected zone. Examples of waterjet rubber parts include rubber seals, gaskets, o-rings, and washers.

    11. Foam

    Foam is a lightweight material made of various polymers widely used for insulation, cushioning, and packaging. Waterjet cutting is effective for foam products because it can precisely cut complex shapes without creating heat. Some examples of waterjet foam products include packaging inserts, acoustic foam for sound insulation, and inserts for carrying cases.

    12. Mica Paper

    Mica paper is a heat-resistant insulating material made by attaching mica sheets with a heat-resistant adhesive. It is extensively utilized for electrical and thermal insulation applications due to its exceptional heat resistance and chemical stability. It can be cut with a waterjet, but the cutting speed and pressure must be precisely adjusted to prevent ripping or deformation.

    Choose MET Manufacturing Group for Your Waterjet Cutting Needs

    At MET Manufacturing Group we can cut all types of metals, metal alloys and other materials like rubber, plastic, foam, epoxy-reinforced composites, and most types of glass. We also prioritize producing high-quality products qualified by our ISO 9001:2015 quality control procedures.

    Contact us today or request a quote to get started with us!

  5. Additional Benefits and Uses of Photochemical Etching

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    Photochemical etching (also known as photo etching or photochemical milling) is a process that removes selective material from metal alloy substrates ranging in thicknesses of .002” to .062”. This manufacturing technique is beneficial in producing light gauge, metal alloy parts with complex shapes that require high precision. Photochemical etching is a cost-effective alternative to traditional machining processes as the upfront tooling cost is generally less than $300 with the ability to rapid prototype.

    This article will identify and explore additional benefits and uses of photochemical etching.

    Advantages of Photochemical Etching

    The photochemical etching process provides cost-effective tooling and mass duplication of designs across an etched panel.. It also maintains the integrity of the metal’s physical and chemical characteristics, leading to smooth, pure and defect-free parts.

    High Precision Tolerance

    Photo etching is known for its precision and tight tolerances. It uses precision tooling and tightly controlled chemicals used to etch the material resulting in parts with tolerances as low as 0.001”. This high level of precision also makes it suitable for applications requiring very accurate features, material thickness, and purity of metallization.

    High Aspect Ratio

    The aspect ratio is the relationship between the thickness of a feature and its width. In photo etching, thin photoresist materials selectively expose and etch accurate patterns. This results in high aspect ratios, where very thin parts are produced relative to their width and material thickness.

    Material Versatility

    Photochemical milling is a versatile manufacturing technique that may be applied to various materials, including red metal alloys like copper, brass, phos bronze, and Beryllium Copper. In addition, etching can handle cold rolled alloys such as 1095 spring steel, stainless steel, Kovar, Inconel, and other exotic alloys.. This versatility enables manufacturers to build or test components from different metals simultaneously, eliminating the need for multiple production procedures or suppliers.

    No Secondary Finishing Required

    This etching technique leaves the component with a clean, smooth edge devoid of burrs and other defects. Thus, it significantly lowers the requirement for secondary finishing procedures like deburring, polishing, and smoothing. Consequently, this process decreases production time, additional labor, and extra material costs.It also sets up etched products to receive precious metal, nickel, or tin/lead plating to enhance the final use of the products. Many etching houses can also use their plating masking as selective plating masking as well.

    Typical Etched Products and Applications

    Photochemical etching is a flexible and effective production technique with applications in various industries, including aerospace, medical, and electronics. This makes it a valuable manufacturing solution for the following parts and components:

    Spring Contacts and Fuel Cells

    Photo etching’s precise tolerances make it possible to build spring contacts and fuel cells for the electronics industry. Spring contacts are utilized to generate electric connections between two conducting surfaces. Meanwhile, fuel cells are devices that produce electricity via a chemical reaction.

    Gaskets and Seals

    Photochemical milling allows for the efficient and precise manufacturing of intricately shaped sealing components. The function of gaskets is to block the flow of liquids, gasses, and other things between two surfaces. Similar to gaskets, seals are used to prevent the leaking of pressurized fluids.

    Filters and Screens

    Filters and screens play a vital role in the health industry by ensuring the cleanliness and safety of fluids and chemicals used in medical devices. Filters are designed to remove pollutants from liquids and gasses, such as particles, bacteria, and other contaminants. On the other hand, screens separate materials depending on their size, shape, or other characteristics.

    EMI and RFI Shielding

    Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) and Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) can pose challenges for electronic devices, as they disrupt signals and cause malfunctions. These issues are prevented by installing proper shielding around electronic components and wires. Photo etching is suitable for fabricating metal sheets, screens, and meshes that shield devices from electrical and magnetic fields.

    Printed Circuit Boards

    Printed circuit boards (PCBs) are essential for linking active and passive electronic components using pads, tracks, and lines onto a copper laminate sheet. The etching procedure in PCB production includes chemically removing the copper cladding from the substrate’s surface, leading to the fabrication of precise and high-quality boards.

    Heating Elements

    Etching sets up well for the use of heating elements such as packaging sealing, kitchen appliance heaters, and conductive mesh. 302/304 stainless steel or exotic Kanthal materials are ideal to serve as heating element base alloys.

    Encoder Disc

    Brass, Phos Bronze, or Stainless Steel encoder discs of all varieties are very popular products for photochemical etching. High precision allows for the final application to be as precise as designed for many alignment or sensory blocking applications.


    Partial etching into base alloys set etching up well to make repetitive name plates, display panels, and other artistic based applications.

    Choose MET Manufacturing Group for High-Quality Photochemical Etching Services

    At MET Manufacturing Group, we specialize in photochemical milling or etching to produce precise sheet metal components! We also offer value-added services, including forming, plating, heat treating, kitting, and specialty packaging. This ensures you will not be required to work with several service providers for your project.

    Contact us at (574) 293-3342 for more information about our capabilities! You can also request a quote today.

  6. When To Choose Waterjet Cutting

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    Click to ExpandBenefits-of-silicone-rubber-injection-molding

    Waterjet cutting  utilizes a high-pressure water stream mixed with garnet abrasive to cut materials without creating a heat-affected zone. This cutting  process is highly versatile due to its ability to cut almost any industrial material — like metal alloys, red-metals such as  copper and brass,  rubbers, plastics, foams, epoxy-reinforced composites, and glass.

    Benefits of Using Waterjet Cutting

    In the fabrication industry, waterjet cutting  is beneficial considering both cost and quality  versus other 2-D cutting methods. The waterjet process offers the following benefits:

    Superior Edge Cut Quality

    Due to its high-pressure capabilities, waterjet cutting is more suitable than laser cutting for thicker, tough-to-cut materials. Waterjet cutting  can easily cut through thick, dense metal up to 8” thick by applying pressure of up  60,000 PSI.

    Waterjet cutting is also so beneficial when processing softer red metals and other materials that would melt in a laser cutting application. Materials such as copper, brass, plastic, gasket materials, and rubber are prime candidates to be processed using waterjet cutting.

    Quick Turnaround Time

    Waterjet cutting is a CNC process that allows a customer to provide a .DXF or CAD file to be waterjet cut quickly. Importing the file into our layout software allows for quick engineering to the cutting process. Lead times as little as 48 hours can be attained when working with waterjet cutting prototype applications.

    Wide Range of Compatible Materials

    CompatibleMaterials  include Hastelloy, titanium, Inconel, hardened tool steels, copper, brass, gasket materials, rubber, steel, granite, plastic, garolite, and more.

    Wide Range of Processing Ability

    Unlike traditional cutting methods, the waterjet technique provides a wide range of options in cutting materials of diverse thicknesses. As a result, this process is ideal for thicker, heavier sheet metal applications, ranging from 1/4″ to 4″ thick in steel, aluminum, or stainless steel. However, the versatility of a waterjet also allows for  thinner materials to be  processed as well, starting at .020” thickness.

    Waterjet Cutting Industry Applications

    Waterjet cutting is a versatile technology that services many different industries. Below are some examples of industries where waterjet cutting is used.


    Leading aviation manufacturers use water cutting in producing components like interior cabin panels, titanium bodies for military aircraft, trimming turbine blades on jet engines, and other aluminum body parts.


    Waterjet cutting applications are also suitable for fabricating car and train components. This application incorporates but is not limited to the following:

    • Insulation
    • Firewall
    • Custom skid plates
    • Gaskets
    • Fiberglass body
    • Interior trim
    • Under-hood
    • Foam
    • Bumpers
    • EV Battery Housings and Components
    • Garolite spacers, shims, and fabricated panels
    • Custom plastic components
    • Rubber components
    • Acrylic shields and dividers

    Medical and Surgical

    Waterjet cutting’s ability to produce highly accurate products is ideal for fabricating medical and surgical tools. Below are a few of its typical applications in the medical sector:

    • Blanking out surgical instruments
    • Cutting artificial limb components
    • Composites

    Architectural, Design, and Artwork

    Because of its flexibility, waterjet cutting can cut almost any material, including those used in architecture, design, and arts industries.

    For glass materials:

    • Stained glass
    • Kitchen and bathroom splashbacks
    • Frameless shower screens
    • Balustrading
    • Laminated and bullet-proof glass
    • Flooring/table/wall inlay
    • Flat glass 

    For stone products:

    • Custom border tiles
    • Floor and wall inlays
    • Kitchen countertops
    • Custom stepping stones
    • Outdoor stone
    • Stone furniture

    Waterjet Cutting at MET Manufacturing

    MET Manufacturing Group produces precise-cut components for various fabrication needs We specialize in waterjet cutting and deliver products with low tooling costs and fast turnaround times. Our collective goal drives our team of experts to exceed customer expectations in quality, delivery, and cost.

    Request a quote – as we would love to work with you on your waterjet needs!

  7. How To Choose the Right Partner for Waterjet Cutting

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    Waterjet cutting offers many manufacturing benefits, including extreme precision, quick turn from design to prototype or finished product, cost efficiency, and excellent cutting control. Because of the many benefits, Waterjet cutting has gained popularity in the manufacturing industry.

    Suppose you’re planning to use waterjet cutting to manufacture your components. In that case, you should know the key characteristics a waterjet cutting service provider should possess.

    What To Look for in Your Waterjet Cutting Service Provider

    When choosing a waterjet cutting service provider, you want to partner with a company with the experience, tools, and expertise to deliver quality products that meet your expectations. Here are the things to consider to help you qualify your prospective partner:

    Standards Proof and Certifications

    If you want to ensure that your product will meet your custom requirements, find a waterjet cutting service provider with a registered ISO 9001:2015 quality system in place. An ISO certification demonstrates that your waterjet vendor complies to the quality standards set forth by the Industrial Organization of Standardization. This will ensure that finished products meet your quality expectations.

    MET Manufacturing Group is RoHS and ISO 9001:2015 certified and offers contract manufacturing and fabrication services such as waterjet cutting.

    High Capacity Machines and Facilities

    The waterjet cutting service provider you select should have multiple, high-quality, and up-to-date machines capable of handling large projects. A company equipped with several calibrated waterjet machines in a well-maintained facility can accommodate more demanding orders while staying efficient and precise. It also helps ensure on-time deliverables since there’s a contingency plan in the event a machine breaks down or gets overloaded with work. One example is the OMAX 5555, an abrasive waterjet cutting machine ideal for shops that require equipment with a small form factor but can cut a wide range of medium-large sized sheet/alloy stock materials.

    At MET, we are equipped with OMAX proprietary software called Intelli-MAX. A translation operating system called MAKE is used at the operator level to nest and cut products. Our capabilities also enable us to cater to different engineering file types, including DXW, DWG, AI, ORD, SVG, and STEP.

    Customer Service Focus and Priority

    If you’re searching for a waterjet cutting service provider, choose one that can provide you with top-notch customer service. For instance, does the company display on-time and efficient service even during the quoting phase? Doing so proves they value their client’s time, are efficient, and can manage their work effectively. Additionally, a waterjet cutting service provider should be able to provide you with a firm lead time.

    MET Manufacturing Group takes pride in delivering quality products by thoroughly collaborating with our customers’ engineering departments. Through continuous improvement and customer interaction, we ensure that we surpass expectations when it comes to quality, delivery, and cost.

    Quality Systems

    A waterjet cutting service provider should not cut corners — choosing the fastest cutting speed to maximize profit without regard for quality often leads to a poor edge finish and parts that are potentially out of angular or surface finish tolerances. Instead, a reliable company would deliver on-time products without compromising quality. They must also have proficient quality technicians who will ensure high precision and repeatability of production. In addition, they should be capable of following your specifications accurately and providing value-added services.

    At MET, we prioritize product quality maintenance. We observe a systematic workflow with customizable steps for each new job that is thoroughly laid out in our job travelers. In addition, we offer the following value-added services:

    • Black coating
    • Forming
    • Heat treating
    • Passivation
    • Plating
    • E-coating
    • Powder coating
    • Specialty packaging
    • Laser cutting
    • Milling
    • Counter sink
    • Tapping
    • Welding
    • Burnishing

    Waterjet Cutting Services at MET

    At MET Manufacturing Group, we provide waterjet cutting services alongside photochemical etching and other popular value-added services. Our substrate cutting capabilities include all metals and metal alloys. We also process rubbers, plastics, foams, epoxy-reinforced composites, and all types of glass except tempered glass.

    MET utilizes the OMAX 5555 with a 4’7″ x 4’7″ cutting area and a 6’8″ x 5’5″ table loading size. We also have the OMAX 55100 with an 8’4″ x 4’7″ cutting area and a 10’6″ x 120”  table loading size. In addition, our OMAX waterjets support a wide variety of compatible CAD files that work with its proprietary Intelli-MAX software. These files include DXF, DWG, AI, ORD, SVG, and STEP files.

    Get Exceptional-Quality Waterjet Cutting Services

    Here at MET, we make it a priority to produce high-quality products that are qualified by our ISO 9001:2015 quality control procedures

    Partner with MET by requesting a quote today!

  8. Uses And Benefits Of Photochemical Etching

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    Click to ExpandUses-and-benefits-of-photochemical-etching

    Whether working on a simple design project like a packing lid for an electronic circuit board or something with more advanced specifications and tight tolerances, photochemical etching can be a cost-effective and efficient manufacturing process. Photochemical etching gives design engineers the benefit of low-cost tooling, quick prototyping, and high precision, tight tolerance capabilities. There are several metal fabrication processes to choose from in the manufacturing industry, but photochemical etching is a reliable solution for the prototyping and production of quality thin metal components.

    This blog post will help you understand photochemical etching, how it works, its applications, and why you should consider it when designing a part for manufacturability.

    What Is Photochemical Etching?

    Photochemical etching is a machining technique that employs photographic and chemical processes to produce parts for engineered designs in various industries. Other names for the photochemical etching process include photochemical milling, photo etching, chemical machining, acid etching, and metal etching.

    How Does Photochemical Etching Work?

    The photochemical etching starts with cleaning flat, sheet metal material to remove oils and contaminants. The material is then laminated on both sides using acid-resistant photopolymer film. A photo tool is applied to the laminated sheet metal and UV light is used to expose the design into the laminate, on both sides of the metal. The final pre-etching prep process is a development solution that selectively removes excess resist from unprotected areas, leaving just the part design. Using a conveyorized etcher, ferric chloride is applied to dissolve the unprotected areas leaving only the desirable part. After the etching process, the finished part is placed in a stripping solution to remove all remaining resist and applying a corrosion inhibitor to prevent rust and oxidation. Free of any contaminants, the etched parts are then ready for further processing and/or final Quality Control.

    Common Metals Used in Photochemical Etching

    The following metal and metal alloys are commonly used in the photochemical etching process:

    • Stainless steel alloys
    • Steel alloys
    • Brass
    • Copper
    • Beryllium copper
    • Aluminum
    • Inconel
    • Nickel silver
    • Phosphor bronze
    • Exotic alloys

    What Are The Uses Of Photochemical Etching?

    Etched products are commonly used in many consumer applications. Due to the versatile nature of etched parts, you can find etched components in something as small as a cell phone or as large as an aircraft.

    Photochemically etched products can stand alone or be found in the following:

    Electronics and Hardware

    • Fine screens
    • Sensors
    • Metal gaskets
    • Circuit components
    • Washers
    • Apertures
    • Microwave/Telecommunications
    • Cell phones
    • Hearing aids

    Medical Equipment

    • Imaging equipment
    • Surgical blades
    • Medical batteries
    • Pacemakers
    • Microscope objectives


    • Telescopes
    • Radars
    • RF signal collectors

    Any application that requires a thin gauge sheet metal fabrication solution should consider photochemical etching.

    What Are The Benefits Of Photochemical Etching?

    Low-Cost Tooling

    Photochemical etching utilizes a mylar film with silver based ink as the tool to transfer the image. A general cost for an engineered tool for the photochemical etching process is approximately $400. The tooling can also be generated or revised/re-generated in 1-2 business days.

    In comparison, a traditional stamping or tooling based manufacturing method could be several thousand dollars and have a significant lead time from start to first application.

    Preserved Metal Properties

    Unlike traditional mechanical fabricating, photochemical etching produces no jagged corners or abrasions and preserves the physical properties of the metal. This machining process does not affect the metal hardness, grain structure, or ductility because no mechanical forces are applied to the metal. Because the process does not include heating the part, there are no heat-affected zones as with other traditional fabrication methods.

    Prototyping Versatility

    With photochemical etching, you can make several changes to parts during the prototype development process, and the designer or manufacturer can change the dimensions utilizing the low cost tooling. A single tool can also be used to create multiple styles of a potential design.

    Burr-Free Parts

    The photochemical machining process has the ability to produce burr free products. Finished etched features like holes and separated edges will be smooth, rounded, and burr free.

    Replicability Of Design

    Photochemical etching allows patterns to be replicated several times on a panel, which enables lower costs while maintaining design accuracy.

    Recessing of Material Thickness

    Commonly referred to as “Half Etch”, photochemical etching allows material to be removed from only one side of the sheet. This allows for multiple depth throughout the designed part. This could be used as text identification, bend lines for post processing, recessed pocks, or general surface finishing and roughness.

    Photochemical Etching Services By MET Manufacturing Group

    MET Manufacturing Group specializes in thin gauge, precision sheet metal applications using photochemical etching as outlined above. MET also offers value-added services of forming, plating, heat treating, kitting, and specialty packaging for our etched products.

    As an ISO 9001:2016 certified company, MET highly values our Quality Management System and the requirements of our customers. MET takes pride in dynamic customer service, competitive lead times and pricing, and building long-term relationships that continually service customer needs.

    For more information about our photochemical etching capabilities, contact us at (574) 293-3342, or you can also request a quote today.