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A process to manufacture metal components in thicknesses between 0.005mm to 2.5mm, in virtually all metals the capability of producing complex profiles using photographic digital tooling created from customer CAD files.

Chemical etching is a fast efficient, cost-effective method for the manufacture of small precision metal parts, the ideal manufacturing process for both development prototype and production quantities. Parts produced by chemical etching are burr and stress-free, with the complexity of shape unlimited, plus the complete flexibility to change the design at any time.

We etch a wide range of metals from aluminium, beryllium copper, brass, copper, nickel silver, phosphor bronze, stainless steels, silver & developed special unique processes to etch technically challenging metals nickel superalloys, titanium, nitinol, molybdenum and many others.

All grades of titanium can be etched (alpha, beta & nitinol) through rigorous R&D we have developed our own unique (non HF) process to etch titanium alloys.

All grades of aluminium can be etched (including clad) through rigorous R&D we have developed our unique process to etch aluminium up to 2.5mm thick

In Engineering, Aerospace, Telecommunications, Military and Medical applications there is a requirement for Shims, lead frames, RF screening cans, meshes, filters, blades and many other precision thin metal components. Chemical etching addresses all these applications and more.

It depends on the metal type and part features but some parts can be up to 2.5mm thick.

It depends on the metal type and part features but some parts can be as thin as 0.005mm thick.

Plus or minus 10% of the metal thickness is standard, this can be improved upon at extra cost.

The smallest hole or slot is 0.07mm, this is usually calculated as minimum size as metal thickness.

A fold line (bend line) is an etch line for hand folding, etched half-way through the metal, and are normally on the inside of the fold. Etching with half etched fold lines allows hand forming without the need for form tooling. ACE can assist with information regarding allowances for etching folds in components.

With just a small amount of information: length, width, thickness, alloy, temper and quantity, we will provide an estimate for chemically etching your parts. For a firm quotation, we need an engineering spec that includes exact dimensions and tolerances, and any secondary operations required such as forming or plating.

Photo tooling charges are charged once only - the first time the component is ordered unless the customer changes physical dimensions of the part next time it is ordered, and then another tooling charge is incurred. If a photo tool becomes damaged while in our use or care, we will replace it at no charge to the customer.

dwg, iges, dxf, gerber, step with fully dimensioned drawings or details of key features.

Yes we produce our photo tools in house.

If we have the metal in stock and the data supplied is problem free we can produce prototypes within 3/5 working days. Parts that need plating, forming or heat-treating are on a longer delivery schedule.

This is possible but only if all the parts are made from the same material and will be ordered in the same quantity ratio in the future.

It is preferable to hold the components together whilst they are in the etching machine. It is also essential if the parts need electroplating to give a good electrical connection. For special i.e. microwave applications where smooth edges are required we can process the parts singularly but at extra cost.

ACE provides a full range of engineering skills and can offer complex formed components either singularly or on Tape and Reel. We offer all regular plating finishes; Tin, tin-lead, nickel, gold, silver. We can offer certificated lab reports to confirm plating thicknesses. We sub contract heat-treating to a local approved company.

If you require a non-standard thickness or one that is not immediately available from stock then we can etch down a thicker material to meet your requirements. Please discuss this option with our Sales Team, telephone them on +44 (0) 1952 416666 or via sales@ace-uk.net

Yes, we are unique in our field, in that we have a complete British Standard 9000 laboratory with micro sectioning, solderability, accelerated ageing, chemical analysis, porosity and XRF plating thickness-measuring facilities. We have nationally certified calibrated shadowgraphs and can offer first item inspection reports with C of C.

Unfortunately the answer to that is no, we process flat sheets of metal through conveyorized machines, so shaped items or already manufactured parts would not be able to be processed. Also, we would not be able to apply our photo-resist to such items or apply our photo tooling.

We are located in Telford the “Birthplace of the Industrial Revolution”, our full address is Units 31-34 Hortonwood 33, Telford, Shropshire, TF1 7EX, UK.

We only shut down during UK Bank Holidays and the UK Christmas holiday period.

Monday - Friday 08:00am - 16.30pm.

ACE was established in April 2000, so we have now been trading for 18 years.

We are a young enthusiastic company with many years of management and technical experience. We are friendly, efficient and cost-competitive. We have an excellent record of environmentally friendly production. We are continually striving to push the boundaries of the etching process, even developing our own unique etching chemistry for aluminium and titanium etching.

FAQ's about Processes & Metals


A process to manufacture thin metal components using a combination of photographic digital tooling and chemical processes to image and etch the metal to shape.

Chemical etching is a fast efficient, cost effective method for the manufacture of small precision metal parts, the ideal manufacturing process for both development, prototype and production quantities. Parts produced by chemical etching are burr and stress free, with the complexity of shape unlimited, plus the complete flexibility to change the design at any time.

Virtually all metals can be etched but some such as copper, brass, stainless steel are easier than others such as Gold, Tungsten, Molybdenum and Titanium. However at ACE we have developed unique process technology to etch even these difficult metals. For more information on metal types we can etch here.

Yes here at ACE we are the world leaders for etching Titanium. Through rigorous R&D we have developed our own unique process to etch Titanium, called TiME (Titanium Molecular Etching) more information here.

All grades of aluminium can be etched (including clad) through rigorous R&D we have developed our unique process to etch aluminium up to 2.5mm thick.

In Engineering, Aerospace, Telecommunications, Military and Medical applications there is a requirement for Shims, lead frames, RF screening cans, meshes, filters, blades and many other precision thin metal components. Chemical etching addresses all these applications and more.

It depends on the metal type and part features but come parts can be up to 2.5mm thick.

It depends on the metal type and part features but come parts can be as thin as 0.005mm thick.

Plus or minus 10% of the metal thickness is standard, this can be improved upon at extra cost.

FAQ's about Production & Costs


The smallest hole or slot is 0.07mm, this is usually caluclated as minimum size as metal thickness.

A fold line (bend line) is an etch line for hand folding, etched half way through the metal, and are normally on the inside of the fold. Etching with half etched fold lines allows hand forming without the need for form tooling. ACE can assist with information regarding allowances for etching folds in components.

With just a small amount of information: length, width, thickness, alloy, temper and quantity, we will provide an estimate for chemically etching your parts. For a firm quotation, we need an engineering spec that includes exact dimensions and tolerances, and any secondary operations required such as forming or plating.

Photo tooling charges are charged once only - the first time the component is ordered, unless the customer changes physical dimensions of the part next time it is ordered, and then another tooling charge is incurred. If a photo tool becomes damaged while in our use or care, we will replace it at no charge to the customer.

dwg, iges, dxf, gerber, step with fully dimensioned drawings or details of key features.

Yes we produce our photo tools in house.

If we have the metal in stock and the data supplied is problem free we can produce prototypes within 3/5 working days. Parts that need plating, forming or heat-treating are on a longer delivery schedule.

This is possible but only if all the parts are made from the same material and will be ordered in the same quantity ratio in the future.

It is preferable to hold the components together whilst they are in the etching machine. It is also essential if the parts need electroplating to give a good electrical connection. For special i.e. microwave applications where smooth edges are required we can process the parts singularly but at extra cost.

ACE provide a full range of engineering skills and can offer complex formed components either singularly or on Tape and Reel. We offer all regular plating finishes; Tin, tin-lead, nickel, gold, silver. We can offer certificated lab reports to confirm plating thicknesses. We sub-contract heat-treating to a local approved company.

If you require a non-standard thickness or one that is not immediately available from stock then we can etch down a thicker material to meet your requirements. Please discuss this option with our Sales Team, telephone them on +44 (0) 1952 416666 or via sales@ace-uk.net

Yes, we are unique in our field, in that we have a complete British Standard 9000 laboratory with micro sectioning, solderability, accelerated ageing, chemical analysis, porosity and XRF plating thickness-measuring facilities. We have nationally certified calibrated shadowgraphs and can offer first item inspection reports with C of C.

FAQ's about ACE and who we are


We are located in Telford the “Birthplace of the Industrial Revolution”, our full address is Units 31-34 Hortonwood 33, Telford, Shropshire, TF1 7EX, UK.

We only shutdown during UK Bank Holidays and the UK Christmas holiday period.

Monday - Friday 08:00am - 16.30pm.

ACE was established in April 2000, so we have now been trading for 18 years.

We are a young enthusiastic company with many years of management and technical experience. We are friendly, efficient and cost competitive. We have an excellent record of environmentally friendly production. We are continually striving to push the boundaries of the etching process, even developing our own unique etching chemistry for aluminium and titanium etching.


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