Gary Marriott, from Advanced Chemical Etching explains TiME® Titanium Molecular Etching to Medtec News - September 2016
Titanium is renowned for its strength and lightweight properties but it is difficult to etch due to the fact that it rapidly forms a protective oxidised coating when exposed to air; a coating that is exceptionally hard to dissolve. Advanced Chemical Etching (ACE) has developed an innovative, unique process called TiME® that provides a solution to this problem. Gary Marriott, Technical Sales Manager at ACE-UK, explains the advances of this technology.
Medtec News: Mr Marriott, could you roughly explain what TiME® stands for and why it is beneficial for certain medical device manufacturers?
Gary Marriott: TiME® stands for Titanium Molecular Etching and was developed as an alternative safe & green chemistry for etching titanium and nitinol. Our process, TiME®, is more efficient and improves the quality of items such as the manufacturing of titanium cranial mesh, bionic parts, dental implants etc.etc. New levels of quality are achievable, as well as tighter tolerance standards and high aspect ratios.
Medtec News: Could you give us some insight into the process of development?
Gary Marriott: Working closely with Wolverhampton University in a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) and through rigorous R&D testing the process was launched in 2013. It is a safer and more reliable process for etching a wide range of medical components. Further enhancements and improvements were made to the process in 2015 and investment was made in new production equipment.
Medtec News: What is so unique about TiME®, compared to other etching technologies available in the market?
Gary Marriott: Titanium has many great characteristics: it is light-weight, withstands high temperatures and extraordinarily corrosion resistant. But working with Titanium carries certain challenges as well. Especially regarding the etching process. When exposed to air, it rapidly forms a protective oxidized coating. And this is exceptionally hard to dissolve. Traditionally, Hydrofluoric Acid (HF) has been used as the preferred etchant for chemical etching of Titanium, because of its ability to remove this oxide layer but it is a highly toxic material and should be avoided at all costs if possible. Now, Advanced Chemical Etching has developed a new, safer NON HF chemistry that takes titanium etching to new levels of quality and precision.
Medtec News: What kind of technologies are incorporated in TiME®?
Gary Marriott: Chemical Etching technology uses a combination of photographic digital tooling and chemical processes to image and etch metals to shape. This unique process enables exceptionally accurate and fine detail on a full range of different metals and grades. No other method can produce stress free, burr free parts with the added benefit of being extremely cost effective and with very short lead times. Prototypes or samples are produced rapidly by our chemical etching process, allowing the design to be assessed for fit and function. If a design change is required, the photo tooling can be altered at minimal cost allowing optimum product development.
Medtec News: Thank you, Mr Marriott, for sharing this with us. We wish you a successful exhibition with us at Medtec Ireland 2016!
If you want to know more about TiME® click here.