Plastic Etching

Surface Finishing Plastic Etching

Various polymers are used in the surface finishing industry as the substrate for metallic coatings. These coatings are used for a variety of purposes including aesthetic enhancement, continuous conductibility, RF shielding and chemical resistance. Typical polymers used include:

  • ABS Acrylonitrile / Butadiene / Styrene
  • Noryl - polyphenylene oxide (PPO) / polystyrene blend
  • Polyetherimide
  • Carbon fibre composite
  • Polypropylene

These polymers exhibit high chemical resistance, so etching them for plating is difficult often requiring highly concentrated chemicals, for example chromic acid, which is a dangerous carcinogen which is having its use gradually restricted in the EU. Physical etching through abrasion is possible but difficult for complex shapes and also labour intensive.

The Susonence process uses a milder chemical treatment combined with ultrasound to achieve the same etching results. The image below shows pit marks formed on an ABS surface using the Susonence process. Chromic acid has been completely removed and only a weak chemical solution is required to achieve this. The resultant surface offers equally good adhesion to coatings as the conventional process.

Plastic Etching

Additional information