titanium plates

Maximizing Strength and Durability with Titanium Etching

Precision metal components call for equal parts strength, durability, reliability, and performance for maximum longevity and success because manufacturers serving the world’s most important industries rely on these components daily.

Medical, defense, aerospace, and technology companies are just a handful of the places that utilize precision metal parts and components. Each piece must endure extreme environments or perform in critical situations — picture a medical implant, an energy plant, a satellite, or a jet engine’s turbine blades.

In each case, stringent standards and expectations must meet strength, durability, reliability, and performance without failure.

Engineers and manufacturers in these industries rely on titanium, thanks to the material’s exceptional power, durability, and high corrosion resistance. Photochemically etched titanium parts with intricate patterns and complex geometries are lightweight, sturdy, and reliable. 

For over 50 years, Elcon Precision has manufactured the highest-quality precision components and assemblies in the industry.

We are one of the leading photochemical etching companies on the West Coast, with advanced titanium etching processes that ensure precise and accurate parts and components. Elcon is ISO 9001-2015, AS9100D, and ITAR-certified and works with leading manufacturers in the renewable energy, medical, aerospace, and defense industries. 

Let’s look at why the unique properties of titanium make it a leading metal choice, the titanium etching process, and where leading manufacturers use etched titanium parts and components. 

The Significance of Titanium

Titanium features a remarkable combination of mechanical properties and the highest strength-to-weight ratio of any metal. Many engineers and manufacturers call titanium a wonder metal, and it’s fast become the preferred material for many leading industries, including renewable energy, aerospace, medical, defense, and electronics.

Given its unique properties and corrosion resistance, titanium is a reliable metal choice for even the harshest environments. Due to its biocompatibility, it is indispensable in medical devices and implants, where it can integrate seamlessly with the human body without causing adverse effects. 

These attributes make titanium and titanium alloys a versatile, sought-after material, enabling the development of high-performance components that consistently meet the stringent requirements of modern precision industries.

The Benefits of Titanium

Often referred to as an “impervious” metal due to its unique properties, titanium offers many benefits that include


Titanium owes its impervious nature to the titanium dioxide layer that forms on its surface when exposed to air or oxygen. This impermeable and chemically stable layer protects the titanium surface against harsh or corrosive environments, such as seawater, acids, alkalis, and industrial chemicals. It acts as a barrier and shields the underlying metal from further oxidation and degradation.


Titanium is non-toxic and well-tolerated by the human body and does not cause any adverse reactions when it interacts with bodily fluids. This property makes it an excellent choice for medical implants, as it reduces the risk of rejection and promotes successful integration with surrounding bone and soft tissues. Titanium is one of the only metals that allows for osseointegration, where your body’s natural bone and tissue bond to an artificial implant.

High melting point:

Titanium has a high melting point, making it capable of withstanding extreme temperatures and excellent fatigue resistance, meaning it can withstand repeated stress cycles without failure. Titanium parts deliver high performance even when subjected to constant stress, vibrations, and load fluctuations, making them ideal for aerospace and defense applications.

Etching Titanium: A Powerful Process

Titanium etching refers to selectively removing material from a titanium sheet using etchants that dissolve the titanium. Etching creates precise patterns, designs and features in the process of creating simple or complex  titanium components.

When you etch titanium, a photoresist mask is applied to protect specific areas of the metal surface that should not be etched. The surface is then exposed to a chemical reagent or etching solution, such as hydrofluoric acid,

At Elcon Precision, we have a proven titanium etching process to ensure precision for every project. Our titanium etching process is safer and more quality-controlled than the other methods of titanium machining. We tightly monitor and adjust our etchant chemistries to account for various manufacturing defects, such as photoresist detachment or material oxidation. Our photochemical etching process is burr-free and stress-free, and the metal material is precisely removed to create a 2D or 3D component using photolithographically imaged patterns.

We use advanced digital imaging printers in the photolithography steps that produce very accurate front-to-back registration, which guarantees higher sheet-to-sheet reproducibility. Combining our digital imaging with our tight process controls, we can achieve tolerances as tight as ±0.0005 in.

The Main Applications of Titanium

Boasting a unique blend of strength, lightweight properties, corrosion resistance, and biocompatibility, titanium is the preferred material for applications across various industries.

Some of the main applications include:

  • Bipolar plates for fuel cells or electrolyzers
  • Medical devices, medical meshes or plates
  • Spinal implants
  • Aircraft components
  • Plate heat exchangers (brazed or diffusion-bonded)
  • Orthopedic devices and implants
  • Spacecraft components
  • Alternative for aluminum components

The Role of Quality Control and Precision in Titanium Etching

Due to the exacting nature of titanium, etching demands meticulous control of parameters, such as etchant concentration, temperature, and exposure time, to achieve precise and consistent results. Rigorous quality control measures are required when etching titanium sheets to verify that the etched components meet exact specifications, adhering to tight tolerances and industry standards. 

Regardless of the industry or application, adherence to strict quality control processes is required to ensure the reliability and functionality of titanium components.

At Elcon Precision, our commitment to quality is unwavering. We are the only photochemical etching company on the West Coast that is ISO 9001-2015, AS9100D, and ITAR-certified. We are also RoHS and REACH-compliant, delivering added peace of mind.

Leaders in Titanium Etching

Trusted by leading companies, the team at Elcon Precision specializes in chemical etching titanium to produce high-tech critical parts for the renewable energy, medical, aerospace, and defense industries.  

Our titanium etching capabilities include:

  • Etching of all titanium grades, including CP Grade 1, CP Grade 2, CP Grade 3, CP Grade 4, CP Grade 5 and Grade 6A-3.
  • Use of DFARS-compliant titanium where required
  • Etching of up to 0.040″ thick sheets ranging up to 22×12 inches
  • Tolerances of ±.0005″ in many applications

If you need titanium etching for high-strength, lightweight parts, we can help. If you'd like to discuss a project or idea, or request a quote, our team of dedicated and experienced industry experts is here to provide application and design for manufacturing support.

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