The tooling of stainless steel continues to play a vital part in today’s B2B global environment. From aerospace to the military, food and packaging to medical applications, power plants, civil engineering, and more, the reliability and flexibility of stainless steel parts have found their way into many noble purposes. Etching stainless steel tool parts, in particular, are coming to light as key players in the growing global demand for them. Here are five key things to keep in mind as we watch the future of this promising economic venture.
1. Stainless Steel Tooling is Alive and Well
Stainless steel continues to be a useful material in many industries around the world. Despite the economic pause caused by the global pandemic last year, the demand for stainless steel tooling applications has resumed its growth. Stainless steel is versatile in many cutting, boring, milling, grinding, and drilling applications. The demand for cutting tools, in particular, is on the rise in the next two years.
2. The Automotive Industry is Helping it Grow
Among the industries that utilize stainless steel tooling, the automotive industry has the highest demand. Not only do tool steels comprise many parts of a vehicle itself, but they are also used as molds to make other plastic vehicle parts such as inner panels, headlights, and taillights. Add that to increased automation in manufacturing vehicles and consumer demand for vehicles themselves, and you’ve got the prime market opportunity for etching tool steel parts.
3. Stainless Steel is a Great Etching Material
It’s a versatile metal to work with and tolerates chemical etching very well. The original strength and integrity of the metal is intact after the process. Unlike physical tooling processes, etching stainless steel does not cause burrs, dents, or rough edges, thus saving time and labor costs that are incurred with additional processing steps.
4. Etching Stainless Steel is More Cost-Effective than Other Tooling Techniques
Chemical etching is much cheaper than expensive CAD computer tooling machines, and the results in today’s etching technologies are comparable in accuracy and volume output. You don’t have to worry about the expense and upkeep of a big, fancy machine with software updates, either. Why fork out thousands of dollars for making steel parts when you can etch them for a fraction of the cost?
5. Etching Steel Tools is Faster, too
Companies in industrial professions are accustomed to long time turnarounds for ordering custom steel tooling parts. From quoting to design and final production, the entire process can take weeks and even months. But with the chemical etching process, the waiting time is drastically reduced. Lead times are generated in mere days instead of months. This means you can get your tool parts much faster and have more of them made in a shorter timeframe.
While the future cannot be predicted, market research reveals this outlook is promising. With consideration of these key principles, one thing is clear. Etching techniques for tooling stainless steel is truly the method of the future for steel parts.