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Development method and devices for cutting, creasing and etching sheet metal through UV inkjet printer and chemical machining


The photoetching or chemical machining of metal sheets with thicknesses less than 2 mm, is a simple process with excellent results in the precision cutting and etching of complex shapes with low investment cost. But it is a slow process consists of several steps, which in general are: 1) Design, 2) photolithography printing, 3) Laminate sheet metal with photosensitive film 4) Exposure UV sheet metal with photolithograph, 5) Revelation masking corrosion 6) corrosion, 7) Stripping mask and 8) Final wash. We can call the procedures from 1 to 5 photographic step and 6-8, chemical step. The researchers of this project has extensive knowledge and market experience in the areas of special machining, prototyping and industrial automation, and found a market gap when we talk about to machining of metal parts in small batches in various segments. Currently, the state of the art for these cases is the laser cutting, high-productivity machinery, which requires highly skilled labor and consequently high cost, which makes it impossible to access to small and medium enterprises, for not having productive capacity to justify such an investment. This proposal aims to study the technical and economic feasibility of simplifying the photoetching process on three fronts: first, replacing the photographic step by an inkjet printer with UV ink (ultraviolet); the second is to develop a device that unifies and automate step chemical corrosion and ultimately propose is a software that facilitates this process. Therefore, a thorough literature search of each stage will be done. The proposal for photographic step is the construction of a low cost laminator and photoexposure, since there are no national equipment for this purpose, and imported one have high costs due to taxes and import duties, and optimize the photographic process using such equipments. In parallel is proposed conversion of an inkjet printer to UV, to simplify the photographic process, and the feasibility of its use for the photoetching process. For the chemical step, the proposal is the construction, automation and test the technical feasibility of a test device which involves the procedures 6-8 described above in one small and low cost device. The device's initial project is already designed. There is a need at this stage to optimize the process by a solid methodology that provides testing of the following materials: steel, stainless steel, brass, copper and aluminum; 0,5mm-1,0mm-1,5mm-2,0mm in thickness. These results will allow maximization process for the proposed device. So there is the integration of these steps, it is also proposed to create a user-friendly interface software, to provide accessibility to equipment operator without the need for specific skill in interpreting technical drawings, using features such as three-dimensional graphic simulations. At the end of Phase 1, the feasibility of building the unified equipment corrosion, will fit this method into a huge gap in the market for small and medium enterprises in different segments such as metallurgical industry, jewelry, semi-jewelery, medical, hospital, dental, aeronautics, microelectronics, promotional gifts, graphic and visual communication, etc. In addition, we still have the opportunity to explore the market of by-products such as laminator, the photoexposure, UV printer and its consumables and spare parts. (AU)

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