The basics of the chemical etching process include outputting a digitally printed film which is then exposed onto a photo film which in turn is then transferred to a silk screen. The resist or mask which it’s also known as is then screen printed onto the metal surface. Any areas exposed on the metal surface that are not coated with resist will be attacked and eaten away by the acid; this is how we create depth without compromising any other areas of the metal surface. At this stage while the resist is still present we can start to add colour using stove enamels or leave unfilled for an elegant looking contrast etch option. If other colours are required this process can be repeated several times over, once you have created the desired look the resist can then be removed easily in a vatting off solution and then cleaned.

Our chemically etched signs and labels our widely used on plant machinery, public access areas, schools, working environments, hotels, museums, arenas, stadiums and shopping centres, the list is endless, whatever the application we have the answer, if we can’t do it, it can’t be done!

Etch and Fill

Watsons takes a huge amount of pride in producing quality chemically etched and filled signs to the highest standard achievable. We etch and fill all types of metals including, stainless steel, brass, copper, bronze, aluminium and coloured stainless steel in both brushed and polished finishes. All our signs are tailored to meet the individual’s needs but if you are not sure we are always on hand with friendly advice. All our signs are carefully made onsite to the highest standards; we have the capability to etch signs up to a size of 1950 mm X 950 mm in one piece. Etch and fill is suitable for both interior and exterior use. Because we work from Vectorised artwork we are able to add fine detail, company logos, maps, scenes and crests to give the sign character and depth unobtainable by other methods. We can add multiple colours to signs, nameplates, panels and labels where corporate branding must be replicated. Etch and fill is ideal for hotels where a large amount of room number signs and floor level signs are required, this can be achieved cost effectively because we are able to put multiple images onto one sheet. Etch and fill is becoming very popular with Museums where text and images can be combined on one sign to tell a story, or a series of different signs that can depict an event from history.

Contrast Etch

If you’re looking for something a little different to etch and fill that is eye catching, classy looking, stylish and robust then you’re looking for contrast etch. Contrast etch is manufactured in exactly the same way as etch and fill but basically omitting the paint fill which is the final operation. Contrast etch is ideal in harsh conditions for example coastal areas and hill tops which are open to the elements, factories where cleaning agents and acids may be used on a regular basis, this is where a normal etched and filled sign or nameplate may let you down, the paint will inevitably start to show signs of breaking up, but because it is etched, you should still be able to read the information on it, but it will not look aesthetically pleasing. Contrast etch is also ideal for business cards for when you want to impress. This process can also be used on any type of sign, nameplate, label, instrument panel where a conventional etched and filled product would normally be used, again this finish can be used on all types of metals including, stainless steel, brass, copper, bronze, aluminium and coloured stainless steel in both brushed and polished finishes.