Why Chemical Milling is the Right Fit for the Aerospace Industry

Chemical Milling | Photochemical Milling | Chem Milling Stainless Steel | Metal Chemical Etching

For the aerospace industry, chemical milling is a subtractive machining process that reduces the weight of fuselage skins to produce pocket and channel features or achieves an overall weight reduction for a more efficient aircraft.

Chemical milling, or photochemical etching, is a clean, scalable option that brings unique advantages to the aerospace industry, including:

Improved Precision

The aerospace industry operates under strict guidelines. In an effort to ensure safety, manufactured parts need to function in a range of extreme environments and withstand a variety of forces. With Switzer, chemical milling can be used on materials as thin as .001” with a minimum feature size 110% of thickness, to .006” for extremely intricate designs.


Because the chemical milling process doesn’t use hard tools, it results in stress-, burr- and distortion-free components. This allows for exceptional precision in the completed parts, which come off the line ready for the subsequent bonding, stacking or actuation that are common in aerospace applications.

Photo Chemical Milling | Photochemical Etching and Milling | Chemical Etching | Photochemical Etching


Chemical milling uses low-cost digital tooling with an ability to mass manufacture complex and feature-rich metal components. Prototyping is easier and less expensive, and scaling up for high-volume production doesn’t require additional tooling costs.

Highly Scalable

The repeatable and scalable nature of the process ensures every part — whether it’s a spring or foil circuit — is made with the same level of quality and care for the fast-paced aerospace industry. That means whether you need large or small volumes, our process and precision don’t change.

Handles A Variety of Materials

For modern aircrafts, aluminum, stainless steel and titanium are often the metal of choice. Chemical milling is a non-conventional process that pairs well with these materials by avoiding the problems of heat and reflectance.

Your Partner In Aerospace and Beyond

Switzer was built on our expertise in chemical milling. We have been mastering this process for almost 40 years and understand the demands of the aerospace industry to produce lighter, stronger and faster materials. Our approach allows for parts that have greater thicknesses in stress areas while reducing the weight in non-critical areas for a more efficient aircraft.

Start your project consultation with us today! Our sales team is uniquely expert in the technical aspects of our process and the industries we serve.

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