Finding Alternatives to Chemical Etching Is Not Rocket Science. Just Ask a Government Agent. 



Government agencies have long relied on in-house prototyping for circuit board design. Producing prototypes in-house allows organizations to turn projects around quickly and maintain confidentiality. Unfortunately, environmental laws limiting the use of hazardous chemicals typically used for etching printed circuit boards (PCBs) have forced many agencies to outsource their prototypes to third-party production houses. For one agency involved in rocket engineering, outsourcing PCB prototypes significantly hampered production schedules, making it difficult to complete new designs in a timely fashion. This led the agency to look for alternative solutions for in-house prototyping that could increase efficiency and create faster turnaround times without violating environmental regulations.




In order to maintain compliance with environmental laws, the agency turned to LPKF® mechanical milling equipment to produce in-house PCB prototypes for rocket engineering. LPKF’s state-of-the-art PCB milling technology produces fully functional board prototypes in just a few hours, without the aid of hazardous chemicals. Laws regulating the use of etching chemicals have resulted in an increased use of mechanical milling systems over the last few years. Because of their complete lack of toxic chemicals, LPKF’s PCB plotting systems have become a popular alternative to outsourcing.




The agency now uses LPKF equipment to speed project turnaround times in many areas of rocket engineering, including pre-production testing and refining of circuit designs. LPKF equipment allows technicians to produce board prototypes quickly and efficiently, eliminating time spent waiting for shipments of outsourced boards to arrive. Since LPKF’s equipment is completely chemical- free, the agency is able to keep their prototyping of circuit boards in-house, without having to worry about adhering to strict environmental laws. Most importantly, according to agency employees, the time saved by using LPKF equipment has translated into considerable cost savings for the agency.