Photo Etching of Stainless Steel Printed Circuit Heat Exchanger Layers for the Fuel Cell Industry

Photo Etching of Stainless Steel Printed Circuit Heat Exchanger LayersVACCO Industries specializes in manufacturing high precision photo etching of printed circuit heat exchangers (PCHE). The product featured here is a robust and highly effective diffusion-bonded heat exchanger layered to serve as a core of the exchanger. Operating since 1954, we have developed and applied advanced manufacturing methodologies and inspections, including Six Sigma and SPC, to ensure reproduction of parts with tolerances to ± 0.002″. Our fuel cell industry customer benefits from our experienced teams’ applied knowledge.

Our team fabricated PCHE by photo etching the (40) .020” thick corrosion-resistant AISI 316 stainless steel layers with flow paths and microfluidic channels. CNC machining and polishing were used to generate top and bottom plates. Through our diffusion bonding process, the multiple layers were joined creating a monolithic hermitically sealed device. The wire EDM process was used to machine the access ports and allow the part to take its final shape. The finished unit was then bubble leak tested and pressure certified. This was completed with a 12-week turnaround time.

VACCO photo etches printed circuit heat exchangers that undergo quality control procedures and rigorous testing to meet fuel cell industry part standards. For additional product details, refer to the table below and contact us.

Photo Etching of PCHE Project Highlights

Product Name
Printed Circuit Heat Exchanger (PCHE)
Product Description
These printed circuit heat exchangers are used within a Cooling System or Recuperator.
Capabilities Applied/Processes
Photo Etching
CNC MachiningSecondary:
Diffusion Bonding
Wire EDM
Overall Part Dimensions
Layer Thickness: 0.020”
Etching Width: 0.020”
Etching Depth: 0.010”
~Bonded height: 2”, Length: 5”, Width: 4”
Tightest Tolerances
± 0.002”
Material Used
316 Stainless Steel
Material Finish
2B Rolled
In-process testing/inspection performed
In-process Data Collection per our SPC Quality Procedures for IQS (part of our Six Sigma culture)
MicroVue Inspection
Pressure Leak Tested to 900 psi for Hermetic Seal
Industry for Use
Fuel Cell
Delivery/Turnaround Time
12 weeks
Delivery Location
Northeastern United States
Standards Met
Customer Specifications, 2D CAD Drawing