Electroforming - the process

Photo Electro Forming (PEF) is an additive process that 'grows' parts, molecule by molecule, via the electro-deposition of metal onto a mandrel.

Fine process controls enable the production of high precision parts with features measured in microns, high tolerances and excellent edge definition.

PEF is ideal for manufacturing a wide range of fine featured parts that demand precision far beyond the capabilities of more conventional production technologies.


Various metals are suitable for Tecan's PEF process, the most frequently used however, is nickel, because:
  • It can be deposited at high speed
  • The physical properties of the deposit can be closely controlled
  • It is strong and resistant to corrosion and wear
  • It is cost-effective
Both hard and soft nickel can be used for Photo Electro Forming and each has benefits dependent on the application. Hard nickel offers superior optical qualities and durability, whilst soft nickel offers flexibility and minimal stress.

Tecan can also Photo Electro Form other metals such as copper, silver, gold and nickel cobalt according to the customerís specific requirements.


The diversity of parts and tools that can be produced by PEF is huge. However, here are some typical examples:

Calibration bars Optical slits
Crystal masks Laser slits
Diaphragms Precision mesh
Micro embossing tools Precision sieves
Encoder disks Shaving foils
Grids SMT stencils
Nozzles Washers and shims
Masks - optical, evaporation and sputtering


To follow is a guide to capability, all of these are dependent upon the nature of the project undertaken and may vary according to:
  • Material used
  • Overall surface area
  • Packing density
  • Variation of feature size across surface area
Tecan's R&D team will work with you to push these parameters if required.

SUBSTRATE SIZE (mm)600 x 765 maximum
Aperture Sizes (min)20µ
Feature Sizes (min)20µ
Alignment Accuracy15µ
Aspect ratios/level (max)1:1
Pitch (min)40µ
RoughnessDependant upon mandrel material. Optical finishes possible
Hardness (VPN)≈190-500
Thickness uniformity/level<1% of material thickness possible
MaterialsHard and Soft Nickel

More information about Electroforming

General contact information

Tecan Ltd

Tecan Way
United Kingdom
+44(0)1305 765432

SPGPrints B.V. (headoffice)

Raamstraat 1-3
5831 AT Boxmeer
P.O. Box 67
5830 AB Boxmeer
The Netherlands
+ 31 (0) 485 599 555