The Die Cutting Process
Offering great versatility across a huge range of applications, die cutting allows manufacturers to create virtually any kind of shape, design, or pattern, using nearly any type of low-strength flat material. While traditional die cutting serves as a reliable solution for many jobs, high-speed die cutting offers the added advantage of speed and possible cost reductions.
The die cutting process is used to create a huge range of products, including many items we work with every day, from IT hardware, household products, and office supplies to electrical gadgets, packaging, and complex engineering equipment.
Die cutting may be used in any industry requiring the manufacture of a high volume of products with uniform shapes, precisely defined dimensions, or complex design elements. Die-cut items can be made of many different materials, including plastic, rubber, foam, fabric, wood, sponge, film, and adhesives.
Allowing for fast manufacturing and high precision, die cutting is the method of choice for various industrial applications. High-speed die cutting, in particular, offers strict quality control, superior accuracy, and optimal manufacturing speed; this technique is ideal for annual volumes exceeding several thousand parts per run. Plus, it can be run automatically depending on the specific material used, reducing overall costs and labor needs.
Because of this, high-speed cutting has become the industrial standard for the production of gaskets, washers, labels, optical films, insulating foams, medical components, vehicle parts, packaging, and many other items.
How It Works
Successful die cutting operations depend on proper coordination of three essential components: the cutting unit, the material it will cut, and the cutting tool.
As you may have guessed, die cutting is based on the use of cutting tools, usually made specifically for a particular process that are capable of cutting patterns across any sufficiently thin piece of material. The die itself with the machine is used for cutting and shaping materials. It is sometimes helpful to think of traditional steel rule die cutting as using a machine with an industrial cookie cutter as the die.
Different cutting/converting operations can be used to meet specific application needs. Some are more often specific to metal cutting and forming; broaching, forming, swaging, blanking, extrusion, bending, curling, drawing, cutoff, roll forming, coining, bulging, laser cutting, and other methods all offer unique features and benefits.
Water Jet cutting is an excellent process for accurately cutting quantities of thicker and thinner materials, using highly pressurized water. CNC programmed oscillating cutter machines can be used to convert many materials.
Rotary die cutting, in particular, involves the use of a cylindrical die on a rotary press. Once a sheet or web of material is fed into the press, various shapes can be cut, and perforations or creases can be made very rapidly. These machines make use of multiple cutting sections on the same tool to die cut certain shapes, allowing for great flexibility.
ETI specializes in traditional die cutting and high speed die cutting using steel rule dies, with some slitting and light stamping processes not focusing on converting metals
Just as a pair of scissors allows for the creation of many different kinds of shapes and patterns, die cutting allows for unmatched flexibility in the industrial sphere. Cost-effective and ideal for high-volume orders, die cutting ensures optimal part precision and performance. Whether working with plastic, rubber, foam, sponge, film, or adhesives, materials can be easily shaped into gaskets, labels, films, medical and automotive components, and various types of packaging — among many other industrial and commercial items.
To learn more about the benefits of die cutting and discuss options for your unique application, reach out to the team at Elastomer Technologies, Inc. (ETI) today. Offering industry-leading liquid silicone injection molding, traditional and high speeddie cutting, and rubber molding services, we’ll work with you to find an ideal solution for your specific needs.