10 Types of Die Cutting Equipment
There are many equipment manufacturers, contract manufacturers, and service shops which offer the top of the line die and die cutting equipment as well as services to meet project goals and productions rates for their clients. To differentiate and understand all of the many types of die cutting processes, here are ten of the most common types:
1) Rotary die cutting – the rotary die cutting machines use a cylindrical anvil and die assembly as one piece of tool steel. The stock material is fed at one end, a series of quick and accurate cuts are made, and then the final products are sent along to be packaged. Some of the applications include smart labels, electrical conductors and insulators, filters and seals, and medical applications.
This cutting type is usually found in high volume production centers for increasing productivity, reducing waste and costs, high precision and low tolerances, and can run in conjunction with other processes including coating and laminating.
One such company that offers rotary die cutting capabilities and a team approach to meet project goal is BarilCorp.com.
2) Flatbed die cutting – this cutting machine operates using varying degrees of hydraulic pressure to stamp the stock material into designated shapes with a steel rule die. This type includes lower tooling costs, improvements in material tolerances regarding thicknesses, and high design flexibility. These are efficient for low volume orders, projects involving many different kinds of shapes, or applications in which no material curvature is needed. Additionally, they are effective for making precision kiss-cuts, butt-cuts, and die-cuts to sheets and laminates.
3) Kiss cutting – this type is typically used for creating sticker labels and it accomplishes this by cutting the top layer of a self adhesive material without cutting through or perforating the backing material. The focus is on the final product and the quality in how the cut is made. Additional positive, mechanical stops allow precise setting whilst rewind stations will wind up the scrap web and the backing material with finished components still in place.
4) Laser die cutting – the laser cutting circle includes two types of beam delivery: galvanometer and gantry.
The galvonometer laser head remains stationary above the sheet of material while the mirrors within the head adjust to redirect the path of the laser onto the substrate. Cutting is performed on an angle because of redirecting the laser source by mirrors which results in a thinner material. In contrast to the gantry laser, the galvonometer always moves into position directly above the cut area and pointing straight down.
The gantry moves the laser head around on an XY plotter type of system or it may remain stationary and the material moves around the head instead. For high precision cuts, this type is preferred for parts like membrane switches where tight tolerance cutting around plug-ins or switches is critical. The system is most beneficial at cutting materials thicker than 800 microns or wide format printing.
5) Press die cutting – this type of machine, varying in size from a compact model to a large industrial machine, features a cutting die that is raised and lowered on forming metal that is supported by a flat table. The cutting action is controlled by any input source such as electric, hydraulic, pressurized, and manual. The die may cut and form a single piece of material or the material may be stacked to produce multiple copies at a time depending upon the application.
6) Water jet die cutting – this type of cutter is commonly connected to a high-pressure water pump source. Water is ejected from the nozzle and aimed toward the targeted material cutting through by spraying it using high pressure similarly to an advanced water erosion process typically found in nature. The water may contain additives in the form of suspended grit or other abrasives to aide in the abrasion process.
7) Computer numerical control (CNC) knife cutting – this method includes two major categories: conventional tool and modular tool. The conventional tool begins with the width of the chip that starts from zero and then increases – the tooth meets the work pieces at the bottom. There are upward forces which are created and that lift the work piece during face milling. The modular tool is the development direction and it reduces the tool change downtime, improves production times, accelerates change and installation times, improves the economy of small batch production, the degree of standardization, management and flexible processing, and tool utilization.
8) Optical registration die cutting – this is very useful where printed products demand accurate cutting to registration. To further aide in accuracy, it is possible for systems to be equipped with fiber optic or laser sensors. With this added technology, they can ‘see’ registration marks so that the material is accurately fed and cut to precisely align with the printed image.
9) Receding head cutting – these versatile cutting machines are typically used to make automotive components, cork gaskets and mats, disposables such as pads, wipes, and strips, carpets and flooring, insulation materials, medical products, and paper and plastics products. The machine has all the features of a fixed beam press but it has the advantage of the cutting head which retracts after the cut. This type helps to facilitate the use of larger sheets and roll form material and results in improved visibility, ease of use, and speed of operation.
10) Swing arm cutting – these are better known as some of the oldest machines and are commonly referred to as ‘clicker presses’ because of their ties to the historic way of cutting patterns in the shoe industry. Around the turn of the twentieth century, leather cutting operatives would produce cut parts by using a hand held knife and they would trace the pattern or template. Some of the patterns had a brass edging to protect the template and as the blade ran round the brass edging it produced a clicking sound – the operatives became known as ‘clickers.’ When the swing arm presses were developed to do this job, the machines became known as clicker presses or clicking presses.