When you need a series of pieces cut from flexible materials, like gaskets, pads, or spacers, you have several processing options. Two of the more common techniques are flatbed die cutting and rotary die cutting, which are both very similar and very different.
Both flatbed and rotary cutters can produce great end products, but which one is best for your design? The following explains what die cutting is, and the differences between flatbed and rotary die cutting.
The Basics of Die Cutting
Die cutting is a fabrication process that cuts shapes from flexible materials, like foam, rubber, and plastic. With die cutting, your pieces can be uniquely and accurately cut, so each design works for your end-use, and each part in a series is identical to the next.
Products (such as gaskets, dampeners, bumpers) can also be cut quickly to get your pieces in use as soon as possible.
Flatbed Die Cutting
Flatbed die cutting is used for four main reasons:
If your product is thick
If your material only comes in a sheet
If your order is relatively small
If you’re looking for a cost-effective option
When we shape objects with a flatbed die cutter, the machine stamps out each product using a hydraulic press and steel rule dies. The raw material feeds along the base while the press is pushed down vertically to make the cut.
The vertical motion allows for thicker material to be shaped and results in very little curvature of the material. Flatbed die cutting is also used for combinations of materials.
Rotary die cutting
We use a rotary die cutter specifically for when:
Your product is thin
Your order quantity is large
Your order needs to be kiss cut
Your design as tight tolerances
To have products shaped by a rotary die cutter, the raw material is fed between two rolling cylinders at a very high speed. The shape is cut out on the rolling die with high tolerance and high accuracy, and even produces less waste than flatbed die cutting.
Rotary die cutting can also cut each piece all the way through or kiss cut, where a paper lining is left to keep every piece together until needed.
Read more: Flatbed Die Cutting vs. Rotary Die Cutting
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