What is Precision Die Cutting?
Die-Cutting is the process of cutting flexible materials into varying shapes, sizes, and complexity, from simple to complex multi-layer components. Precision die cutting involves using a press to produce a high volume of identical parts or products cut in a fast, cost-effective manner while maintaining accuracy and tight machining tolerances.
Precision die-cutting is used to meet the complex demands in industries, such as medical devices, electronics, automotive, and aerospace. Examples include medical device attachment, automotive parts bonding, appliance insulation, electronics display protection, and assembly, aerospace, EMI/RFI shielding, HVAC sealing, gasketing, and more. The ability to quickly create sophisticated products while maintaining high levels of quality control makes precision die-cutting ideal for industries with strict regulatory requirements.
The die-cutting process is typically done with specialized machinery and pre-shaped metal cutting tools called dies. Depending on your requirements, the process can employ a rotary, steel rule, matched metal, or solid-milled die. Materials used range from adhesives, film, fabric, foam, silicone, sponge, rubber, plastic, and thin metals.
Depending on the material, tolerance, and volume needed will help determine the die-cutting method chosen for your project.
- Rotary die-cutting – Rotary die-cutting uses a cylindrical die to cut shapes out of material. It moves in a circular motion and has blades to cut out the desired shape. Rotary die cutting can be used on a wide range of materials at very tight tolerances. The benefit of rotary die cutting is that it is faster than steel rule or laser cutting at turning out high-volume parts with a high degree of accuracy.
- Flatbed or Steel Rule die-cutting – Flatbed die-cutting utilizes custom-designed steel rule dies affixed to a flatbed press to stamp out material. Flatbed die presses are available in mechanical, hydraulic, and electric models and have configurations that vary from application Advantages of flatbed die cutting are seen with lower quantities, larger die-cut formats, and thicker materials such as foams and rubbers.
- Punch Press – In a punch press, the material runs through the press while a hydraulic ram at the top powers the die to cut the material. This type of die-cutting is advantageous for speed and productivity.
- Match-Metal Die-Cutting – In match metal die cutting, materials pass through a cutting die constructed of a top and bottom die which are matched (male/female) to provide an extremely precise cut. Match Metal die-cutting is typically used for higher-volume applications that require extreme precision.
- Compound Die-Cutting – Compound die-cutting performs multiple steps in one pass. The compound die-cut implements more than one operation, such as in-line laminating, slitting, or printing, during the cutting cycle. Using this single-pass method; allows for creating complex parts quickly with minimal waste.
- Laser Cutting – A laser cutting tool moves automatically to cut the material into a given shape. Being die-less with no additional tooling cost, laser cutting is often used for quick prototyping of complex components with high tolerance requirements.
- Water Jet Cutting – A high-power precision water jet is used for low to medium mass production of highly compressible raw materials. Water Jet cutting is CAD-controlled (die-less), making it ideal for affordable, quick prototyping.
Rotary Die-Cutting Techniques Add Value
Rotary die cutting is the most common type of die cutting. It is a broad category that includes island placement, kiss cutting, perforations, and other techniques that enhance the products’ performance and ease of handling. The rotary press offers several tooling stations, from 1 to 32 stations, and can perform many functions in one pass, making it efficient and cost-effective.
- Multi-layer Laminations with PSA –Multiple webs come together in a single pass to create a complex multi-layer part.
- Zoned Adhesive / Island Placement -Custom patterns of adhesive are laminated to the material during the die-cutting process, leaving adhesive only in the specified area(s).
- Kiss Cutting – Kiss cutting is a process in which a laminated material is die-cut through one or more layers without cutting through the bottom layer, leaving the die-cut part affixed to the liner. Parts can be rolled around a core on the liner making them easier to handle. Kiss cutting is specifically used to protect the die-cut shape until it is ready for application.
- Perforation Die Cutting -This process does not fully trim the materials away from the original shape but instead creates multiple perforations, or small holes, that remain in place until it is ready to be detached. This method is fast, and accurate and increases the production efficiency.
- Pull-Tabs and Extended Liners -Materials with top and bottom liners are cut so that a portion of the liner is cut to extend the material, leaving a pull-tab. This pull tab contributes to ease of handling and placement.
Boyd is an ideal manufacturing partner for making innovative concepts a reality. From simple shapes to complex multi-layer die-cut parts and products, Boyd has the expertise, experience, supplier partners, equipment, and technologies to offer innovative solutions for the most demanding industries, including medical, e-mobility, enterprise, and aerospace. With design and manufacturing facilities on three continents, the Boyd team excels in rapid prototyping and regional converting services deployed for global mass production.
With 90+ years of die-cutting expertise, Boyd adds application knowledge and technical expertise to your project. Depending on the application, type of material, tolerances, and volume needed, our material experts, engineers, and technical team can suggest the most innovative, scalable, and cost-effective manufacturing process to produce your component. Having a wide range of converting equipment, Boyd offers a variety of die-cutting methodologies, from a single station rotary press to a 32 station single pass, compound die-cutting press. We offer tight tolerances up to +/- 0.127 mm, ensuring greater consistency and proper performance from each part.
Our manufacturing capabilities and industry knowledge allow our engineers to design multifunctional solutions that enhance your products’ performance, efficiency, and delivery.
To learn how our custom die-cutting capabilities can support your specific application, contact Boyd today at www.boydcorp.com.