What is rotary die cutting?
Rotary die cutting was first used in the mid 19th century and enabled anyone in the shoe industry to easily cut the leather required for creating decent shoes. The process is simple in theory. Modern technology has made many improvements in this type of cutting and it is now possible to accurately cut just one layer of laminate.
A rotary die cutting machine makes use of a cylindrical die on a rotary press. As the material is fed through the machine it collects in a place called “the station”. In this area there is a rotary tool that is capable of cutting out any shape required. The machine is now so intricate that it can be used on a wide variety of products, including stamps and stickers. Heavy duty presses are available to deal with metal materials. Each machine is capable of creating perforations or creases; it can even cut the original material into many smaller parts. The material is pushed through the die and the machine controls several gears to create a constant speed. This, in turn allows the cuts in the material to be accurate and in line with any printing on the material. It is also possible to have multiple “stations” inside one machine which allows complex shapes to be cut into the material. Rotary die cutters are often used in conjunction with printing to provide the finished article in one operation
Types of dies
There are several different type of dies normally used on a rotary die:
• Solid engraved dies: these have the highest level of tolerance and are therefore the most accurate. They are usually made out of solid steel bars and are very durable. The die can be cut to any shape –rectangular, square or circular are the most common variants.
• Adjustable dies: These are more flexible as they have removable blades. This is beneficial when cutting a variety of different materials and can extend the life of the die by replacing just the blades which are worn out.
• Magnetic plate tooling: This is the application of special metal cylinders with magnets inside them and a metal plate attached. The plate will have an engraved image, logo or word which can be cut into the material.
Who offers the cutting service?
There are many companies, such as Barilcorp.com who offer rotary die equipment to obtain the specific cut you need. These companies have invested large amounts of capital into these machines and have expert technicians on hand to both cut the material and advise on the best solutions. A search of the internet will reveal the closest one. The best companies have the latest machines, such as the Delta Crusader which has many capabilities:
• The ability to cut intricate, multi-layered parts from a variety of different materials.
• It can cut through eight different ‘webs’ (rolls of material) at the same time.
• The machine can laminate, slit and apply adhesive in one run.
• It is possible to view the material whilst it is being processed through special windows.
• It is a fully automated, high precision machine which minimises the risks of any issues with a production run.
Companies which use the best equipment should be able to offer a precision service with a fast turn around and will be able to assist with even the most complex of projects. The best companies will be ISO certified and will offer first class customer service.
These machines are manufactured to an extremely high level of accuracy and consequently can be very expensive to purchase. Commercial applications tend to be for large quantities of products which need to be very accurately cut. This may not be a viable option for a one of a kind project and this is the reason there are several good quality companies offering this service for a reasonable charge.
Materials which can be cut
Fabrics, thin metals, PVC, silicone and rubber are the most commonly used materials although anything with an adhesive backing can usually be cut.
Why choose a rotary die cutter?
There are many different types of cutting equipment on the market and the rotary die cutter is one of the more expensive options. However, it is also one of the best.
• The machine uses two metal drums, turning at the same rate to pressure the material and literally force it apart. This means that the cutting tool never touches anything over than the material to be cut; resulting in a highly accurate cut every time.
• There is no real limit to the speed at which material; can be cut. As long as it continues to be fed into the drums the machine will keep cutting. Speed is more likely to be limited by another part of the process slowing up the production line.
• After cutting the waste is sucked away into a vacuum pipe meaning that there is no delay to clear waste or possibility of a piece of waste damaging the next cut.
• As the two cylinders, which act as the cutting tool, never touch each other the life of the cutting tool is exceptionally long which means it is highly unlikely to hinder your project with cutting delays. This can be exceptionally useful if you are on a tight deadline.
The right choice
When it is essential to have a cut which is exactly the same each time this is the machine needed to ensure you have the accuracy required and this will ensure your finished product is of high quality. This may not be the cheapest option but its ability to cut complex shapes and layers accurately mean that it is worthy of consideration. The better the finished article the more you will receive positive feedback from your customers. This results in a god reputation which will ensure your project is a success.