What is Die Cutting for Manufacturing?

Contract manufacturer using a die cutting machine to custom cut a material

Custom die cutting services facilitate the delegation of technical and costly precision cutting to custom cutting professionals, allowing manufacturers and businesses to focus on scaling their operations. A tailored die cutting service from an experienced contract manufacturer will quickly and precisely shape materials and specialty fabrics with exceptional accuracy, typically within a 0.01-inch cutting tolerance, without ever sacrificing quality or performance.

Die cutting services enable manufacturers to create virtually any kind of shape, design, or pattern, using nearly any type of material, offering great versatility across a huge range of applications. The die cutting process can be applied to create a diverse range of products including IT hardware, aerospace, and military products, electronics, and high-tech composites for law enforcement.

Breaking Down The Die Cutting Manufacturing Process

Before we dive deeper into the specific die cutting manufacturing processes, let's clearly define what die cutting is. Industrial die cutting refers to the fabrication process that utilizes advanced specialized machines and techniques to convert raw materials into finished custom shapes and designs. Die cutting methods work best for high-volume, repeated runs since there is usually a hefty upfront investment to acquire the die.

Manufacturers and businesses can partner with the right custom cutting service provider to leverage any of the main die cutting manufacturing processes to quickly and efficiently shape and cut a range of varying materials.

Flat Bed Die Cutting Process

The flat bed die cutting process, also referred to as steel rule die cutting, is a fabrication process that utilizes a flatbed die cutting press and steel dies to cut raw materials into custom shapes and designs. This specific type of die cutting process is most suitable for custom cutting projects processing thicker materials (over ⅛ inch) as it is capable of exerting high pressures. Flat bed die cutting is one of the die cutting processes that is helpful for completing small orders or short production runs efficiently as they can operate in batch or semi-batch production. Keep in mind, however, this is not the only die cutting process that can produce small orders.

Rotary Die Cutting Manufacturing Process

The rotary die cutting manufacturing process leverages a rotary die press and custom-built cylindrical dies. This manufacturing process enables rapid material cutting as an entire sheet or web of raw materials can be fed into the press at one time. Once the machine is loaded, various shapes and designs can be cut.

Common Applications and Use Cases for Advanced Die Cutting

Die cutting has quickly become the method of choice for various industrial applications since the process enables fast manufacturing without sacrificing precision. Die cutting offers manufacturers and businesses strict quality control and the capability to automate the entire process, reducing overall costs and labor needs.

Manufacturers and businesses in any industry requiring high volume manufacturing can leverage advanced die cutting to precisely cut uniform shapes, defined dimensions, and complex design elements. Industries such as aerospace, automotive, and medical are examples of the many industries that rely on extremely precise custom die cutting to provide high-quality results while maintaining regulatory compliance.

The extensive benefits that die cutting processes offer have resulted in die cutting becoming the industrial standard for the production of certain products such as washers, optical films, insulating foams, medical equipment, and vehicle components. In addition to the manufacturing of certain industry products, advanced die cutting processes can be leveraged for a variety of use cases including:

  • Composite cutting
  • Custom pattern cutting
  • Carbon fiber cutting
  • Ply cutting
  • Leather cutting
  • Foam cutting
  • Kevlar cutting
  • Rubber cutting
  • Plastic cutting
  • Fiberglass cutting
  • Urethane cutting
  • Membrane cutting

Choosing the Best Die Cutting Process for Your Custom Cutting Project

While each die cutting manufacturing process has its unique advantages and use cases, it's important to keep in mind there is hardly ever a one-size-fits-all solution. The best way to choose the die cutting manufacturing process that best aligns with your unique custom cutting project parameters is with the assistance of experienced die cutting professionals.

Partnering with a die cutting service provider that maintains an extensive 6-S lean manufacturing process ensures your finished product will be 100% defect free and within a 0.01-inch cutting tolerance.

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