Die cutting refers to the mechanical process of manually shearing solid or semi-solid materials into shapes. The shearing actions used in die cutting also help to reduce the amount of wasted material that would otherwise be generated during the cutting process. Die cutting can take place in the form of CNC machines (Computer Numerated Control) or manually. In order to understand how die cutting works and what is die cutting, it is necessary to have an understanding of the three different types of cutters, which are available for use in the manufacture of many different products.
The first type of machine, the CNC (Computer Numerated Control) machine, is most commonly used to cut soft metals such as aluminum and stainless steel, with a variety of cutting tools that consist of laser light, air, hydraulic pressure and a spinning wheel. The CNC machine is able to quickly achieve high degrees of automation by employing a variety of motion such as that produced by a drill press or sander. The CNC is able to rapidly and accurately cut through a wide range of thin materials using a variety of cutting tools that includes a diamond abrasive wheel, wire cutter and various knives that may be utilized. In addition to being able to cut through a wide range of materials, the CNC is also able to create many complex designs that may only be achievable via a CNC machine.
The second type of machinery, the Hydraulic cutting machine, is also utilized in the manufacture of a wide range of products, including PVC, aluminum and fiberglass. Hydraulic machines offer a range of benefits over manual CNC machines. They enable the manufacturer to set machine parameters that are optimized for their particular product specifications, including die cuts, perforations, machining speeds and material consumption. This enables the manufacturer to control the parameters to optimize material usage and to improve the efficiency of the fabrication process. Hydraulic machines are also simple to use and maintain, with a comprehensive range of lubrication systems available that can also greatly reduce downtime.
The third type of machine, the Laser Die Cutting machine, utilizes controlled lasers to cut various shapes. These types of CNC machines are often used in high volume die cutting applications, where large numbers of identical products may need to be manufactured. Depending on the type of laser being utilized, different cuts may be possible, including straight lines, curves, flatter surface finishes and numerous custom shapes. This enables the manufacturer to manufacture parts and components that will ultimately pass safety standards.
In addition to producing complex and intricate die cuts, the Hydraulic presses utilize other machine features such as a die cooling system and high pressure. The die cooling system ensures that the CNC machinery is kept cool enough to prevent premature failures. The high pressure machine features internal pistons that provide the force for rotating die heads to cut out a variety of shapes including: logos, embossing, flat surfaces, corners, creases, ridges, slotting and more. It is this capability to cut complex shapes that has made the die cutting machine so popular with industries.
There are other types of CNC die cutting machines on the market, including manual die cutting machines and automated ones. Although automated versions are less expensive than their manual counterparts, manual dies are still a highly effective method of producing high quality duplicates of any product. For small to mid-size applications and intricate projects, CNC machinery may be the most economical and productive option. With the use of CNC technology, a business can produce hundreds or even thousands of identical product runs, saving both time and money.