An Overview of Die Cutting and Its Benefits

Die cutting is a dynamic process involving the creation of just about any shape from the material of your choice. We’ve been fabricating unique components made of foam for a range of industries since 1948, and we love what we do.

Die cutting offers a range of benefits and possibilities for your business. We use a highly effective form of die cutting called flatbed die cutting, which has advantages over other methods like rotary die cutting.

How Die Cutting Works

Die cutting uses steel rule dies to cut the desired shaped with a high degree of precision and accuracy. Mechanical or hydraulic pressure is then used almost like a cookie cutter to press into the material and create the desired shape. One type of die cutting called rotary die cutting (also referred to as gasket style cutting) involves unwinding material and putting it into a hydraulic press. An engraved steel cylinder die is then used to cut the desired shapes.

Both rotary and flatbed style die cutting allow for cutting either completely through the material or just to the release liner; this is referred to as a butt-cut or kiss-cut. Both methods also allow for consistent component creation to very accurate tolerances as well as the creative freedom to make just about any shape and size.

Flatbed Die Cutting

Flatbed die cutting, the process we use, can stamp out specific shapes of foam using steel rule dies and hydraulic pressure. It has a range of features and benefits that make it perfect for cutting foam materials to just about any shape and size you need:

The Process

The cutting die is a strip of thin steel almost like a tape measure and is referred to as a steel rule die. This flexible strip is bent to the precise shape that will be cut and then fixed in place within a slot. Once assembled, the die is then mounted into the press face down. The foam is positioned beneath the die assembly and pressed down. The pressure of the press forces the steel edge through the material and produces the desired shape with a high degree of accuracy. Cut depth is completely controllable so that the pieces can either stay within the sheet or be cut completely free.

The Benefits of Flatbed Die Cutting:

Flexibility and Creativity

Our high quality foam materials lend themselves to being cut using the flatbed process with flexible design possibilities. For us, it is a superior process over rotary die cutting or any other die cutting process (including laser or waterjet). A range of materials including any type of foam can be effectively cut using the flatbed method.

Lower Cost

Flatbed cutting is also affordable. Even if the needed component volumes are relatively low, flatbed cutting can keep expenses low because the dies in this process are less expensive than those used in rotary die cutting.

No Curving or Bowing of Thick Materials

Flatbed processes use a direct vertical cut, allowing for a tighter tolerance thicker materials like higher volumes of foam. By contrast, rotary tooling can cause curving of the material edge in thicker cuts.

Complex Shapes are Possible

In addition to design flexibility and affordability, a range of complex shapes are possible with flatbed die cutting. Complicated two-dimensional shapes are much easier to create with flatbed cutting than other methods like rotary die cutting.

Accurate and Repeatable

The steel rule die helps to ensure that the identical shape can be cut over and over again as needed.

Fast and Efficient

Nesting allows for the combining of multiple dies on one base to cut numerous parts simultaneously. Parts generation using a press is extremely fast and efficient. Ready to learn more? Give us a call and we’ll discuss all the ways custom foam die cutting can work for your business.