Die cutting machines are pieces of industrial or commercial manufacturing equipment used to cut materials into specific shapes. They can cut everything from paper and fabric to rubber, foil, foam, and even sheet metal.
Die cutters were originally designed in the mid-19th century to cut leather for shoes, but the industry has come a long way since then. Today, these machines are used in several industries ranging from packaging to automobile manufacturing and beyond.
Primary Applications for Die Cutting Machines
Industrial die cutters are used primarily in manufacturing, but they have a wide range of applications within this field. Recently, a team from MIT even began using die cutting to create disposable face shields. Here are a few examples of how industrial manufacturers use die cutting machines to create useful products:
Cardboard and Carton Packaging
Die-cut cardboard and fiberboard are often used to create packaging supplies. These include not just product packaging, but also envelope mailers, bookends, and cargo liner components.
Most die cutters are capable of processing foam. Die-cut foam can be used to create rigid foam insulation, automotive parts, gaskets, and more.
Some die cutters are capable of processing thin sheets of plastic. This plastic can be used to create an array of products. Most plastics manufacturers that use die cutting machines fabricate stiffeners and hold-downs.
Die-cut rubber is used extensively in the automotive industry. Manufacturers use die cutting to create rubber gaskets, gasoline engine seals, and more.
Fabrics and Fibers
Almost all fabrics can be die cut. These include textiles used for furniture-making, interior decor, and clothing design.
Manual vs. Digital Die Cutting Machines
Industrial business owners who want to purchase die cutting machines have a few important decisions to make. The choice between manual and digital die cutters is one of the easiest of them, so it’s a good place to start.
Manual Die Cutting Machines
Manual die cutters work like cookie cutters, but on a larger scale. Business owners can purchase prefabricated dies in different shapes and sizes or order custom dies to meet their unique needs. Each time they want to cut a new shape, machine operators switch out the dies. Manufacturers that use manual die cutting machines must purchase new dies from a specialized die fabricator each time they want to cut a new shape.
Manual die cutters are becoming less common every year, as advances in digital technologies have begun to make them obsolete. Some manufacturers still use manual die cutters, though, especially in the apparel, packaging, and printing industries, where they are used to cut fabric and emboss paper or cardstock. Small manual die cutters can only cut or emboss one piece of material at once, while larger machines can handle multiple pieces of fabric.