Die Cutting is a process used to cut custom shapes and designs from various materials, including paper, cardboard, fabric, and metal. It involves using a die, a specialized tool with sharp blades, to cut the material into a specific shape.
Die Cutting is commonly used in manufacturing packaging, labels, and other custom products.
What is a Die in the Packaging Industry?
In the packaging industry, a die refers to a specialized tool made of metal that can be used to cut, shape, and form materials such as paper, cardboard, and more into specific shapes and sizes. The die is typically customized to the specific design or shape of the packaging being produced.
Dies can be used in various types of packaging production processes, including die cutting, embossing, and foil stamping. They are an essential tool in creating custom packaging that stands out on store shelves and helps to protect and preserve products during transport and storage.
History of Die-Cutting ~ Why it was named die-cutting.
It is believed that the origin of die-cutting comes from the 1300s, when they used it to cast stamps or metal coins. But the die-cutting term wasn’t that much familiar to the world until the 1800s. In the 1800s, die-cutting became more popular when people used it to create more precise and accurate shoe sizes.
As people found it harder back then to cut the sole of leather shoes by hand, this is when they invented the die-cutting machine. With the invention of die-cutting machines, shoe sizes became standardized (as we know it today).
Manual and Digital Die Cutting Machines
The die-cutting machine is a machine that uses dies to cut shapes from paper, cardstock, and leather as well as other materials. There are two main types of die-cutting machines: manual and digital.
Manual Die-Cutting Machine
Using a manual die-cutting machine requires physical effort. The user turns a crank or lever to pass the material and die through the machine.
Manual machines are generally less expensive and simpler to use, but they may not be suitable for larger or more intricate projects.
Digital Die-Cutting Machine
Digital die-cutting machines use computer software to design and cut shapes. The user creates a design on a computer, which is then sent to the machine for cutting.
Digital machines are generally more expensive and require a bit of computer know-how, but they offer greater precision and versatility in cutting shapes and designs.
How Does Die-line Template Affect Die-cutting?
Prior to making a die-cut on any packaging material, you will need an outline of what needs to be cut, which is known as a dieline template in the packaging industry.
It can be made on adobe illustrator, which shows the format of your die-cut virtually, giving you a better understanding of how your die-cut plate would look.
Before die-cut printing can begin, dielines outline the shape and size of the packaging box.
The packaging world is full of possibilities; your custom packaging might have a unique shape, size, or any other requirement requiring a custom die-line template.
If you still need to learn more about die-line or how to make a die-line template, you can read it from our blog section. Remember, prior to embossing, debossing, or UV coating your packaging, you will need a dieline.
Process of Die-Cutting
Die-cutting is a process used in manufacturing to cut, shape, and form materials into specific shapes and sizes. Die-cutting consists of the following steps:
Design and creation of die: Die-cutting equipment is used to cut and shape materials. Depending on the shape and size of the material to be cut, the die is designed accordingly.
Selection of material: The material to be cut is selected based on its properties, such as thickness, rigidity, and flexibility. Common materials used in die-cutting include paper, cardboard, and corrugated cardboard.
Preparation of material: The material is prepared by trimming it to the desired size and shape. This ensures that the material fits properly within the die.
Mounting the die: The die is mounted onto a die-cutting machine. Once the die is in place, the material is placed on top.
Cutting the material: The die-cutting machine is activated, and the die cuts the material into the desired shape and size. The cutting process may be repeated multiple times to achieve the desired result.
Removing excess material: Any excess material not part of the final product is removed from the cut material.
Quality control: All cut materials are inspected for compliance with all specifications. Any defects or inconsistencies are identified and corrected.
Packaging: The cut material is packaged and prepared for shipment or further processing.
Overall, die-cutting is a precise and efficient process widely used in various industries to manufacture products such as packaging, labels, and other customized products.
Can I Make My Own Metal Dies?
Yes, you can. However, we recommend leaving the creation of metal dies to the experts as you might make a mistake, so we recommend hiring packaging experts.
What Are Cutting Pads or Plates?
Cutting pads or plates are specialized tools used in die-cutting that provide a surface for the die to cut through the material. They are typically made of a hard, durable material, such as metal, and come in various sizes and thicknesses. Cutting pads or plates are critical in achieving precise and clean cuts in die-cutting projects.
In my role as a senior editor at TBP, I focus on packaging & printing technique. My research endeavors are aimed at gaining more knowledge about the packaging industry.