Home > contract manufacturing > The Rotary Die Cutter and Its Benefits

rotary die cuttingSo you’re considering a rotary die cutter. This machine comes with some serious advantages—but you should know more about it before taking the plunge. Take a look below! Find out what a rotary die cutting machine is all about with Conversion Technologies International.



How does die cutting work?

Before we get into custom high-quality rotary die cutting, let’s have a quick primer on generalized die cutting. Die cutting covers any process that uses a die to cut web stretches out of different materials. Typically, these materials tend towards the flexible. They often include paper, plastic, foil, cloth, rubber, and fiber.

To put it in perspective, manufacturers originally created the die cutting process to cut leather for shoemakers. That began all the way back in the nineteenth century! Now, we’ve fine-tuned the die cutting process to the point that we produce thin strips of laminate.

Additionally, we’ve made customizations and improvements that allow for new variations. Not only does this allow us to create different products, it also makes production easier on you. You can choose between so many different types of die cutting methods. That means you have more flexibility than ever before.

Which is what leads us to one of our favorite types of die cutting: rotary die cutting.

What is a rotary die cutter?

A rotary die cutter works in a specialized fashion. It utilizes a unique cylindrical die, which makes it easier to punch specific shapes out of material. During the procedure, the die moves around in a circular motion. Moving blades enable it to cut the desired shape out around the entirety of the cylinder.

One reason why we favor rotary die cutting so heavily is its efficiency. In general, most business owners prioritize efficiency when die cutting. Why? Because when you’re growing your business, the ability to scale quickly is incredibly valuable. The faster you can produce, the easier it is for you to adjust and grow.

What makes the rotary die cutting process so efficient is its ability to cut out many identical shapes while rotating. When die cutting, you want to achieve as much consistency as possible. Obviously, this makes production easier and less wasteful in general. However, it also quite literally figures into efficiency.

How fast is a rotary die cutter?

So we’ve already hit on how important it is that your rotary die cutting machine operates efficiently. Now it’s time to delve into the specific speeds these machines can reach. When we discuss rotary cutter speeds, we usually refer to linear feet of material per minute. In that context, typical rotary speeds can be as low as 30 feet per minute and as high as 300 feet per minute.

Of course, we can alter rotary cutting machine’s speeds with a few tweaks here and there. Some of the factors that impact a rotary die cutter’s speed include:

  • How much attention the project needs from the operator. The more self-sustaining the project, the faster the speed!
  • How challenging is the material? If you find the material difficult to handle, the machine (probably) will, too. That slows down the project in general.
  • How often do you have to switch out the rolls? When we need to swap out rolls frequently or take frequent breaks the machine’s speed slows in turn.
  • How complicated is the design? This makes sense—when you’re working with a complicated design, the machine naturally takes more time to function.

What are the different types of die cutting?

As we mentioned earlier, rotary die cutting isn’t the only method on the table. Depending on your desired project, a different procedure may be a better choice. While you’ll find many more detailed variations like kiss cutting, small batch embossing, and scoring, three methods reign supreme.

One, of course, is the much-discussed rotary die cutting. The others are:

Laser die cutting. This process is quite distinct from rotary die cutting and flatbed die cutting. Why? It uses a laser, of course! Using a searing light, this type of die cutting cuts into materials and carves out different shapes and designs. The catch is that not all materials respond well to lasers. Some break down and become unusable, defeating the point.

Flatbed die cutting. Here’s what makes this strategy different: the flatbed die press. Although we rely on flatbed die cutting to produce designs and shapes like the alternatives, the methodology differs. Observe this process in action and you’ll notice the press perforating the materials. This differs from the cylindrical punch process utilized by a rotary die cutter.

What’s the difference between rotary die cutting and flat die cutting?

Before you select one type of die cutting over the other, first consider your project. It’s not that one process is necessarily better than the other. However, one fits your specific needs better than the other.

A rotary die cutter tends to be more precise than a flat die cutter. You’ll notice fewer errors, and an increased ability to carve out delicate, detailed designs. Additionally, rotary die cutters tend to be more efficient than flatbed die cutters. We generally advise that business owners choose rotary die cutters for larger orders, while leaving flat die cutters to the smaller orders.

This is just the beginning. There’s so much to learn about the full capabilities of rotary die cutters, and we’re here to help you learn everything you need to know. Go here or call CTI at 419-924-5566 to uncover the full complexities of this machine.