A digital die cutter is a specialized piece of equipment used for cutting through many different materials. Today’s die cutters have become very versatile and incredibly precise, allowing users to cut through tons of materials. Digital die cutting is a simple and well-known process.
Digital die cutting is, in a nutshell, when a cutting tool takes a digital file and uses the image in that file to cut out a physical copy of the inserted material. Die cutters can also be manual machines, although these devices have mostly been replaced with digital cutters due to the ease and greater functionality offered. In these manual devices, the “die” is a type of sharp steel blade that pushes into the material, cutting out the shape. It basically operates as a cookie cutter. Today, commercial die cutters make use of lasers, blades and other tools to create a wide number of designs, making them more flexible than traditional die cutters, especially for larger prints, smaller runs and the more rigid materials currently printable by grand format print devices.
How Are Digital Die Cutters Used?
Digital die cutters are connected to a computer and controlled by a piece of software. Smaller cutters use blades to cut out shapes, while commercial digital die cutters use lasers, blades, bits or other types of consumables to create shapes in the material. These large-scale devices can be used to cut everything from acrylic to large pieces of signage. Some are even capable of cutting materials such as fabric, allowing companies to quickly and precisely create parts for clothing, soft signage and various other projects.
Some digital die cutters are used to create single runs of pieces for prototyping or for special projects, but in many cases, these cutters are used to quickly manufacture hundreds or thousands of identical parts that can then be assembled into finished products for sale.
What Challenges Do Digital Die Cutter Operators Face?
The biggest challenge to die cutting comes from incorrect cuts. Sometimes, especially when using a traditional steel die cutter, the result may not be exact. Often, small pieces weren’t cut out all the way, leaving a bit of the material hanging onto the larger piece when it should have been completely cut off. Sometimes, mis-registration of print, lack of proper registration, or changes in shape, as usually happens with vinyl due to the environment, also cause errors that can increase the rejection rate from your customer.
Fortunately, digital cutters, like the ones offered at Gerber-MCT, have finishing capabilities to ensure you have the perfect edge. Benefits also include less material waste and the ability to die cut even for a quantity of one.
When to Choose a Digital Die Cutter
Die cutters can be used for a wide range of things. While some people do use smaller craft cutters for personal items, larger format die cutters have truly transformed large-scale manufacturing and commercial businesses. These large-scale machines can cut a wide range of materials, decreasing run time and improving efficiency, while allowing for significantly more creativity.
One of the main reasons digital printers turn to digital die cutters is because these machines can precisely cut incredibly small patterns or make very sharp turns repeatedly. Some are even capable of making cuts that human operators wouldn’t be able to do fast or accurately. This allows digital printers and their customers to create unique items in large runs that are identical. There’s no human error or other issues that would cause problems when the final product is assembled.
All in all, digital die cutters are a vast improvement on the traditional die cut machine. Any company can make use of them to cut out unique items they create using design software. The improved efficiency and speed gained by using digital die cutters can then result in savings across the board.