Types of Die-cutting Manufacturing Processes

Aug. 17, 2022

The ability to cut crisp, clear shapes from large sheets of material has greatly improved efficiency in many industries, including packaging, automotive and consumer electronics. This article considers the use of digital cutting alongside other methods.


Digital cutting enables manufacturers to integrate delicate and oddly shaped parts made from a variety of materials into advanced product designs.


Cutting is a versatile process used to shape materials such as rubber, textiles, foam, paper, plastics, composites and foil by trimming, forming and shearing. For decades, die-cutting has been the standard manufacturing method, enabling manufacturers to mass produce components that previously took longer or were more expensive using other techniques.


The process involves the use of tools called dies. A die is a specialised tool with a sharp edge, the shape of which depends on the two-dimensional shape of the desired finished part. Dies are used to pierce the material and punch out formed parts to specific dimensions and tolerances, unlike industrial biscuit cutters.

 High Precision Vision System (CCD)

High Precision Vision System (CCD)

Types of die-cutting manufacturing processes

Die-cutting exists in a variety of forms and can be divided into two categories: flatbed die-cutting and rotary die-cutting. The rotary die-cutting process uses a rotary die press and a customised cylindrical die. This manufacturing process allows for fast material cutting as a continuous sheet of relatively thin material (usually up to 1 mm) can be fed into the press.


Several rotaries dies operating in tandem can cut various shapes and designs from a single piece of material in sequence, thus minimising material waste. For this reason, rotary die-cutting methods are best suited to high volume, repeat runs, as they usually require a large upfront investment to purchase the dies.


The flat die-cutting process usually uses a hydraulic press capable of applying higher pressures and is suitable for cutting thicker materials (over 3mm thick) such as plastics, composites and sheet metal. This method is more suitable for manufacturing small batches or efficiently completing small production runs, as the flatbed die-cutting machine can produce batches or semi-batches.

Digital Cutting Machine

BK Series Digital Cutting Machine


What is digital cutting?

With the advent of computer-aided manufacturing, a new type of digital cutting technology has been developed that combines most of the benefits of die-cutting with the flexibility of computer-controlled precision cutting of highly customisable shapes. Unlike die cutting, which uses a physical mould of a specific shape, digital cutting uses a cutting tool (either a static or oscillating blade or milling cutter) which follows a computer-programmed path to cut the desired shape.


A digital cutter consists of a flat table area and a set of cutting, milling and scoring tools mounted on a positioning arm that moves the cutting tool in two dimensions. The sheet is placed on the table surface and the tool follows a programmed path through the sheet to cut the pre-programmed shape.

Applications of BK Series Digital Cutting Machine

Applications of BK Series Digital Cutting Machine


Digital cutting for large-format custom cutting

The great advantage of digital cutting is that there are no moulds for specific shapes, ensuring shorter turnaround times compared to die-cutting machines, as there is no need to switch between mould shapes, thus reducing overall production times. In addition, there are no costs associated with the manufacture and use of dies, making the process more cost-effective. Digital cutting is particularly suitable for large format cutting jobs and rapid prototyping applications.


Computer-controlled digital flatbed or conveyor cutting machines can easily integrate registration mark detection on the sheet with on-the-fly control of the cut shape, which makes digital cutting machines very attractive for highly customisable automated manufacturing processes.


The growing popularity of digital cutting machines has led manufacturers to offer a wide range of digital cutting solutions on the market, from large industrial machines that can handle several square metres of the sheet to hobby-grade cutting machines for home use.

Tags: Cutting, Digital cutting, Die-cutting, Manufacturing



IECHO is a global intelligent cutting solution supplier for the non-metal industry. It provides cutting machine and digital cutting machine for a wide range of applications.

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