Die cut gaskets are ring-shaped sealants that create a tight seal between two mating parts to prevent liquids or air from leaking out. Any device or machine that confines gas or liquid has die cut gaskets, which compensate for non-conformity between two mating surfaces. Since all gaskets have thinner, flat profiles, most are manufactured through the die cutting process, which uses sharp metal dies or CO2 lasers in a cookie-cutter style cutting method.
Die cut gaskets are made from many different materials, including rubber, silicone, neoprene, viton, nitrile, foam, fiber, felt, plastic, cork and sponge. Because they are made out of so many different materials, gaskets have varying thicknesses, colors, densities, sizes, temperature resistances and life spans. Some are coated, while others may have an adhesive backing. Many different types of gaskets are produced this way, including EMI shielding gaskets, which must be able to withstand electromagnetic and radio frequencies, as well as bezel, enclosure, case and LCD gaskets for the electronics, telecommunications, aerospace, automotive and healthcare industries.Different gaskets are manufactured by a few die cutting processes. The operating parameters vary by surface irregularities on the two mating machine surfaces, and they must meet specific pressure, temperature, media, electrical and environmental demands in order to work properly. They are cut by either steel rule dies or CO2 lasers, depending on their thicknesses. Steel rule die cutting is the most common die cutting process, and it forms the gasket shape by cutting the material with thin, sharp blade dies that are embedded in rubber and mounted on a solid wood block. For more complex designs, laser die cutting, which is CNC or CAD/CAM operated and fully automated, is able to manufacture parts with a high degree of accuracy and repeatability. There are two different methods of cutting the gasket's depth: crush or kiss cutting. Most gaskets are produced by crush cutting, which forms a full, clean cut through all the material. Kiss cutting, however, is specifically for gaskets that are adhesive-backed. During this process, the die or laser cuts through only the top layer of the material, leaving the paper backing whole. Because gaskets are always ring-shaped and hollow in the middle, the die cutting process always produces scrap materials, which are removed either manually or automatically after the die cutting has taken place.