Die cutters are tools that are used to cut specially designed shapes out of sheets or slabs of material. Die cutters can be used to cut all kinds of materials, including metals, rubber, plastic, textiles and wood, by using sharp metal dies or CO2 lasers in a cookie-cutter style cutting method.
The demand for die cut products extends across industrial, commercial and consumer products contexts. Die cut gaskets, in particular, are very important industrial components. They are essential parts of many kinds of process equipment, and they are used in automobile engines as well to create a seal between parts in an engine block. Die cut gaskets are usually made out of rubber or metal. Die cutting is also important to many commercial operations. Plastic die cut bags are among some of the most common point-of-purchase packaging materials; they are provided to customers at checkout lines at book stores, grocery stores, gift shops and in all kinds of other settings. Office-based businesses, particularly those with high or emerging corporate profiles, tend to employ embellishments like office door nameplates and corporate logos in their work spaces. These products can be created by die cutting. Consumers make extensive use of die cut products as well; in addition to their use as shopping bags, die cut products are used as Christmas ornaments, key chains, as face plates for electronics and many other examples.There are many different kinds of die cutter configurations. The simplest die cutters consist of thin, steel blades called dies, which cut special shapes. There are several types of die cutting, including rotary, steel rule, ultrasonic and laser die cutting. During rotary die cutting, angled blades on a cylindrical die and an anvil crush cut the material. With this type of die cutting, the material is usually cut in continuous roll form. This process is capable of producing die cut parts in large volumes in short amounts of time. During steel rule die cutting, the material is crush cut between two parallel plates. In ultrasonic die cutting, the vibrations of a metal horn generate heat and pressure; these vibrations are then used to die cut and seal shapes. Laser cutting involves directing a concentrated beam of light at the surface of a product, creating a cut at the beam's focal point. Laser cutting is almost always controlled by computers and three-axis laser cutting machines. This is among the most accurate, and often most expensive, die cutting processes.