Flat Bed Die Cutting
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Flat bed die cutting (also known as “steel rule” die cutting), is best used for processing thicker materials or larger parts and is usually indicated for short run projects. Flat bed die cutting is a fast and cost-efficient option for forming out simple parts.
The process is suitable for a wide range of materials, including plastic, metal, rubber (including neoprene), composites, and laminates.
The first step is to fabricate a cutting die, or steel rule. A steel rule consists of a series of sharp metal strips bent into a desired shape. Once formed, the cutting die is placed in a mechanical press. A board with matching slots and ejector material is then fixed in place, making it easy to remove the finished component.
Creating the steel rule is economical and individual tools can be changed quickly for increased flexibility. This process also allows for clean cuts that usually require no additional processing and faster scrap material removal.
The main disadvantage to flat bed die cutting is that it is slower than rotary die cutting and more limited in the types of parts it can produce. Ultimately, the choice between the two processes will depend on the nature of your project.
Typically, flat bed die cutting is best used for projects:
- With component materials that are at least 1/8-inch thick;
- With multiple shapes (such as large die cuts not possible with other processes);
- Where cost is a concern (because flat bed die cutting has lower tooling costs).
TMI has a state-of-the-art die cutting shop that is ready to design and manufacture your custom parts. Call TMI to consult on the best way to meet your needs.