It’s your fourth attempt at peeling the adhesive part off of a liner, but your fingers keep sliding around like a useless claw machine.
If you’re frustrated with how your part performs, it might be time to consider features that could improve the usability of your design and help you operate at maximum efficiency.
Having helped re-design thousands of products over the past three decades, Strouse’s engineers are experts in designing parts for manufacturability.
As you learn the most common types of features, you’ll better understand why custom features are used and how converters turn them into effective solutions.
7 Types of Custom Die Cut Features
A custom die cut feature is anything that helps improve the usability of your part, so depending on your product’s purpose, any feasible solution you design for your part could be considered a feature.
More often than not, your flexible material converter will be the one to recommend adding features for increased part functionality. For instance, if you're applying parts by hand, your converter might suggest tabs on liners for easy removal.
Your converter’s ultimate goal is to reduce the number of processes involved to simplify part construction and application, so the types of features you use will depend on product issues or gaps for potential improvements.
These features will demonstrate how flexible material converters can adapt the overall design to fit your needs:
FEATURE #1: TABS
You’ve probably had the horrible experience of trying to peel off a liner, only to tear it in half after struggling to get it off.
Challenging removal and application processes are an unnecessary burden in your day-to-day life. Tabs can boost your productivity by increasing the application speed of your parts.
Adding tabs to your custom die cut parts makes your double-sided parts significantly easier to peel from the liner and attach without touching the adhesive.
FEATURE #2: EXTENDED LINERS
Extended liners provide additional support during application for parts with complex shapes or smaller parts.
Certain parts are more challenging to handle, and extending the liner to the sides gives your users more space to grasp and peel it off. Extended liners can also have added specifications such as holes to line up the placement when using a jig.
The extended liner acts like a tab to increase product accessibility and assist with individual part placement.
FEATURE #3: CRACK AND PEEL LINERS
Crack and peel liners are bisected to grant users more control over the part application process.
The most common example of crack and peel liners is the liner on standard bandages, where one side peels off for skin attachment and allows the user to line up the strip of gauze before sticking the other side.
In medical products, crack and peel liners enable the user to expose part of the adhesive without touching the rest. Patients or providers can choose to remove the wearable medical device liner in a specific order and line up the adhesive more precisely with the skin.
FEATURE #4: PRINTED LAYERS
As previously mentioned, certain part applications must be done in a particular order, which is why some manufacturers now print instructions on the liner of the part to prevent user error.
However, printing in die cut services often serves functions in addition to demonstrating correct part usage, such as branding, marking serial numbers, and design.
There are multiple die cut printing types to suit your product’s purpose depending on the type of material or ink you plan to use, and if your product has an issue that can be fixed through marking, there’s a high chance your converter will recommend die cut printing.
FEATURE #5: FIDUCIAL MARKERS
What happens if your application process is NOT automated but you still want accurate part alignment?
Fiducial markers can guide manual application by acting as reference points for other parts and materials.
Fiducials are holes or marks that line up with the corresponding holes or marks on another surface or material. They’re often used in applications such as custom PCB labels to indicate the correct location and orientation of the adjoining part.
You can succeed in the fiducial-based application by using a jig or fixture to give yourself similar repeatability, but you still won’t reach full accuracy like with general automation.
FEATURE #6: PERFORATIONS
You’ve seen perforations on food packaging and clothing tags, but converters also use them in various ways when building custom die cut parts.
If the part itself is perforated, you can pull off specific pieces. You can pull individual parts off a roll when the liner is perforated.
You might be thinking, If I wanted individual parts, why not get them sheeted?
Rolled parts often cost less and can be built faster than sheeted parts due to less manual labor and a more streamlined production process (from multiple material rolls to a single roll of product).
Depending on your product application, it makes sense to perforate a part with multiple pieces to it, or in a situation where the part needs to be efficiently created, but it is still convenient to use.
FEATURE #7: ADDITIONAL SUPPORT MATERIALS
If the product isn’t rigid enough, your converter could use temporary/permanent stiffeners on the material or even add material to serve as a backbone.
You might want to use additional support materials in your project for multiple reasons:
First, flimsy parts are difficult to store because they bend or tear more easily than other materials. Second, if you wish to retain the softer aspects of a material even though you plan to use the product for a purpose that requires more rigidity.
Will My Custom Die Cut Product Benefit from Additional Features?
As always, the painful answer to using additional features is that it depends on the product:
Has your product had any application-related issues in the past?
Could your application rate be improved?
Ask your converter whether they believe your product would benefit from design changes based on your intended use. Even though disclosing design issues can be awkward and stressful, remember it’s necessary for a successful custom die cut design phase.
If you’re curious about additional features but unsure whether they’d suit your product, submit your design for review:
As your converter, we try to fit as much functionality into your part as possible while retaining your product solution.
Tell us about your product, and we’ll review the design to evaluate it from an application and manufacturability standpoint.