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What is Rotary Die Cutting? Problems it Can Solve and Common Applications

Posted by Sue Chambers Jan 6, 2020 2:03:48 PM

If you're someone who likes to get your hands dirty and create new things, you're far from alone. In fact, the US craft industry is worth over $44 billion. If you're someone who's contributed to this booming economy, then it's likely that you've used die cutting services before in your arts and crafts- or at least have heard of them before.

However, what you may not know is that die cutting isn't solely for creative pursuits. In fact, it's a tool that has a wide variety of applications across essential industries like health care, aerospace, and even in the military. One of the most efficient and economical means of die cutting in these professions is rotary die cutting, and using these services can make the lives of doctors, engineers, and rocket scientists alike a whole lot easier.

But how, you may be asking, is this possible? What is rotary die cutting, anyway?

Today, we're here to answer that question for you. Read on to learn the 101 on rotary die cutting, including what it is, how it works, and how it can help you in pretty much any situation imaginable.

What Is Rotary Die Cutting?

The first question you're likely asking when deciding whether or not rotary die cutting is right for your project is what exactly it is. Many people haven't heard about the benefits that die cutting services provide, and that's okay! In this section, we're going to inform you about what exactly rotary die cutting is and how it can apply to your individual work.

The Basics on Die Cutting

A die, generally speaking, is a tool used to cut material into a given shape. It usually is made of metal and can cut through surfaces like paper, fabric, adhesive, and leather to give it the desired shape. This creates many cuts of cloth or plastic that are identical in size and shape to one another.

For example, if a shoemaker were trying to create a set of leather shoes that matched with one another exactly, he or she would use a die cut to cut the shape of the shoe out of a larger leather sheet. In fact, this is the way that die cutting started up as a common process back in the 1800s!

This process takes place when using a die cutting machine. These machines can be operated by hand, meaning that the operator pushes a lever and the machine cuts through the material. In the present day, though, it's more common that the machine will be automatic.

The 'Rotary' in Rotary Die Cutting

As you may have guessed, rotary motion refers to a circular motion around a singular turning point.

Rotary die cutting is a special kind of die cutting that uses a cylindrical die to cut shapes out of material. It moves around and around in a circular motion and has blades to cut out the desired shape around the entirety of the cylinder. This is incredibly efficient because it cuts out many identical shapes as it rotates. All the operator must do is put a large sheet of material underneath the rotary and flick a switch!

This is ideal for use in industries like engineering, in which it's essential that sheets of metal and plastic be precisely the same size in order for a piece of equipment to work. It also is essential to making adhesive sheets that fit on objects of the same size, printing out bandages, or even making equipment for the military in the precise fashion that they need it made in!

Rotary vs Flatbed vs Laser Die Cutting

If you've heard of flatbed or laser die cutting before, it's crucial to understand the ways in which rotary die cutting differs from them.

Rotary die cutting is different from flatbed and laser die cutting. While rotary die cutting uses a cylinder to cut shapes out of a material, flatbed die cutting uses a hydraulic flatbed press to cut the desired shape out of adhesive or whatever other material you want to cut. This is good for low-volume projects, but it is inefficient when it comes to high-volume ones. Rotary die cutting machines can get many more cuts at one time than flatbed ones can.

Laser die cutting is something entirely different than both flatbed and rotary die cutting. In it, a laser is used rather than steel to create the desired shape. The light from the laser sears into the materials and creates a variety of shapes. While this is efficient for some materials, others are going to react poorly to the light. Some adhesives may be destroyed in the process.

How Does Rotary Die Cutting Work?

With Strouse, rotary die cutting is an incredibly efficient process. A trained professional will listen to your needs in regards to your project and specially design and adapt a press for you. Since the machines we use can be adapted to do specific things based on the job you need to be done, you'll have the adhesive you need converted efficiently and with 100% accuracy.

Once the machines are adapted, your material will be placed beneath the rotary. The die cutting machine will then be turned on and automatically create shapes in the material specifically based on what you've asked for!

What Materials Can It Cut?

While we specialize in adhesive film, rotary die cutting is capable of cutting a wide variety of materials. We provide services in cutting foam tape, industrial tape, medical adhesive, masking tape, thermal interface, surface protection, and more. This mean that you can create pretty much anything you may have use for using a rotary die.

Since there is such a wide variety in what materials can be cut with a rotary die, we can cut pretty much anything you need on our presses. All you need to do is communicate your needs to us and we'll adjust our methods to meet your demands. 

What Applications Does It Have?

Now that you understand what rotary die cutting is and why it's a great way to create anything you may need, it's time to discuss the many specific applications of rotary die cutting. Think about what you need to cut your material for- we've got you covered! Read on to learn what specific industries and situations rotary die cutting can be used to make your life easier and your job more efficient.

Creative Pursuits

As many people know, die cutting- particularly that of adhesive and papers- is essential in many creative pursuits.

If you make a living working in graphic design, interior decorating, or even something simple like creating yearbooks or scrapbooks in bulk, you likely are going to need a die cut that adheres to your project. Without it, getting logos, wallpaper, or book cover surface protectors to stick is a difficult task... especially when you want multiple ones in identical sizes.

A rotary die cut can leave imprints in wallpaper (or any other kind of paper) in a given shape to create embossing. It can also take shapes out of the adhesive paper and make it ideal for layering and getting creative!

Medical Tools and Wound Care

Rotary die cutting for adhesive can solve a wide variety of problems in the medical field. Medical adhesive tape is one of the most used tools in the medical industry because it's so versatile and used to solve so many different (and incredibly common) issues. These adhesive tapes are breathable, therefore making them good for the skin of the person using them, and they also are pressure-sensitive. This means that no additional solvent or heat solution will be necessary.

Rotary die cutting machines can cut a multitude of materials for adhesive medical tape, including waterproof adhesive and durable cloth tape. Using a die cut is beneficial to these tapes because it ensures that each and every piece is the correct size and shape to adhere directly to a patient's skin, thus healing the wound with as minimal discomfort as possible.

A common problem in the medical field is when adhesive tape adheres too closely to the skin, not allowing it to breathe. Using a rotary die cut to get the materials perfect will ultimately solve this issue since the medical tape coming off the machine is in whatever breathable materials you would like.

Surface Protection

In pretty much every industry, surface protection is crucial.

After all, no one wants a dinged-up car because professionals in the automotive industry didn't think ahead far enough to use an adhesive that guards it against scratching and denting. In the medical and scientific fields, surface protectors are instrumental in that they need to be applied to tables over which experiments are performed. Engineers need to protect the machines that they create, as well as those that they use to create. (Speaking of science, click here to learn some cool facts about protective coating in scientific fields!)

So how can these problems be solved? If you guessed 'rotary die cutting,' you're absolutely correct!

We'll use rotary cutting to create surface protection barriers in any shapes and sizes you need. We can use a die cut to cut these materials into the perfect shape for your car or industrial machine. Whatever you need a surface protector for, die cutting with us is an incredibly simple and efficient way to solve your problem!

Thermal Masking

In many industries, cold temperatures create a variety of problems. Machines in factories or construction zones stop running when temperatures drop. Not only that, but places that don't have appropriate insulation can create uncomfortable (or even unsafe) work environments for laborers. Thermal masking tape provides insulation and can be stuck to pretty much any surface if the right adhesive is used.

Our rotary die cutters are great for cutting this thermal masking tape. This tape can adhere to any surface you like- machinery, car windshields (just pick something clear!) and even walls in buildings where labor takes place. This will ensure that both machines and people continue to function appropriately even in frigid temperatures.

 

Military Solutions

Rotary die cutting can also help the brave men and women fighting for our country. As of the end of 2019, America has 471,990 troops fighting in the military. This career comes with a variety of risks, of course, since these soldiers are putting their lives on the line for the good of the American people. However, there are ways we can make service easier for those in the military.

Adhesive thermal tape for military equipment like gloves, helmets, and boots can keep soldiers warm. It can also coat weaponry such as tanks and assault rifles, ensuring that their surfaces will not be scratched in the crossfire. These adhesives can also make these items more resistant to harsh weather conditions and give the troops a greater chance of victory!

 

 

Why Is Strouse Best for These Applications?

While all of these applications are possible because of rotary die cutting, it's crucial that you go to the right source for your adhesive needs. Not all service providers have access to all the materials that we do for die cutting. Because Strouse is a 3M Preferred Converter of flexible materials and pressure-sensitive adhesive, we have access to materials that other companies do not. 

If you don't come to a place with the right materials, you aren't going to get the adhesive you need for the specific purposes you have in mind. At Strouse, you're guaranteed access to the materials that will serve you best when performing your project. Furthermore, Strouse is one of the few adhesive converters that will customize the rotary die cutting machine to the specific shapes that you need.

The combination of these two services- plus the fact that we offer free samples of our services- make Strouse the logical choice!

Get Started

While finding a solution that applies to any singular project can be a challenge, rotary die cutting is a solution to any given number of projects. For this reason, it is crucial that you (and your business) look into this service. 

Now that you know all there is to know about rotary die cutting, it's time to get started with us. Click here to contact our knowledgeable professionals to discuss how rotary die cutting can help you with your current project, no matter what it may be. We are the #1 adhesive tape converter and provide comprehensive solutions to any problems you may encounter. In fact, since we've been named a 3M Preferred Converter, you can definitively know that you're making the right choice!

Good luck! We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sue Chambers

Written by Sue Chambers

President and CEO of Strouse