The main method or standard means of die cutting involves the use of metal dies to give paper or substrate products specific shapes or designs that cannot be accomplished by a straight cut on a web press or a guillotine cutter.
By using knife-edge cutting blades formed into a pattern or die, a machine presses the die into the material to produce the desired shape. Almost any shape can be created and applied to a diverse array of raw materials. Labels, envelopes, folders, cartons, and documents are only a few of the many printed products that can be die cut for added functionality.
Some conventional web presses often have a rotary die unit that is utilized for die-cutting paper and label stocks. Although there are limitations on the configuration of dies and the types of substrates that can be used, rotary die-cutting serves as an effective method for longer run quantities of printed materials requiring a die-cut area.
When die-cutting off-line, flat bed dies mounted on flat bed cutting presses are most often used to cut shapes and designs into the paper stock. The speed of this process is slower than rotary die-cutting on a web press, but it does provide die-cutting capabilities to a wider variety of substrates and printed products.