A Beginner’s Guide to Understanding Die-Cutting Process

When you are in need to manufacture accurately cut pieces in bulk, then die-cutting is the best option. Die-cutting is a manufacturing process employed in many manufacturing industries that makes use of high-tech machines and tools for cutting materials into specific shapes and structures.

Initially, die-cutting was invented for shaping leather to manufacture shoes in the shoe industry, it was later adapted to be used for cutting more complex and fine materials.

Die-cutting is associated with the cutting process of a die press. If you press a die into a material, like a corrugated packaging board or folding carton board, leather, and other pliable items, it can easily be cut in a similar shape as outlined by the die.

The die-cutting technique is appropriate for materials that have low tensile strength like plastic, metal, wood, composites, card, paper, foam, felt, fabric, and even cotton in three layers. As a result, industries that manufacture neoprene, paper items, gaskets, packaging, fabric cutting, and foam cutting make extensive use of this tool and manufacturing process to mass-produce accurately shaped end products within a limited period.

With multiple kinds of die-cutting processes available today, each procedure comes with its benefits that make them suitable for particular materials meeting certain requirements and specifications. The materials being cut, part size, expected tolerances, lead times, initial and long-term costs, and more help determine which variant of the die-cutting process is appropriate to use in a specific situation.

Let’s explore in detail the different die-cutting techniques used in the manufacturing market.

Different Die-cutting Process Capabilities

Die-cutting generally utilizes dies in unique patterns and shapes. This die is custom designed and pressed into a flexible material to imprint the design details. The die-cutting process also allows various types of cutting operations that include:

  • Through Cutting Process

Also known by other names, such as thru-cutting or die-cutting metal-to-metal, through cutting technique cuts through the whole material in the custom design of the die. This process is applied for die-cutting plastic with adhesive backing, which allows the die-cutting machine to cut through the plastic surface along with the adhesive backing layer.

  • Perforating

This die-cutting method utilizes a series of punched-in holes that helps keep the die-cut pattern in place on the material. Though the stock material cannot be completely detached from the die design, it can be separated along the perforated lines.

  • Scoring

Scoring is a die-cutting process that leaves a partial cut, impression of the die, or indent at a particular stress point instead of cutting completely through the stock material. Scoring cuts through only about 50 percent of the material and facilitates square profile folds.

  • Creasing

This die-cutting technique is similar to the scoring process enabling you to create a folded line on the material easily. However, creasing has the added advantage of reshaping the material with an inner bending bulge in the middle of two stress points.

Multiple Die-cutting Processes

While the above-mentioned terms were the different types of cuts used while die-cutting, here we present the three major types of die-cutting processes.

  • Flatbed die-cutting

This die-cutting method, which is also termed steel rule die-cutting, utilizes a flatbed die-cutting press and steel rule dies that are custom-made to cut the material into custom designs and shapes. It is useful for thicker materials and in the production of larger parts.

  • Rotary die-cutting

In rotary die-cutting, cylindrical dies are attached to a rotary press to cut flexible material. Applications demanding high accuracy and high precision designs can employ rotary die-cutting for the desired result.

  • Digital die-cutting

Digital die-cutting fabricators make use of computer-guided blades, lasers, and tool bits for cutting, creasing, and scoring the materials without employing the dies. This method is useful for applications requiring low costs and fast lead times.

Typical Die-cutting Machines

The die-cutting process makes use of a wide range of die-cutting machines to produce specific designs and cuts.

The flatbed die-cutting process employs steel rule dies and a flatbed die-cutting press. The cutting press comes in hydraulic, mechanical, and electrical forms having varying system configurations depending on the particular cutting process. Steel rule dies consist of the cutting parts of the die, a custom-made steel rule, and a die base. The different steel rule dies available include combination, blanking, progressive, and progressive feed dies.

In the rotary die-cutting technique, custom-created cylindrical dies and a rotary die press are the essential components.

On the other hand, the digital die-cutting process employs computerized methods to operate and manipulate blades, knives, and other machine tools.

What are Makeready Supplies in Die-cutting Process?

If your machinery fails to run, you lose lots of money. So, the best way to keep your die-cutting machine running is to master the makeready supplies.

One of the most important elements necessary for the die-cutting process is high-quality makeready supplies. The quality of these supplies have a significant impact on the efficiency of the manufacturing process. So, the manufacturers try to obtain the best quality of makeready supplies to get a flawless product.

Using makeready supplies can help save time, save money, and reduce overall production cost.


Mentioned above is an overview of the die-cutting process that will guide you in employing the right cutting method in your manufacturing unit. Being well-informed, will help you drastically improve the efficiency of your fabrication process while producing minimum cut-off and waste.