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Back to Basics

Die-cutting Technologies

With print businesses constantly on the lookout for ways to improve efficiency and make production smoother, how can die-cutting help companies in their quest for accurate output?

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Targeting Accuracy

In today’s modern, fast-paced market, print service providers (PSPs) are under pressure to deliver work to customers in a quick and efficient manner. Failing to do so could see clients turn to rival companies that can produce work faster, costing you valuable work and repeat business.

One way of achieving this desired faster turnaround is to cut out avoidable errors during the production process. This will often mean having to invest in new kit, which of course will cost money, but in the long run will likely allow you to improve your offering and help you keep hold of customers and profitable contracts.

Among the most common errors in many lines of work is cutting; older machinery can lead to poor finishes that will require a re-print, which in turn slows the whole process down. Here, we take a look at how investment in new die-cutting equipment can help improve accuracy with finishing work.

Quality and Durability 

Among the stand-out brands in this sector is Vivid Laminating Technologies, with several die-cutting solutions to its name. Among these is the VeloBlade Volta collection of digital cutting tables, which are available with cutting depths of 2mm to 10mm, opening up their use in a range of print projects.

Pictured: The VeloBlade Volta digital cutting table

“This range of digital die-cutting systems are assembled from the highest quality and durable parts to give you a system that not only creates incredible products but also stands the test of time,” the manufacturer says.“Intricate and accurate cutting, creasing, and perforating give you the ability to create endless amounts of excitingly unique products. Working seamlessly with well-known design packages such as Adobe Illustrator, VeloBlade Volta will fit comfortably within your workflow.”

Intricate and accurate cutting, creasing, and perforating give you the ability to create endless amounts of excitingly unique products

Features on the machines include the VeloBlade Volta collection in-built ZipCore Software, which Vivid says is feature-rich, giving users complete control over the system, down to specifying 0.01mm cut depth alterations. Meanwhile, a wide variety of tools make it possible for you to carry out processes such as cutting, creasing, perforating, half-cutting, and engraving, while an auto-depth function in the form of a fully automated initialisation system eases production further for the user.

O Factoid: Vivid Laminating Technologies’ VeloBlade Volta digital cutting tables are available with cutting depths of 2mm to 10mm O

“Digital cutting tables make your business more productive by automating your workflow,” Vivid says, adding: “Whether you’re working with sheets or from a roll, VeloBlade Volta will take control and complete the job automatically. Giving you and your team more time to work on other jobs. Sheetfed capacity is an impressive 150mm.”

Also within the Vivid die-cutting solutions collection is the VeloBlade Nexus, a range of wide-format digital die-cutting systems, which the manufacturer says operate seamlessly with substrates up to 25mm thick. Starting from sizes of 1,800mm x 1,600mm, these machines can handle materials such as di-bond, MDF, fabrics, and acrylic, which Vivid says allows users to create endless amounts of products with “exciting varying materials”.

“With over 100 tools and accessories to choose from, no matter the finish you are trying to attain you’ll be able to achieve it,” Vivid says, adding: “From knives to provide the perfect cut angle to engraving tools, this range will cover all your needs.

“The VeloBlade Nexus offers an auto-depth function, a fully automated initialisation system. Manual adjustments for determining proper cutting depths are no longer necessary enabling a quick and precise automatic cutting depth set-up. ZipCore software will give you the cleanest of finishes and ensure the quality of the cutting bed is protected and reserved.

“Whether you’re working with sheets or from a roll, VeloBlade Nexus will take control and complete the job automatically. Giving you and your team more time to work on other jobs; you can even work reel-to-reel.”

Eyeing New Markets

Last year, Soyang Europe struck up a distribution partnership with Vivid, covering the whole range of VeloBlade machines. Among the companies to take advantage of this arrangement is The Big Ink Tank, which recently purchased a new VeloBlade Nexus 2516 from Soyang Hardware.

Soyang Hardware supplies the entire range of VeloBlade machines in the UK. Pictured: The VeloBlade Nexus 2516

Based in Coventry, The Big Ink Tank offers a range of print services, specialising in exhibition graphics and large-format work for galleries and museums. The company took on the new machine to strengthen its offering and allow it to take on more work.

“The VeloBlade Nexus fits in with our existing workflow by allowing files for cutting, routing, and creasing to be automatically uploaded with minimal input from our team,” The Big Ink Tank’s founder, Ty Power, says, adding: “We are really benefitting from the speed of the machine; we no longer have to change the tools as they are automatic.

“The quality of the cutting is also excellent, while the fact that the vacuum keeps the cuts so clean results in a huge time saving. We are still learning about new processes that we can then launch into the market. But we are really excited by all the new product types we can offer and getting to learn what we can do with the machine.”

A Compact Footprint

Elsewhere and Intec Printing Solutions recently announced the launch of its new ColorCut FB580 digital die flatbed cutter/creaser, a B3+ format machine designed for light production work.

The dual tool head flatbed table supports cutting and creasing in one operation, offering tool pressures of up to 1.2kg and comes complete with a vacuum system and high-speed performance. The machine also makes use of Intec’s ColorCut Pro software, which the manufacturer says offers advanced features to aid design and production such as sample and prototype packaging and protective cartons, as well as synthetic point-of-sale items and kiss-cut adhesive labels/stickers.

Billed as an entry-level solution, the device can handle a wide range of materials including folding box board, SBS, SBB, and sheet card paper, rice paper, synthetics and polymers, sheet labels, and vinyl, all in weights up to 600 microns, with a max media area of 440 x 580mm.

“Intec brings this very affordable, highly specified digital flatbed cutter into our ColorCut range, targeted at organisations requiring professional die-cutting for on-demand or light production work and prototyping,” Intec marketing manager Terri Winstanley says.

“Its compact footprint and new operating system ensure that it can be placed in any environment, for anyone to use. And with the FB580 being our entry-level flatbed table, we are conscious of customers whose business grows and therefore require easy equipment upgrade paths. So, when you purchase a ColorCut cutter it allows for upgrades through the ColorCut model line, with all jobs being fully interchangeable between all the cutters.”

Additional features include a new controller and expanded graphics interface that allows the user to work directly with provided plugins for Adobe Illustrator and CorelDRAW.

In addition, all Intec cutters offer instant job processing when reading a QR code and page marks printed on a sheet. However, with the new FB580, this is no longer necessary thanks to a new reverse side cutting feature. Here, the cutter processes printed jobs, from the rear of the sheet, where there are no QR codes or page marks printed by reading the sheet edges. This, Intec says, produces accurate cutting and creasing and expands the range of media able to be finished.

Intec’s ColorCut FB580 offers pressures of up to 1.2kg for both cutting and creasing tools

“The FB580 is a highly specified, yet incredibly affordable entry-level digital flatbed” Intec adds.

Protect Your Business

Elsewhere in the market, print technology giant Heidelberg works in partnership with MK Masterworks to provide die-cutters for each segment of the packaging sector. Solutions from this collaboration range from entry-level to fully industrialised cutters.

Among the latest technologies to come from this partnership is the Mastermatrix, which offers one-pass cutting, stripping, and blanking, at a maximum output speed of 9,000sph. Other features include an optional feeder logistic system for automatic pallet changeovers, as well as Masterset for optical sheet alignment which ensures accurate print to cut register, while the camshaft drive ensures smooth transport of sheets throughout the machine.

Looking at other solutions from Heidelberg and MK Masterworks, Ian Trengrouse, product manager and business driver for post-press commercial at Heidelberg, and Chris Bann, sales account manager at Heidelberg, offer up several examples.