Die Cutting Meaning, History, and Process

Die Cutting

If you are in the packaging industry, you might often have to answer the question of Die Cutting Meaning. It is the most frequently used term in the box-making industry. Its meaning is self-evident as trimming the packaging material according to the dieline template.

It is done using machines on which dies have attached that cut through the paper. It converts the paper into the desired shape according to the given dieline. 

What is the Meaning of Die Cutting?

Die cutting means trimming or cutting the paper according to the given die. It is the second step after the creation of dielines where the design provided by the dielines is used to cut the paper.

Dies are molds or templates often made from metal and have sharp edges that cut through the paper to modify them into desired shapes.

The die allows you to cut similar shapes multiple times. Unlike cutters or scissors, you do not have to repeat the process as the die is a preformed shape that easily trims the paper.

The use of die-cutting is not limited to packaging only. It is used for making labels, stickers, or even shoes. In short, this process can be used for industrial or even domestic cutting. 

Moreover, the material to be cut can also vary according to the industry. It can be paper, cardboard, leather, and so on.

(If you don’t know what is dieline, you can check out our Guide on What Dieline is!)

History of Diecutting

clicking machine
A clicking machine from 1922, used to die-cut leather

Diecutting was first used in the shoe industry in the mid-nineteenth century. Its earliest form was a mallet handle that helped the cobblers cut shoes into accurate sizes. Before this, they had to cut every piece by hand, which took time. However, with the invention of die cutting, they could make shoes of the correct sizes in less time.

Later in the twentieth century, many enhancements were made to this technology. It started to be used for many domestic and industrial purposes.

With the technological advancements of the twenty-first century, this industry was also revolutionized. The die-cutting machines of this century are fast, more efficient, and cost-effective.

What is Manual Die cutting Machines?

Manual Die Cust Machine

The machine consists of two rollers that sandwich a die. The paper or the packaging material is inserted into this roller such that the sharp edge of the die is in contact with the paper. As the paper passes through the rollers, they apply pressure on it to cut it into the required shape. 

The machines may be connected to a power source to help apply pressure on the paper. Manual die-cutting machines help in the easy cutting of paper. They require a die that has to be made according to the required shape to be cut into the paper. 

What are Digital Die Cutting Machines?

Digital Die cutting Machines

Unlike their names, these are not die-cutting machines because they do not use a die for their work. The machines have a sharp blade that runs on the paper and trims it into the required shape and size. 

They are connected to computers in which the required design is fed. When instructions in the form of dieline are given to the computers, the blade runs on the paper. These machines work more like printers and can be connected to the computer using Bluetooth or wires. 

Difference Between Manual and Digital Die Cutting Machines

Although both digital and manual die-cutting machines have the same purpose of cutting the paper into the desired shape. However, the apparatus and tools of both machines are different. The following are the differences between both these apparatuses:

Dies – Manual Die cutting machines use specially-made metal dies for cutting. On the other hand, digital machines do not have dies. Instead, they have blades that run on paper according to the design.

Electricity – manual machines may or may not need electricity. However, digital machines cannot operate without electricity.

Ease of use – manual machines must make special dies every time except for the conditions you already have a desired die. Digital machines do not need dies because blades cut the shapes according to the design.

Cost efficiency – since digital dies do not need a new template or die every time, they are cost-efficient compared to manual dies that need a new die every time.

Precision – since digital machines use advanced laser techniques, they are more precise than manual machines.

Complex designs – digital machines allow you to make complex designs and add minute details that may not be possible with manual machines.

What’s the Role of Dieline in the Custom Die Cut Process

Dielines are the roadmaps or guides that direct the die-cutting process. They are the blueprint of the design to be made on paper. If die cutting is the body, then dieline is the soul. It is the first 2D template that allows you to convert your idea into a practical one. 

In the packaging world, no matter what boxes you are making, be they Mailer Boxes, sleeve boxes, or any other type of box, dieline is the first step of your packaging. It will provide accurate dimensions and shapes and the placement of the design, artwork, logo, and other details.

Die cutting is not possible without dielines. Dies are made according to the sample designed in the dieline that is then used for cutting. 

The use of die cuts in printing is also important as it provides a complete idea about the shape of the packaging material. After the material is cut, one gets to know how the printing looks on the paper. You may make changes if you do not like the print design.

Liberty to Modify:

In case you do not like the design or shape of the dieline, or you think that the artwork you had imagined does not look good with this particular shape. You can change it before finalizing the dieline.

The dieline will give you a rough idea of what the particular combinations of design, color, and material would look like. Check the dieline before making a die out of it because you can modify the design and the dieline according to your choice before the production process starts. 

It will also save you the cost of making the wrong packaging. Since dielines are made on computers, you can modify them without cost.  

Why is die-cutting Important in Packaging?

Die cutting is a significant process in packaging that allows you to make millions of copies of the same box without errors. Once you make a die, you can use it multiple times. It can be used to make the best boxes. Moreover, it saves you from mistakes as you can check the die and modify it to suit your requirements. 

Since it’s a technical process, you may need experts’ help to apply it to your boxes. You can contact us and get a custom quote for your business. We will assist you in every step, from dieline creation to die cutting. You do not need to worry about any technical nitty gritty, as our team is here to your help.

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