Choosing the best industrial cutting techniques can be tough, but we’ve made a quick list of which ones we use daily at AFP. Our materials experts have been producing flexible products out of plastics, rubbers, foams and more for nearly 30 years, so we have a good understanding of what works best.
The three main factors you need to consider are material, the application and any additional components, such as pressure sensitive adhesives (PSAs). Here are the processes we use and how they differ.
Die cutting uses steel rule dies to stamp or blank out parts, much like a cookie cutter. This process is able to cut simple or complex shapes out of many materials including foam, rubber, plastics, cork and more.
Materials can be even be die cut both with and without adhesives.
Rotary Die Cutting
During rotary die cutting, a machined cylindrical die rotates against a mandrel. It allows for tight tolerances and repeatability on thinner gauge materials with and without pressure sensitive adhesive.
This process is capable of die cutting and kiss cutting and is particularly effective for high volume runs.
Like die cutting, kiss cutting uses steel rule dies to cut parts on the release liner of the pressure sensitive adhesive. This allows your parts to be delivered in either sheet or roll form.
Products can be kiss cut from laminates of foam, sponge, rubber, plastics, EMI/RFI shielding materials, PSAs and more.
Splitting applies to both open-cell and closed-cell foams to any thickness specifications. We use custom-built and computer-controlled equipment to maintain accuracy during the splitting processes.
Slitting can also be to any width specifications. We slit plastics, rubbers, open and closed cell foams, papers, foils and more, both with and without pressure sensitive adhesives.
Using a stream of high-pressure water through a precision nozzle, waterjet cutting produces tight tolerance parts with clean, accurate edges, even with thicker materials.
The process is computer-controlled and requires minimum fixturing or tooling, saving you time and setup expense. Waterjet cutting is used from prototyping to long production runs. There are virtually no limitations to the types of materials that waterjets can cut.
Laser cutting is used to cut thin gauge plastics, open and closed cell foam, compressed fiber and adhesives by directing a tightly focused laser beam onto the material.
Laser cutting is a good process for individual cut-through parts as well as kiss-cutting processes that leave parts on an adhesive release layer substrate.
Laser cutting allows tight tolerances, small feature size and quick turnaround. This process is great for either miniature or large parts, as well as for prototype or production quantities.
Cutting your products
We handle all of these cutting processes at AFP, custom to your specs. Need help deciding which is best for your products? Contact us today for recommendations or to ask about pricing.
Didn’t see your material on this list? Check out our materials list. Our staff works with flexible products every day. We can help you decide which material is ideal for any application and environment.