After the printing is completed, many products are
die-cut to their final shape. Often a steel rule die is used, consisting
of an intricately shaped knife mounted in some base. The steel rule edge
can be ordered from the manufacturer with helpful coatings or
- electrostatic Teflon coating (remains clean)
- titanium nitride hardened (last up to 3 times longer)
- mollidium coated (smoother, lasts longer)
- cryogenically hardened (lasts longer)
Cutting edges can be shaped to produce a clean cut on
the part with any error on the scrap. Cutting boards can be used to
maintain straight rules which produce tight tolerances. The best cut, a
kiss cut, precisely touches a hard surface.
Store dies in temperature and humidity controlled
conditions to avoid warping. Do not allow dies to rest in storage on the
cutting edge. The best solution is a hanging rack in which each die can be
seen and individually accessed.
Author: Allen Gurka
Source: SGIA Journal Q1 2000, p. 9-16.