(978)686-6332 sales@nedc.com

Custom Die Cutting

Gaskets, Thermal Pads

Custom Die Cutting is NEDCs core competency. We offer custom die cutting through steel-rule dies. This enables us to offer essentially unlimited customization. This is because we can provide a steel-rule die with specific shapes, cut-outs, and diameters along with the ability to cut a specific material. Since these shapes, sizes, and materials are essentially endless our ability to produce custom gaskets, thermal pads, absorbers, and epoxy films are also endless.

What is Die Cutting?

custom die cutting parts

Array of Die Cut Parts

The modern way to “die cut” is to take advantage of all the uses of the steel rule die. The steel rule die is essentially a piece of durable wood such as maple that has “rule” in it; one side of the rule is sharpened. This steel rule is bent into the shape of the part and placed into the wood to create a tool that is very durable. The steel rule offers an economical solution to manufacture a quality product for large-scale runs. These steel rule dies “die-cut” hundreds of different shapes, and sizes of parts that range from extremely complex to very simple. One of the biggest benefits of dies is their durability, and their low cost. Some dies can be good for a million hits or more depending on the material.

The equipment is all that is needed to manufacture a quality part. A die-cutting machine comes down with enormous pressure, and precision to “burst” the die through the material.  Modern die-cutting machines offer computer algorithms and lightning fast die cutting ability. Our modern die-cutting machines utilize coordination of computers, hydraulics, and nesting software to offer our customers the best price. Part of custom die cutting is the ability to match our customers needs to what our machines and tooling can do.

Capabilities of Die Cutting:

One of the advantages of die-cutting is the reproducibility of every cut. The part is made by the die, and the die is naturally stronger than the material itself, so it helps in producing a quality part over and over. The shape of the part is dictated by the rule of the die which stays in place due to the wood and the pressure of the machine that is being used. Nearly every cut is within a few thousandths of the last cut. One of the limitations of the steel-rule die is the tolerance. Steel-rule dies can be manufactured to hold a +/- .005” tolerance. However, it may be difficult to stay within that tolerance on a very complex part such as extremely thick foam materials or extremely dense materials.

Concavity, or hourglassing is a common phenomenon known to die-cutters. Luckily, NEDC offers a solution to this problem as well, (see Waterjet Cutting). It is also possible to hold a +/- .002” tolerance with a solid tool on select parts; NEDC provides solid tool cutting as well. Solid tools can have a prohibitively expensive cost if not cutting a lot of pieces. Die cutting normally offers a two-dimensional part (X and Y axis); it is possible to offer some parts as three-dimensional, through bends. This is rare but can be done with some rigid, thin materials. Die Cutting also offers the ability to “kiss-cut,” this is described in our article on “Kiss-Cut Parts“.

Quantities involved in Die Cutting:

It is possible to manufacture a die with more knife bent into the configuration to make more parts with each ‘hit’. This is done often when there are many parts required. It is also helpful when nesting the part may offer a more effective price structure for our customer. It is normal for the price to go up on the tool when there are more parts offered per ‘hit’. When we add more cuts per hit, we call the tool a higher “up”. For example, that die, is 10-up meaning with every hit, it cuts 10 parts. NEDC offers die cutting for quantities ranging from very high such as 1,000,000 pcs to 1 pc.

Materials Available for Custom Die Cutting:

NEDC now offers a large variety of high-performance materials that may be die cut. These materials include silicone, fluorosilicone, nitrile rubber, EPDM rubber, electrically conductive gasketing materials, thermal management, as well as many other types of materials (see our products list).  Some of the parts NEDC has the capability to die-cut are gaskets, thermal pads, epoxy preforms, and absorbers. Of course with custom die cutting, NEDC offers a wide array of materials to be die-cut.

Another bonus of modern custom die cutting is the ability to offer pressure sensitive adhesive on the back of parts with ease of removal. There are many types of adhesive backing that can be provided with a part. These tapes can be acrylic-based, rubber-based, or silicone-based. This oftentimes depends on the application. NEDC is an authorized converter of 3M. For that reason, we offer many different types of adhesives on the back of its parts:

  • Thin Films such as Nylon, Mylar®, ETFE, PTFE, and DuPont’s Kapton®.
  • Adhesives, such as the wide range 3M offers: VHB Tapes, Acrylic Transfer Tapes, Double Sided Tapes, and more.
  • Fabrics such as Felt
  • Thin Foils such as Copper Foil, Aluminum Foil and others.
  • Aramid paper Products such as DuPont’s Nomex®

For more details on the materials available for NEDC to procure, see our Tech Blog.

When does Die Cutting not Make Sense?

We thought since our main selling point is die-cutting, we would also present examples where conventional die cutting does not make sense. There are situations where die cutting does not make sense, such as mentioned above with concavity issues on thicker materials. Below we list a few reasons where it makes sense to hunt for alternative to die-cutting.

A. Its a thicker material. Concavity can be a concern with thicker materials. There are tricks of the trade to get around this to a certain degree, but ultimately it may be more wise to accept the material is too thick to die-cut.

B. Tolerancing. Tolerancing can be a tricky challenge, depending on the size of the part, and the cut-outs and tolerancing of those shapes, sometimes it makes more sense to move to another type of fabrication method, such as laser cutting, or waterjet cutting.

C. Many Cut-Out Shapes. There are times when literally hundreds of cut-outs are in a part. This can become tricky because die-cutting ultimately is a somewhat unbalanced manufacturing method. Two surfaces come together to force the die to burst through the material. For that reason, not all the surfaces perfectly burst at the same time. When many cut-outs are on a part, pressure, and getting a good part consistently may become a challenge.

About NEDC:

NEDC(New England Die Cutting) is a custom die cutting manufacturer in Methuen, MA with a 77,000 sqft facility. If you have any questions concerning custom die cutting or our die-cutting process please contact our Sales Team at sales@nedc.com.

Die Cutting Blog
Previous Posts
Henkel Announces New Ultra-Low Modulus Product | GAP PAD TGP 12000ULM

Henkel Announces New Ultra-Low Modulus Product | GAP PAD TGP 12000ULM

Henkel has launched the Gap Pad TGP 12000ULM under their Bergquist product line. This silicone material is filled with thermally conductive particles to impart the highest thermal conductivity to date of 12 W/m-K. This is an exciting development for the Gap Pad...

Thermal Pad/Choosing a Thermal Pad – Case Study

Thermal Pad/Choosing a Thermal Pad – Case Study

In our last blog, we discussed 3 tips to choosing a thermal gap filling pad. We wanted to show how that worked in a previous application. The below is a case study that utilizes a few of those tips.  The Problem: A customer came to us looking for an thermal management...

3 Tips for Selecting a Thermal Gap Filler Pad!

3 Tips for Selecting a Thermal Gap Filler Pad!

Many of our customers are using thermal pads nowadays. With another year in the books, the electronics used this year are at an all-time high. This requires more cooling! To finish off the year, we thought we would make a blog about a few tips on choosing a thermal...

What do we make at NEDC?

What do we make at NEDC?

A lot of times when I’m explaining to someone what I do for a living, I almost feel like saying “I play with giant cookie cutters all day.”  We Use Giants Cookie Cutters, why say this? To most people it seems hard to explain that our customers just send me a print and...

Outgassing of Thermal Pads | ASTM E595 | TML & CVCM

Outgassing of Thermal Pads | ASTM E595 | TML & CVCM

One of our tips for selecting a thermal pad is selecting a thermal pad that has a lot of data about it. Some of these data points include, thermal conductivity, volume resistivity, flame rating, Young's Modulus, and more. However, one common question when it comes to...

Sponge/Foam Rubber Blends | Die-Cut, Waterjet-Cut, Lamination

Sponge/Foam Rubber Blends | Die-Cut, Waterjet-Cut, Lamination

Closed Cell Sponge/Foam rubber materials have a place in the industry. Oftentimes they are used in applications where either for vibration dampening, or gasketing where not much compression force is available. However, there are also times where the environmental...

ITW Formex | Die-Cut/Laser-Cut Parts | Scored, Formed, Bent, Cut

ITW Formex | Die-Cut/Laser-Cut Parts | Scored, Formed, Bent, Cut

Electrically Insulating materials are a common die-cut product here at NEDC. One of the more common materials we use is ITW Formex. These insulating plastic materials are used in a number of electrically isolating applications. They are flame retardant, and are...

Reinforced Silicone Rubber Gaskets | Silicone Solid, Sponge Rubber

Reinforced Silicone Rubber Gaskets | Silicone Solid, Sponge Rubber

One of the issues in die-cutting is what we call “thin walls” this occurs when there is a hole close to the wall of a part. We typically implore our customers to allow for “break-out” if possible. However, when a gasket is reinforced, it can make this problem easier...

NEDC Announces Thermal Pad Sample Kit!

NEDC Announces Thermal Pad Sample Kit!

Today, NEDC announced a thermal pad sample kit. This thermal pad sample kit features over 20 Gap pads placed on a 8.5'' x 11'' card. This card makes it simple to understand different thermal pads available for thermal management. Below is a table of thermal pads...

Thermal Insulation | Silicone Foam Rubber Materials

Thermal Insulation | Silicone Foam Rubber Materials

At NEDC, thermal management is close to our core as a company. Most times when companies think of thermal management, they think of Thermal Gap Filler products. The opposite problem to solve is making sure heat doesn’t go in a certain direction. Gap Fillers direct it,...

Super-Soft Silicone Rubber Gaskets | Tight-Tolerance/High-Temperature

Super-Soft Silicone Rubber Gaskets | Tight-Tolerance/High-Temperature

At NEDC, Custom Silicone Rubber Gaskets are a common product we sell. Included in that category are the Super-Soft Silicone Rubber Gaskets that are available. When I think soft gaskets, typically below 40A durometer would be considered soft. However, when I think of...

All of the information presented above is believed to be factual and accurate; however, NEDC is not liable for any design or application utilizing this information.

New England Die Cutting

Popular Blog Posts

©New England Die Cutting 2020

NEDC Announces Thermal Pad Sample Kit Learn More