Multi-Layer Package Branding
Designed to convey visual impact, die cutting tools have developed to the point that they can cut and shape multiple blanks into beautifully detailed packages. The slipcases and fold-away edges add drama to the unwrapping experience, as evidenced by the so-called "unboxing experience," which occupies so many Youtube videos. Combined with special inks, recyclable paper, and interesting debossing effects, consumers feel tantalized when opening one of these multi-element packages.
A design is composed on a CAD program, just like any other semi-pro die cutting shop. From here, however, the tooling setup changes completely. Instead of a steel rule or a rotary die, a neodymium-yttrium laser slices the pattern out of batches of blanks. Imagine this light-powered cutter working on tough leather, hard plastics, and metal substrates. Capable of applying the smallest possible incision without ever contacting the source medium, lasers can emulate every action, every cut made by a steel rule die, although hardware edges are required to apply a crease or fold.
Reaping the Digital Rewards
Every few years, companies are forced to upgrade their die cutting equipment. The upgrade offers more throughput, or it targets some exotic material. New dies and formes are ordered from a tooling partner, and the whole process goes on hold again. Contemporary die cutting machinery is finally putting an end to this expensive state of affairs. If a different material or process element enters the production line, a new digitally connected module snaps in place. Equipment upgrades are becoming a thing of the past while evolution-facilitating digital modules introduce new and improved cutting features.
If the die cutting industry could be plotted on a massive chart, the straight line, perhaps trending slightly upwards, would represent the skill and artistry associated with the machinery operator. Climbing rapidly below that gradient, flexible die cutting modules and throughput enhancing assemblies sweep past that flat line. Skill and intricacy, detail-oriented work and multi-layer die cutting, all of these elements retain their quality-assured maneuvers. But they've moved from flat rules to rotary cutters, from CAD files to cartridges, and from stored patterns to free-form digital substrate sectioning. Lastly, die cutting tools are currently utilizing technology as a fully automated processing form, so time-consuming stop points are finally becoming extinct.
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