File Upload                                                                                Home | Contact | Site Map  

Die Cutters Help Bring Complex Designs to Life
By: Greg Ortmann, President, Feiereisen, Inc.

Today more than ever, it seems that graphic designers strive for increasingly complex designs that push the edge of what’s possible. It’s up to printing and finishing partners to make sure that what they dream up is both possible and practical.

Though the die cutting process seems simple enough – sharp steel rules cutting into printed sheets – there’s much more involved than just applying tonnage to make cuts in printed sheets. As any experienced graphic arts production person knows, an experienced die cutter helps bring challenging projects to life.

Today’s die cutting experts are responsible for turning drawing board designs into a diverse mix of products. Die cut pieces can be simple and standardized, like pocket folders and ticket wallets, or one-of-a kind mailers, media holders, book covers and more. Customers can choose from an existing inventory of dies or have one custom made.

Industry Standard Equipment
The best quality and productivity is achieved by using the latest die cutting equipment.  Among the recognized industry leaders is the Bobst Speria 106 die cutting machine, which represents the latest in die cutting technology.

According to Eric Olson, Feiereisen’s plant manager, the Bobst Speria 106 is one of the fastest machines in the marketplace and packs an impressive quality punch. With a top speed of more than 7,500 sheets per hour and the ability to handle sheets as large as 28 by 40 inches, the Bobst Speria 106 performs twice as fast as many older models, with more precision and stock flexibility.

“Our Bobst 106s have been a tremendous help in our facilities because of faster set-up times, less waste and more efficiency during production runs,” says Olson. “These Bobsts combine higher quality, faster turnaround times and more competitive prices.” 

What to Watch For:
Here are some tips to keep your die cutting project running smoothly:

  • Lay your project out so it has a proper gripper margin. The gripper is where the die cutting press grabs the sheet and pulls it through the press. Allow at least ½” gripper and clearly mark the gripper and guide sides on your pallet.
  • Paper weight and paper type are key variables in the die cutting process. Your stock selection frequently determines what press will best fit your project. Let your finisher know these details early during the job planning process.
  • If you aren’t sure which paper best fits your die cut application, ask your finisher for advice before specifying a stock that might make the project more difficult to produce. This simple phone call may eliminate extra handling and cutting, which improves run times and increases yields.

Design Guidance
Production departments should closely examine the intricacies of each die cutting project to ensure there are no obstacles to good production. Steady communication between the designer, printer and finisher can go a long way towards identifying potential problem areas that need to be addressed before work gets underway.

While many designers are familiar with the die cutting process, they can still benefit from some added direction from die cutters, especially when working on complicated projects. It’s important to choose an experienced die cutting partner.

One of the areas that die cutters take special satisfaction in getting right is the strategic placement of small “nicks” on the sheet, required to prevent sheets from falling apart while within the die cutting equipment.  Nicks can be unsightly, but fortunately true die cutting craftsmen can usually position them so they’re barely noticeable on finished products.

Ahead of the Curve
As the industry continues to embrace new die cutting technology, count on your experienced die cutting partner to remain ahead of the curve. With the work load increasingly tilted toward higher end projects, your die cutter desperately needs to keep pace with cutting edge equipment installations.

Greg Ortmann is president of Feiereisen, Inc., a leading provider of post press and finishing services including die cutting, scoring and perforation, book binding and restoration, folding, gluing, board and litho mounting, film lamination and UV coating, foil stamping, embossing and more. Founded in 1933, Feiereisen has locations in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Des Moines, Iowa and Kansas City, Kansas.