The Fantastic 5 Hacks to Optimize Rubber Die Cutting & Manufacturing

Rubber die cutting is an exceptionally cost-effective and versatile way to shape, cut, and create products and components. With an endless scope of possibilities, die-cutting services can be used to create rubber seals, rubber gaskets, and other products. 

However, if you're looking to die-cut rubber materials, there are certain tips and hacks that can save you time and money. Let's take a closer look at four rubber die-cutting hacks you should know and use. 

It's a Material Matter 

When it comes to die cutting, the materials matter — a lot. And when you say "rubber" there are several different types with different characteristics that can either enhance or reduce the functionality of the application. Some of the most common types of rubber include:

  • Silicone rubber
  • Neoprene rubber
  • EPDM rubber
  • Butyl rubber
  • Styrene-Butadiene rubber
  • Nitrile rubber
  • Fluorosilicone rubber
  • And more

With so many options, it's imperative to the performance of your die-cut products or die-cut parts to get materials selection right. For example, when creating a die-cut rubber gasket for an application, the ability of the elastomer or foam to flex, fill voids, compress, and conform to irregular surfaces can open the door to a host of benefits. 

The right die-cut rubber material can be used to absorb vibration, dampen shock, block light, seal, and more.  However, unless you're a materials specialist, choosing the most beneficial rubber material can be virtually impossible.

As a result, it's of the highest importance that you partner with a die-cutting firm who not only offers perfectly cut gaskets and components — but should provide materials selection to guide and educate you in the process. Your die-cutting firm should be able to answer:

  • Why choose this rubber material over another for the application?
  • If I choose a less expensive material, what benefits or performance characteristics would I lose?
  • What die-cut thickness is the best for the application?
  • How can a specific rubber elastomer improve the performance of my application, product, or process?

At Frank Lowe, expert materials selection and precision die cutting are our specialties. We’ll carefully work to understand your application, guide you to the most suitable elastomer as well as thickness, and then provide die cuts with tight tolerances that will fit into strictly defined spaces. 

Cut the Scrap with Web Scrap Removal

Die cutting — in its nature — generates waste. Regardless of the type of rubber elastomer you're die-cutting, there will be sections left over after the die cut has been made. This waste is called web scraps. 

Web scraps are oddly shaped pieces of material and/or holes that offer no value to you. At the same time, they have no practical application in your manufacturing process. However, web scraps are often left in place for you to remove from each part. And this can cause:

  • A decrease in the speed of your production
  • Cause the cost of labor to increase
  • Have negative implications on the final product

Because of this, one of our top hacks to optimize rubber die cutting is to remove web scraps when it brings you value. 

Thanks to our state-of-the-art equipment and processes, we're able to deliver precise, clean die cuts with the web scrap removed. Even though removing web scrap is a relatively simple procedure on our end, it translates into significant cost and time savings for you. So, when you're choosing a die-cutting vendor, make sure to ask them if they remove web scrap.

Stick to Adhesives That Work

Choosing the best adhesive for your rubber die-cut component is similar to most things in life: you get what you pay for. In other words, all adhesives are not created equally; nor are they engineered to perform the same. Selecting the wrong adhesive can lead to product failure and/or application failure — at best. 

As a result, it's of the utmost importance to choose an adhesive that works for the rubber material and the surface. Not sure what surface the die-cut component will be attached to? There are certain types of adhesives designed to perform on virtually any surface. While these types of jack-of-all-trades types of adhesive may be more expensive, it's less expensive than having a useless die-cut component

The most ideal solution is to work with your die-cutting company to select the pressure-sensitive adhesive best for your application. In addition to the mounting surface, additional considerations include:

  • Adhesion strength,
  • The life expectancy of the adhesive,
  • Temperature resistance, and
  • How the adhesive can perform in the potential environment.

Fortunately, the team at Frank Lowe will help you think through all scenarios en route to the best solution. 

Kiss Wasted Time Goodbye 

If you're looking to improve your manufacturing process, it starts with your die-cut part. And choosing a kiss-cut rubber component can be the key that opens the door to time savings and efficiencies. 

With kiss cut rubber components, the backing paper is never cut. Instead, the die slices completely through the rubber substrate — but gently "kisses" the paper backing. When this is combined with pressure-sensitive adhesive, it creates a peel-and-stick type of component.

In addition to being kiss cut on sheets, kiss cutting is available for components on a roll. This die-cutting procedure can simplify application and help improve the speed of assembly. Whether you use hand application, an assembly line, or robotics, kiss cut products can offer several benefits, including:

  • Kiss-cut parts are easier to handle
  • Kiss-cut parts can expedite assembly
  • Kiss-cut rubber parts can slash the cost of production
  • Kiss-cut components are flexible

The One-Size-Fits-All Approach Doesn't Work

At Frank Lowe, we understand that one-size-fits-all solutions rarely fit. As such, it's imperative to partner with a die-cutting firm that has access to different types of die cutting. Why? Because different types of die-cutting equipment can deliver very different results depending on the material and size of the run.

When choosing a die-cutting partner, simply ask them which methods they use. If they are a one-trick pony, you may be better suited with a firm that has more versatility. In doing so, you can ensure you're getting the most bang for your buck and the best die-cutting solution every time. 

Contact Frank Lowe for the Best Rubber Die Cutting 

When you partner with Frank Lowe for rubber die cutting, you will gain access to nearly 70 years of exceptional experience. Our seasoned engineers and technicians have gained volumes of knowledge and understand all of the nuances associated with creating the perfect rubber die cut for your application.

We offer expert materials selection, web scrap removal, versatile kiss cutting, a host of different adhesives, and we leverage several different die-cutting methods to achieve the best results. Most importantly,  we leverage every tip, hack, and best practice to save you time, money, and create better die cuts with tighter tolerances.

About the Author Randy Cohen

Since 2002, Randy Cohen has served as the Senior Vice President of Frank Lowe — leading Sales and Marketing as well as a variety of Administrative operations. Randy has 25 years of experience with a background in sales & marketing, production and business management, serving both government agencies and private industry. He holds a B.A from Syracuse University and a Masters and Professional Diploma from Fordham University. Randy uses his unique set of experiences to help businesses and entities across all sectors explore, pursue, and create better solutions.

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