Labels are traditionally printed on large format sheets, and cut out for further use afterwards. But everything in the label has to be perfect – the design, the font, the colors, the shapes, and the quality of the cutting. Sloppy cutting (aka die cutting) is bound to nullify all the design findings and efforts of technologists.
Today 50% of customers make their choice in favor of die-cutting labels. In one case, it is dictated by regulations in production, in the other it is dictated by the closing of marketing needs.
Technologies of label cutting
Label die-cutting is a method of post-printing used to give the finished product an individual size or shape. It is one of the cheapest, most effective and therefore common methods of making labels original and memorable. After all, non-standard appearance, even more so the shape, helps to stand out and give the products an original appearance.
The following types of die-cutting are most commonly used nowadays:
Each method has its advantages and disadvantages. To choose the perfect cutting method for you, you should firstly consider the subtleties of these methods, and secondly, analyze the features of the material used for label printing, the required forms (their complexity, originality, etc.) and the required print run.
Flatbed cutting – Traditionally Cutting out labels
Cutting out with flat stamps is still the most popular technology thanks to its affordable price and quality of the result. This technology, however, has some disadvantages:
- Low productivity;
- Low automation (a number of operations can only be performed manually);
- The lack of flexibility to get a special form.
Die-cutting with flat stamps is used for marking mass production, where uniqueness and originality are not so necessary.
Rotary die cutting
Rotary die cutting is an automated process which is much more productive than flat die cutting and has the advantage of a high quality end product.
From a design point of view this technology is also preferable. Special die-cutting knives, used in this process, are capable of forming any shape.
However, it should be understood that the desired result can be achieved only with the correct sharpening of die-cutting knives (and this operation is performed manually). And, in addition, the quality of machining depends on whether the counter-pressure cylinders in the machines are correctly installed.
A small error in the installation of the cylinders will result in the entire run having to be rejected. This is probably the main disadvantage of rotary die-cutting.
Laser cutting is the most modern and popular technology with almost unlimited possibilities. Laser cutting of labels is made by using digital printing machines and is characterized by the following features:
- High-quality cutting, even on thick materials
- It is possible to cut any contours and dimensions, even the most irregular ones
- Cost-effective even for single labels
- Die-cutting shape can be changed even every time
It should be noted that the quality of laser die-cutting is due to a number of factors: the qualifications of the personnel and the printed material.
To get the expected result when cutting labels, it is necessary to consider the characteristics of the label material. After all, the cutting of self-adhesive paper labels and the cutting of synthetic labels are different. In particular, when working with paper with a sticky layer you should cut through 80% of the thickness of the surface layer so that a tear in the rest allows you to easily separate labels from the backing. And the thickness and density of the backing is not important, because the knife is not in contact with it.
If we are talking about such a procedure as cutting out synthetic self-adhesive labels, it is not enough just to notch out the top layer, it is necessary to cut out the entire surface layer and 50% of the adhesive layer. And in this case you need thicker substrates.
Of course, in one article it is hardly possible to cover all the subtleties of such a process as label cutting, but we hope that you got the basic idea of it.
Our technicians will be happy to answer any questions you may have.