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November cover story: Die cutters do more with less

Nov 1, 2004 12:00 AM


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More printers are looking beyond flat printed sheets to an expanding world of die cutting opportunities. Applications include presentation folders, CD/DVD jackets, labels, playing cards, gift cards, magnets and more. Bobst, Brausse, Brandtjen & Kluge, Sanwa and others offer heavy-duty dedicated presses for high-volume work, while vendors such as MBO, Rollem, Spiel and Vijuk target the midrange market. H.S. Boyd and Print Craft both offer systems that enable printers add inline die cutting capabilities to existing offset presses. And Heidelberg has the high-end covered with its Dymatrix and Kama equipment as well as the midsize market with an inline die cutting option for its Speedmaster SM 52 press. For some users, die cutting is combined with folding, gluing, scoring, perfing, foil stamping and embossing. Here's a sampling of recent introductions.



Small-format die cutters
Weidhaas Group Corp. (Turnersville, NJ) manufactures the Crest line (formerly the IT&M clamshell design) of clamshell platen presses ranging from 22 × 28 inches up to 56 × 96 inches. Weidhaas recently announced the Crest 2230 and 1725 AutoClam, small-format automatic die cutting, foil stamping and embossing presses that can feed substrates of various, thicknesses and sizes from 2 × 3 inches up to 22 × 34 inches.

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Wallet-sized cards
Spartanics (Rolling Meadows, IL) showcased its M500 wide-format die cutting system at Graph Expo. The 30-inch-wide, optically registered die cutting system enables users to achieve high throughput for wallet-sized or smaller pieces on a 72- or 96-up sheet, reportedly with ±0.1-mm or better registration. Spartanics also offers the EZ-Kount 750 for batch tabbing or for counting coupons or labels as small as 2 ½ × 4 ½ inches. The company's 400 Series Stak-Kounters counts folded and blank cartons, most laminated materials, credit card stock, pharmaceutical inserts, blister pack cards, rigid plastic sheets, decal stock, folded brochures, playing cards and more. See www.spartanics.com.
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Inline finishing for Heidelberg and Komori presses
Print Craft Supply, a division of Carton Craft (Alpharetta, GA), offers the RSP inline finishing system. The RSP inline system lets commercial printers die cut, perforate and score inline on Heidelberg or Komori sheetfed presses at full running speed. No press modifications are required. The finishing form can be made ready off press, avoiding machine downtime. The RSP system can be installed in the same amount of time it takes to change a blanket. For a video demonstration, see www.printcraftsupply.com.
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Two million labels, tags or cards per hour
Spiel Associates' (Long Island City, NY) AMC Model H high die cutter for one-up press sheets can die cut an eight-inch lift of paper or plastic every four seconds, reportedly yielding up to two million labels, tags or cards per hour. After the operator loads a lift on the AMC's ramp, it rams the material through a hollow die. The horizontal ram with V-type hold is said to enable quick changeover and setup. Sizes can range from ¾ × ¾ inch up to 20 × 20 inches. Spiel also offers the AMC Model NC high die cutter for die cutting product from full-size press sheets without precutting. See www.spielassociates.com.
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Fast changeover from die cutting to foil stamping
Diversified Graphic Machinery (Red Bank, NJ) offers the Iijima MJ 104 high-speed convertible foil stamping press, which reportedly can go from die cutting and stripping to foil stamping and embossing in less than 30 minutes. The press offers a 29 × 41-inch sheet size, 330 tons of pressure, touch screen control and a maximum running speed of 8,000 sph. The press also comes equipped with a non-stop MABEG feeder, handling thin paper through e-flute corrugated. The foil cassette is removable but always remains connected on a rail system to the machine. It is offered with a built-in rewind system and a foil/sheet direction system. See www.dgmna.com.
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Die-cut, punch, hole-punch and perforating machines
MBO America complements its bindery offerings with the Bograma BS Multi 450/750 series automatic die-cut, punch, hole-punch and perforating machines. These machines can be utilized offline or inline behind any folder or a gatherer-stitcher.

Versatile features such as die cutting, hole punching, head and foot trimming, center trimming or punching for multiple-up production and thumb, corner and various other perforations, are easily integrated inline for production savings. High cutting quality, even at operating rates up to 20,000 strokes per hour, keeps the bindery on track for higher profits. See www.mboamerica.com.
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Labels, credit cards and more
Vijuk's Victory Lancer die cutter offers perimeter cutting of labels or small items from a full press sheet. The rotating die head can be programmed to precisely process any multiple-up layout, whether the repeat is constant, turned or slightly varied to make use of the full sheet. Intricate or “horseshoe” shapes can be nested-saving material, and time and labor. It cuts a wide range of thicknesses and materials, including credit card plastic, foiled paper and leather. Jobs can be stored for quick recall. Production speed is up to 180,000 labels/hr., depending on size and material. Vijuk also offers high-production ram-type and strip-format high-die die cutters and credit-card die cutters. See www.vijukequip.com.
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Finishing for mailing applications
Standard Finishing (Andover, MA) unveiled the Standard Hunkeler UM 520-W Universal Module at Graph Expo. It was shown inline with a Standard Horizon AFC-744AKT automated folder, producing personalized travel voucher booklets that were die cut, glued, perforated, folded and three-side trimmed in one production sequence. The Universal Module reportedly can run at 500 fpm. See www.standardfinishing.com.
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Trading, gaming and playing card production
Applications for Rollem International's (Anaheim, CA) Slipstream slitting/collating system include trading, gaming and playing cards. Slipstream eliminates separate guillotine, collating, perforating and creasing operations. With the push of a button, the system trims all four edges of a sheet and the multiple printed images; cuts the sheet into separate rectangular portions as small as l ⅞ × 2 ½ inches; perforates and/or creases each portion; collects and delivers all the portions into a fully collated stack or individual pack with accuracy within l/l000th of an inch; and transfers the packs to inline round-corner, shrink-wrap, box die-cut or over-wrap systems.

For completely automated card pack production, Rollem offers the R&S 2007, an attachment for the Slipstream that provides inline die cutting. The R&S 2007 accepts the cut/collated decks of cards from the Slipstream and die cuts them completely. The Slipstream and R&S can run inline with shrink-wrap systems, and reportedly can achieve production speeds of up to 40 decks per minute. See www.rollemusa.com.
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Offset printing and die cutting in one press
Heidelberg (Kennesaw, GA) won a PIA/GATF Intertech Award for its Speedmaster SM 52 press with inline die cutting. A vacuum system removes waste directly from the die cylinder and a new process allows die cutting in wet ink.

This rotary inline die-cutting unit for the Speedmaster SM 52 lets printers finish 20-inch work on the press in a single pass at press speeds of up to 15,000 sph. The die cutting unit can handle finishing operations such as scoring, slitting, punching or perforating. Dies are mounted with magnets rather than clamps.

The SM 52 with inline die cutting comes with the Prinect CP2000 Center that can be used to set the register and punching depth from the control console.

Heidelberg also unveiled its Dymatrix 106 CSB die cutter at Graph Expo. (CSB stands for cutting, stripping and blanking.) The Dymatrix 106 can handle a paper ranging from four-pt. board to solid 60-pt. board and 160-pt. corrugated board at processing speeds of up to 9,000 sheets an hour. Although the die cutter is built for a maximum sheet size of 29.92 × 41.73 inches, its modular structure enables the user to increase the sheet size to 32.28 × 44.49 inches. See www.heidelbergusa.com.
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Part 1 | Part 2