Die Cut Rubber Parts: Which Way is Best?

At CRG, we use both traditional and advanced technologies for producing what are commonly referred to as die cut rubber parts. These parts include gaskets, seals, and various custom fabricated shapes. The decision of which technology to employ for producing a specific part is often based on an assessment of a number of factors, some of which are outlined in this blog.

The term “die cut” originated when the common method of producing cut rubber parts was to place material over a steel rule die and use a press to apply vertical pressure on the material against the die, resulting in a cut part. This method of production has given way to CNC methods of production, such as waterjet, flex/flash, or laser, where a computer-controlled cutting head moves over the material and uses a water stream, blade, or light beam respectively to produce the finished part. Today, the term “die cut” is often applied generally to the production of cut rubber parts, even though on the newer CNC technologies, dies are no longer employed.

CRG works closely with individual customers to determine which production technology is best for producing their finished parts. We analyze such things as the application to be serviced, the type and thickness of the material to be cut, the part geometry and desired tolerances, the production quantity, and the target cost.

Traditional die cutting, using steel rule dies, works well when part geometries are non-complex, material thicknesses are less, and when ultra-high precision and tolerances are not required. Depending on the part size, it may be possible to produce multiple parts with each stroke of the press head. While traditional die cutting does involve the cost of tooling, which is avoided with CNC production methods, this technique can be cost-effective when customers already possess the needed dies.

While traditional die cutting using steel rule dies is a manual process, rotary die cutting uses an automated rotating head and dies to cut parts at high speed. This process works well with smaller part sizes and when high production volumes are required – depending upon the part size and tooling configuration, multiple parts can be produced with each pass of the rotating head.

Newer CNC production methods such as waterjet and flex/flash cutting achieve greater precision than traditional die cutting methods. In addition, these computer-controlled methods are much better suited for cutting complex part geometries than traditional methods. With these methods, the CNC equipment can make fast cuts that are extremely precise in nature. The resulting parts have a superior fit and finish to parts produced using steel rule dies.

In addition, waterjet and flex/flash cutting offer superior material yields over traditional die cutting. This accomplished by the CNC technology enabling and optimizing the "nesting" of multiple parts within the material, thereby greatly improving the yield and reducing the scrap and waste.

No matter what type of die cut rubber part you are desiring, CRG has the expertise, experience, and equipment to meet your needs and requirements. We can provide a full portfolio of support services, including prototyping, CAD drawing assistance, and quality assurance and testing.

To find out more about how we can help you with your die cut rubber parts needs, please contact our sales department at crg@canadarubbergroup.com.