Rotary vs Flat Bed Die Cutting: All the Differences Explained

Estimated read time 3 min read

Rotary vs Flat Bed Die Cutting

Manufacturers will often find the need for precise pieces like gaskets, spacers, or padding. These parts can be mass-produced with die cut machines that can quickly and effectively fabricate identical, custom pieces in bulk. The project specifications must determine the method and machine that is used for each unique project.

Two of the most often used methods for die cutting parts are rotary die cutting, and flatbed die cutting. When beginning a new project, it is important to understand how these two most popular machines compare. The difference between flat bed die cutting machine services and rotary die cutting services can help the user decide between the two most commonly used methods.

Flat Bed Die Cutting

Flat Bed Die Cutting

This type of machine uses hydraulics to control the pressure exerted onto a steel rule die. The die essentially stamps out the different parts from the source material by forcing the die through it. The source material is fed along the base of the machine and pressed down vertically to cut out the object.

While the flat bed die tool is more affordable, it does have some limitations that can impact a project. The most significant detriment is the overall time required to complete the production. The flatbed typically requires more time to set up and get ready to operate. Once the project is prepared to begin cutting, the flat bed has a slower rate of cutting. For smaller work orders, this is not necessarily a problem.

Additionally, if the project is expected to include laminating or printing, the flat bed will not even be an option.

The flat bed die cutter can work with various combinations of materials. However, it requires that the source material be available in a sheet.

Rotary Die Cutting

Rotary Die CuttingA rotary die cutter uses a cylindrical die operated electronically. The source material is fed into the die system. One cylinder pushes the material through while the other cylinder serves as an anvil to have the pattern cut pressed into the source material. The cylinders work cooperatively to make precision cuts.

The rotary die machine offers the added benefit of performing various functions such as printing, laminating, and perforating. For example, many project requests will prefer that the cut pieces remain on a paper lining to keep them organized until time for use. The rotary die can accomplish more complex requirements such as this.

The rotary die cutter has a higher initial expense because of its production speed and available cutting options. In addition to the initial cost of the purchase, upkeep of the rotary die cutting machine can also add cost. Maintenance costs could drive up return on investment.

The primary downside to a rotary tool, other than its cost, is that it is not as adept at cutting thicker or more dense material. And, if the source material only comes in sheets, there’s no way for the machine to be continuously fed through the cutting process. The source material options can become one of the defining choices associated with the rotary die cutter.

While both tools are great options for manufacturing identical parts, they each have their specific purpose type of project requirements. The best die cutter tool for the job is dependent on the source material, complexity of the design, expected number of output pieces, and time constraints. An ideal shop will house both machines and use them as needed according to the project specifications.


Sarah Cantley

Editorial Head at UK Blog for Business & Startup.

Must Read