The promotion of circular die in the Asia-Pacific region has been more than ten years, and the wide application in China is basically in the past ten years. From the early cigarette case and wine labels and stickers, to barcode labels and industrial labels, to the development of various types of self-adhesive labels and electronic labels that are widely used, the rotary mold has also changed from a simple fixed with the diversity of the application industry. Type engraving knives have evolved into a variety of knives with their own characteristics, such as flexible blades, air-flushing circular knives, air-suction circular knives, inlaid circular knives, etc. This article focuses on the respective properties and applications of fixed engraving knives and flexible blades.
Die-cutting was once considered an expensive process even in developed countries, due to the high price of stationary engraving knives. Some traditional manufacturers of fixed engraving knives in North America and Europe, due to the limitation of raw materials such as high-quality tool steel and special heat treatment processing costs, increased labor costs and competition in the industry, even quit the manufacturing of engraving knives and turned to die cutting and Manufacture of printing machinery. However, there are also some powerful manufacturers actively exploring new fields, such as changing the design of fixed engraving knives and turning to the promotion of multi-type circular engraving knives, producing various types of circular knives such as the above-mentioned air-flushing circular knives, gas Suction round knife and inlaid round knife, etc. But what really changed the circular die-cutting industry, especially the self-adhesive processing industry, was the large-scale promotion and application of flexible blades.
Flexible blades, also known as magnetic skins, are chemically etched and CNC-finished sheet-like dies that are attached to a magnetic drum to achieve the same or more precise die-cutting effect as fixed engraving knives. Due to its light size (mostly less than half a kilogram), convenient transportation and simple installation, die-cutting accuracy and depth control are one step ahead of stationary engraving knives. According to the author's experience in the circular die cutting industry for more than ten years, most of the self-adhesive processing enterprises, once they have successfully tried the flexible blade, are rarely likely to go back and use the fixed engraving knife to a large extent. Affected are Europe and Australia, which went through a transition from fixed engraving knives to flexible blades ten to twenty years ago. In Southeast Asia, except for Japan, since its round die basically relies on the supply of Australia, Europe and North America, the advantages of easy and cheap transportation of flexible blades make it quickly popularized. China also accepted and used flexible blades relatively early, but because local mold manufacturers have only initially set foot in stationary carving knives, flexible blades and other complex and diversified circular knives have still relied on imports in the past few years. For some large and medium-sized label manufacturers, the overall usage rate of flexible blades is much lower than that in Singapore and Malaysia.
Because the flexible blade is completed in one machine, there is no auxiliary processing for manual mold trimming, the precision of the cutting line and the cutting line, the control of the angle of the blade, and the control of the height of the blade are more accurate. The cutting marks of the processed labels on the backing paper are uniform and stable, and the strict requirements for the finished product size in the processing of electronic labels are also relatively easy to meet. The production period of flexible blades is also relatively fast, generally 2-3 days, and urgent orders can be driven out within 24 hours if needed, which is more in line with the requirements of the label processing industry that require prompt batch delivery. Its cost and market price are also much lower than fixed engraving knives, allowing label manufacturers to control cash flow and long-term costs.
However, flexible blades also have advantages that fixed engraving knives do not have. For example, blades of normal height (0.43mm – 0.48mm) cannot cut thicker materials, and some electronic labels need to cut through double-sided tape. Engraving knives are more flexible than flexible blades. Cleanly eliminate glue spills on label edges. In addition, engraving knives are also more suitable for cutting through, or can be combined with air-flushing or air-suction to facilitate the discharge of waste from small holes. In North America this year, a machine-finished engraving knife has appeared, which does not require manual mold repair. Due to the limitation of machining, although the hardness and life of this type of die are still not comparable to that of the fully hardened die by vacuum heat treatment, its cutting flatness and stability are comparable to those of flexible blades, which should be the best in the rotary die industry. The next highlight that needs a breakthrough.
For further information and technical support on flexible blades, please contact Rottery (Guangzhou) Technology Co., Ltd. Introducing European production equipment, technology and raw materials, the wholly foreign-owned enterprise Rottery (Guangzhou) Technology has been put into production in Huadu, Guangzhou in early 2007 and began to supply flexible blades and magnetic rollers that are urgently needed to serve the Chinese and Asia-Pacific markets.