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Monday, April 18, 2016

Let's Make Boxes

Michigan Mike reports on commercial printing:
Lots of progress has been made in printing. Large highspeed inkjets are now (or will soon be) ruling the industry, in sheet, web and paperboard (packaging).

What is lagging is the "finishing" automation, specifically 'diecutting", which punches out a specially shaped piece of paper. Envelopes, cardboard boxes, labels, anything that might have curved outline section to it. All straight cuts can be accomplished by a standard guillotine cutter.

It is impossible to get away from making dies to accomplish this curved cutting. [Demand on the Rise for Sheet-Fed Rotary Diecutting]

YouTube digital  die cutters and you will find many that work like "Cricut" cutting plotters.

We always have to have  a die made for our diecutting press, at $100+ a pop and a week leadtime.

Basically a die is a flat plywood board with groove routed into it and a ribbon of edge sharp flexible steel in manually fitted into the groove. Foam rubber blocks next to the steel cutter eject the paper when it has been stamped.

The way dies are made for it are:

"The steel plates are manufactured with the desired image "burned" into the plate and then chemically etched to where the remaining cutting blades/knives are left above the surface of the plate and then CNC-sharpened as a final step."

Crazy amount of work or expense of equipment.

There has to be a better way, or at least a hybrid between the rotary and flatbed.
The amount of pressure that can be exerted by a roller is far greater than can be exterted over a whole flat plate.
You don't need to ask me twice to YouTube something. I found a couple. First we need to print our logo on the cardboard.

HP Indigo 20000 Animation

This is the HP Indigo 20000. It prints on paper. You want to print on cardboard, you use the Indigo 30000. They look roughly the same and use the same technology.

Then you want to cut the cardboard so it can be easily folded into a box.

Ward Rotary Diecutter

Or you can do it all in one step like this guy.

Chain feeding printing slotting rotary die cutting machine for corrugated cardboard

There are digital cutters, but they are a bit slower.

Digital die cutting @ Old School Digital

Update July 2017 replaced video of Ward Rotary Diecutter.

1 comment:

AndrewP said...

Very cool, makes my work at Pitney Bowes look very primitive.