Monthly Archives: August 2017

Just How Do They Do That? – Unlocking the Mystery of the Steel Rule Die

August 28th, 2017

Did you ever wonder how manufacturers make products in uniform sizes and shapes? Often the mystery behind this feat can be directly attributed to a steel rule die (also known as a cookie cutter die). Cardboard boxes and other packaging products are often manufactured through this process to ensure that they are created in exact sizes and shapes. It can also be used to create creases for folds as well as perforated lines and slits.

Steel rule die fish design

The die creation process

The steel rule die process is used to cut sheet materials into various shapes and sizes. It is often used for paper, cardboard or even rubber materials. The die itself is designed using a flat base of some sort of wood or metal product. The most common base material is a plywood constructed out of maple, however steel or aluminum bases are also common for specialized uses.

When creating the actual metal die, the die maker utilizes the help of a specialized band saw or laser cutting apparatus to create very accurately positioning slits in the base material. The steel rule is similar to a razor blade made out of specially hardened steel. The steel is bent into specific positions and sizes and inserted the slits that have been cut into the substrate. After the steel “blade” is inserted, the die maker creates an ejection rubber pad which is adhered to the die base. This material helps to eject the materials from the die after the cut is made.

How the die is used

Once the die is created, it is ready for use. The material to be cut is carefully positioned below the die press. Once the press is activated, the cutting edges of the die come into contact with the material to be cut and penetrate through. When the press is reversed, the cut material is exposed.  If the cut material needs perforations, a secondary die will be used to finish the process.

Apple Steel Rule Die Co. ha been making quality dies for over three decades. Contact us for your die making needs. We can help you design a precision die for your specific requirements.

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