Die Cut or Laser – Find What Is Right for Your Labels
Modern label production offers two different processes for punching labels out of one material. On the one hand, this would be the conventional method using a die-cutting plate and, on the other hand, die-cutting using a laser beam.
With the conventional method, a punching plate is applied to the so-called punching cylinder. This rotates and punches the individually desired label shape out of the material. Laser punching uses a laser beam that cuts the material precisely. With this method, no cutting dies are required and every conceivable shape can be punched out, as the laser beam can be set individually and completely automatically.
Laser cutting is a state of the art process which uses a laser beam to cut your labels to the correct size and shape.
It has two distinct advantages:
#1 Flexibility: No additional tools need to be manufactured; every shape and size is immediately available.
#2 Price: Laser cutting is a more cost-effective option for short-runs. This is because laser cutting requirs less set-up time and less material for machine calibration.
#1 This disadvantage only really concerns fully printed labels with dark colours such as deep blacks, blues and browns. Depending on how the laser “strikes” the label while cutting, tiny white edges may be visible. On dark coloured containers or bottles this may impact the overall effect the labels have on your products.
#2 With bigger formats (160mm and more) two laser beams are used for cutting the label. It is possible that the point where the beams meet is not 100% exact, thus creating a small edge.
#3 The laser slightly scratches the carrier material. This can lead to problems with processing the labels.
Conventional Die Cutting
Here a physical tool must be manufactured to the exact size of your label. Once it arrives at our production facility it is attached to a magnetic cylinder in the finishing machine.
The advantages are as follows:
#1 There is no restriction in terms of the material one can use. All papers and films are available regardless of shape, size, and material thickness.
#2 More cost-effective on longer runs because a lot less energy is used than with the laser. However, it requires a little more time to set-up. Once the machine is running, production speeds are faster and more efficient than laser cutting.
#1 Conventional die cutting is therefore more expensive on shorter runs. The additional tools and the set-up times contribute to the higher costs.
To conclude, where both methods of cutting are available you’ll have to determine which one is best suited to your specific needs.
Tools and Services
Label artwork always has been and always will be a key part of the label printing process. For businesses who do not have resources to ensure their artwork is print-ready, we have a range of artwork services available.