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Rotary Die Cutting vs Flatbed Die Cutting, how to Choose?

Dec 26, 2018

Rotary Die Cutting vs Flatbed Die Cutting, how to Choose?


Now the world corrugated packaging industry uses the most two die-rotary die cutting and flatbed die cutting, many companies are confused, so how to make a choice? Now it’s time to take a closer look at the two die cutting methods available-rotary die cutting and flatbed die cutting. Which one is right for you? The box maker corrugated plant has both available in-house, and each method is used regularly in different situations.

 

The Working Speed Between Rotary and Flatbed



The Rotary Die Cutting

It is usually one of the units of flexo printing machine, it’s called die-cut unit. Speed often depends on the type of carton produced and die cutting type. The normal production speed is 150-250 piece/min, some machine can reach 350 piece/min.


Flatbed Die Cutting


To be exact, there are 3 typis in the market, one is manual, semi-automatic and full automatic. The speed of the device in type 3 is completely different. The manual speed around 30 piece/min, semi-automatic is around 60 piece/min. Full automatic die cutting max speed can reach 100-120 piece/min.



Cutting Dies


Cutting dies are long lasting, quality structures and present a one-time charge for your company. The main tenance, storage, and cleaning of all dies is covered in the initial price you pay.


Rotary steel dies are more expensive than flatbed dies because the wood for a rotary die is circular in shape, and the method for making these is more extensive. Yet, looking at the price of the steel die alone is not enough information to make an informed decision.


There are many factors to consider when choosing the best method for your packaging needs. Our estimating team will take into account the following factors to determine the right direction for you and your organization:


How many will you be ordering? Rotarysteel dies can be 30-100% more expensive than a flatbed die, but the rotary machinery can run more pieces at once due to a larger blank size and faster speed. So, while the initial steel die may cost more, a lower per-each price can offset the die cost quickly.


Will you be buying multiple orders on a regular basis, oris it a one-time purchase? If you are purchasing a specific product for a one-time promotion or a single distribution, then a less expensive flatbed die may be the best way to go. But, if you have regular usage of a specific product and plan on purchasing multiple orders of a particular package, the rotary machine will offer a lower piece price and will quickly offset the higher die cost.


Example


Flatbed die charge: $800, 25 cents per box for a 5,000-piece order
Total investment after 1 order: $2050
Total investment after 3 orders: $4550
Total investment after 10 orders: $13,300

Rotary die charge: $1400, 19 cents perbox for a 5,000-piece order
Total investment after 1 order: $2350
Total investment after 3 orders: $4250
Total investment after 10 orders: $10,900


As you can see, rotary die might be more expensive, but you actually start saving money after just 3 orders!


How large is your product? The rotary machine may be fast, but it doesn’t handle small pieces well. If your blank size (piece of corrugated product laid flat, before folding or gluing) is less than 15” in width or length, we will need to cut it on the flatbed die cutter. On the opposite spectrum, the capabilities for die cutting large blanks are limited on the flatbed machine. With a maximum blank size of 66”x85” on the rotary die cutter, it can handle a lot of larger format pieces, and can cut out more atone time. The flatbed machine has a maximum blank size of 41”x55”.


How intricate is the design? The rotary can handle big designs, but not necessarily intricate ones with tiny cut-outs, tight radius on corners, and slit scores. Since the rotary is a giant wheel rolling over the corrugated, the cutting isn’t quite as precise as the flatbed die cutter. Our structural designers have the expertise to know ahead of time which machine will be best suited for your product.


Is your corrugated packaging printed? The rotary press can print up to 3 colors and die cut at the same time. This means that if your product needs to be die cut on the flatbed, it will need to get printed on another machine first. This adds to labor costs, and ultimately can lead to a higher price for you. Whenever possible, it makes sense to pay more up front for the rotary die so you will see the savings from this investment down the road.


As you can see, selecting the correct die cutting method is not a “cut” and dry decision! We take great care in guiding you to the best solution for your specific needs.