Modern die cutting machines have several new features that business owners should take advantage of if they want to maximise productivity. In fact, plenty of digital die cutting options enable automation and are designed for long-term, continuous operation.
Just like any piece of machinery exposed to constant use, however, die cutters require regular and proper maintenance to function optimally. Otherwise, their efficiency would deteriorate — and so would the quality of their output.
For manufacturing firms, inadequate equipment maintenance could result in operational downtime, which in turn can lower your client satisfaction and revenues.
Prevent these problems by following SBL Machinery’s guide to commercial die cutting die machine maintenance.
Die Cutting Machine Maintenance
The first step is to remove all the fibres and debris that got caught in the dies and other components. You also need to empty the chamber that collects the slugs and trimmings.
These debris cause friction and prevent the paper or cardboard from moving smoothly from one station to another. They can also displace the sheets in the machine, which can affect the cuts, folds or creases of your packaging products.
In short, a clogged die cutter can result in inconsistent output quality and more rejects, so it’s crucial to keep it clean inside out.
Regularly inspecting your machine lets you spot issues before they become bigger problems. Make sure the moving components, such as the dies, belts and wheels, still move the way they should. If there are dull, worn-out, broken or missing parts, find out if they need repairs or replacements.
You also need to inspect your cutting dies closely. Dull, dented blades are the cause of many die cutting machine problems, including inconsistent cutting outcomes and ‘fluffy’ edges. Operating your machine with warped or worn out dies will result in substandard output, leading to higher production costs since you’re wasting sheets of expensive paper or carton.
Alignment and Recalibration
Your dies can become misaligned due to repetitive movements, so conduct an alignment test during non-operational days. Just like dull blades, alignment issues can cause poor cutting outcomes. They also can’t cut through thick stacks of paper or carton. Misaligned blades, however, are harder to fix and are best left to professionals.
Here are some of the things you should check during the alignment test. If you spot any problem with any of these, contact a die cutter repair specialist immediately.
- Review the settings and instructions programmed into the machine, such as the depth of the cuts and liner strikes.
- Check the prevision of the dies, creasing and folding stations and guides.
- Check the burr height and clearance ratio.
- Make sure that you’re using enough shims, which are the cardstock inserts that raise the paper so that the die can cut it properly.
It’s normal for die cutting machines to heat up when in use. If they grow too hot, though, it may be a sign of an electrical or hardware problem. Measure and record the peak temperatures of the machine throughout the day for several days. If you spot any irregularities, call a die cutter specialist to address the issue.
Cutting Dies Maintenance
Aside from the machine, your cutting dies also require proper maintenance so that they stay sharp. Follow these proper handling and maintenance tips to prolong the life of your cutting dies:
- Make sure your machine is operating at just the right pressure. Too much pressure can wear out the dies and the anvil quickly, causing them to grow dull. Find the right pressure level by calculating the optimal clearance between the die blades and the anvil as well as the speed and depth of the cuts depending on the thickness of the material you’re using.
- Don’t allow the die blades to come into contact with the anvil or any other metal component. Only the outermost edge of the blade should touch the anvil to keep the die in its optimal condition.
- Store your spare dies in their proper places to prevent damage. Even the smallest nicks or scratches can negatively impact their performance.
- Have your anvil resurfaced every few months, depending on how often you use it and the maintenance procedures you follow. Anvils also wear out and get chipped, especially if your cutting pressure is too high. You want an anvil with a pristine surface so that it won’t damage the die nor affect the quality of the cutting outcome.
The bottom line is that these maintenance practices have a direct impact on your operational efficiency. Taking proper care of your die cutting machine and other packaging equipment ensures that your operations go smoothly, enabling you to meet project deadlines and requirements.
Aside from keeping your firm productive, regular maintenance also prolongs the life of your equipment, which gives you a high ROI on your machinery.
If you want to learn more about die cutting machines and equipment maintenance, browse through the SBL Machinery blog for practical tips on how to properly operate packaging machinery.
SBL Machinery is a trusted manufacturer and distributor of high-quality packaging equipment, from automatic die cutting machines to hot foil stampers. Call us at +886 2 2680-2199 or fill out our contact form for enquiries.