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The Role Of Clearance In Rotary Die Cutting Maintenance

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Rotary die cutters have a rotary cutter whose clearance, or distance from the opposing surface, plays a huge role in how well the cuts go and how long the machine can go before it needs maintenance. Clearance is adjustable, so anyone operating the die cutter needs to double-check that the clearance is appropriate for the material being fed through the machine. With the wrong clearance, the cutting job can be of bad quality, and the machine can suffer more wear and tear in two ways, both of which lead to a sooner need for maintenance and repair.

Too Close, Too Much Pressure

A clearance that is too small (the cutting blade isn't high enough) will result in too much pressure hitting the material and the drum it sits on. This places so much pressure (from the force of the cut) on the drum that the blade and the drum can suffer minor damage. One cut with a clearance that is too small isn't really a problem, but damage from repeated hits can add up quickly. You may have to replace the blade early on, for example.

Secondary Part Pressure

The force of the hit can travel to other parts of the machine, too. Think about when you hit something; not only do you feel the force in your hand, which directly touched the item being hit, but you feel it move up your arm, affecting your elbow and shoulder. It's the same concept for a die-cutting blade hitting that drum with little clearance. The force travels from the blade and the drum to adjacent parts. Repeated hits, as you'd get with material being automatically fed through a die-cutting machine, can act like excess vibrations — loosening parts and creating more wear and tear on the machine.

Poor-Quality Cuts and Redoing Work

But what about clearance that is too big? The hits from the blade aren't going to be as strong, but that also means the cuts in the material aren't going to be that good. They may even have to be redone, wasting time and material. Of course, like anything in machinery, the clearance has a tolerance range. But that range isn't going to be very big, so definitely pay attention to clearance and getting it as correct as possible.

Just as you'd "measure twice, cut once" in construction, double-check the clearance whenever you add material to the die cutter. It's a quick task, so assuming something is set correctly won't save you time.

For more information about using packaging equipment, rotary die cutters, or other elements, contact a local business.