As recently as a couple of centuries ago, the manufacturing industry was much different than it is today. Back then, products were available to the public, and demand grew as more people learned about the products at their disposal as is the case today. Still, workers tasked with making those items had to do all the work by hand.
All this led to painfully slow and labor-intensive processes. Companies missed out on a great deal of business because they simply couldn’t keep up with the demand being placed on them. Workers were willing to rise to the challenges before them, but a lack of automation certainly put a damper on their efforts.
Enter the Die Cutting Machine
During the mid-1800s, early versions of the die cutting machine came into play. In the beginning, those machines used specially designed tools to stamp or cut shapes. They were mainly used for casting coins and other metal products.
During the century to follow, numerous advancements were made in manufacturing as well as the die cutting machines made to help foster the process. By the 1900s, those machines had made their way into the shoemaking industry. This paved the way for mass production, universal sizing, less costly manufacturing, and a wide range of other benefits.
Before long, people in a wide range of industries saw the advantages of such machinery. Die cutting machines have since branched out in countless directions. They’re now used for an endless list of applications from creating parts in the automotive and aerospace industries to making paper products and packaging for various items.
Companies in virtually every industry imaginable employ die cutting machines in one way or another. Some use an array of such machines in multiple phases of their daily processes. Small-scale versions of the machines have even been developed for at-home use in crafting. All this has led to significant growth in the die cutting machine market, and analysts expect this uptick to continue during the years to come.
A Brief Overview of the Die Cutting Machine Market
During the early 1900s, industrialization and mass production began to ramp up significantly. This trend continues to this day and will persevere throughout the coming decades. Sales of die cutting machines reached almost $1.1 billion in 2018. By 2019, the market had surged considerably.
Analysts forecast unprecedented continued growth in the field for the next ten years specifically. They estimate the market will swell at a compound annual growth rate of 1.4 percent during that time. By the year 2028, global die cutting machine sales are expected to top $1.25 billion. In light of all the variables involved in the industry as well as those employing die cutting machines, figures for the coming years could surpass experts’ expectations.
Delving Deeper into Die Cutting Machines
Various die cutting machines are available to manufacturers at present. Each one offers certain features and strengths. Three primary types of machines are digital, rotary, and steel rule die cutters.
- Digital Die Cutting Machines: As the name indicates, digital die cutters shape materials through the use of lasers and computer-aided technology rather than traditional dies. Machines in this category offer high levels of precision and speed for lightweight materials.
- Rotary Die Cutting Machines: Rotary die cutters essentially use cylindrical rolling dies to cut out shapes as operators feed materials through the machines. Like digital machines, rotary versions offer precision and speed. They’re used for high-volume productions and work best for flexible materials.
- Platen Die Cutting Machines: Also known as flatbed or steel rule die cutters, platen machines operate much like automated cookie cutters creating shapes on materials running on flat surfaces. They’re often used for small-batch productions. These machines are suitable for a variety of materials, including metal, wood, plastic, and textiles to name a few.
In addition to those variations, die cutting machines come in hydraulic, electric, and manual versions as well as hybrid models. All use numerous moving parts and different types of blades or other cutting and folding implements to complete their designated jobs.
Because die cutting machines serve numerous purposes in a wide range of industries, today’s models carry out several functions. Their capabilities vary depending on the material for which they’re designed as well as the particular needs of the business in question. Some basic die cutting operations are common among businesses in a variety of industries.
- Scoring: Scoring die cutters generally cut materials to a depth of 50 percent or less than the overall thickness of the product. This allows for simpler folds or material removal further down the assembly line.
- Creasing: Creasing entails creating parallel folds in materials to reshape or increase the flexibility of the goods being sent through the machine. Boxes are common examples of creased stock. Die cutting machines for creasing may also cut, fold, and further customize materials.
- Perforating: Perforation creates series of punched holes or lines in materials matching the shape of the design needed. Rather than cutting through the material entirely, perforation simply makes shapes simpler to remove from stock later on. Some perforations are for in-house purposes whereas others are ultimately geared toward consumers.
- Kiss Cutting: Kiss cutting primarily focuses on shapes cut into adhesive materials. Machines for this purpose typically make partial cuts but leave a portion of the material intact. Workers may then separate the shapes from their adhesive backings as needed.
- Through Cutting: Through-cutting die cutters excise shapes. These machines completely separate designs and shapes from stock materials.
- Curling: Curling die machines bend materials into various shapes. They’re often used to create metal parts and for various phases of the machining process.
- Swaging: Swaging creates tapers in various products and can be used with a range of materials, such as metal and plastic.
These are only a few of the possible uses for die cutting machines. These days, many machines come as complete systems designed to carry out multiple functions. Developers are increasingly branching out in this regard to meet the full needs of their clients.
Growth Factors in the Die Cutting Machine Market
As far as die cutting machine types go, platen models currently dominate the market. Authorities expect this trend to continue for the foreseeable future. Machines in this classification have become increasingly important to companies in the product packaging sector as well as businesses that create their own packaging for products.
Packaging is an integral component of product quality, customer satisfaction, marketing, and brand recognition among other aspects. This portion of the manufacturing process was highly labor-intensive and time-consuming until die cutting machines entered the market.
Considering the versatility of today’s machines, workers now need only load stock into the machines, and the remainder of the process is fully automated. Companies can lower operating costs, reduce the workload on their employees, and decrease the likelihood of injuries among other benefits.
Rotary die cutting machines are rapidly gaining ground in various industries, making them the second-leading factor driving growth in the market. Analysts expect sales of these types of machines to surge more quickly than other varieties because of their numerous advantages in manufacturing.
Efficiency, speed, and versatility are among the main benefits of rotary machines. They provide quick turnaround rates, require little human intervention during production runs, and can aid in reducing waste. These machines can essentially take products from beginning to completion. Some can cut, fold, assemble, laminate, emboss, and perform other tasks all in a single machine.
Examining Hurdles in the Die Cutting Market
In the past, the major hurdles facing die cutting machine manufacturers were meeting clients’ safety and budgetary needs. Machines required significant upfront investments as well as ongoing maintenance needs. Some also presented certain safety risks for operators.
Developers have addressed those previous issues, making operating die cutting machines safer for users. Advancements in materials and techniques have also offered a great deal of resolution where cost is concerned.
Today, diversity is the key challenge hampering machine manufacturers. Companies are increasingly seeking out customized die cutting machinery to meet their distinct needs. Creating those tailor-made setups can be difficult for engineers and developers in the die cutting industry. At the same time, this factor could also drive growth for those able to meet clients’ increasingly varied demands.
Die cutting machine sales are set to intensify during the coming years. While several industries will be involved in this uptick, reports indicate industrial and manufacturing applications will drive the majority of the growth to come.
Product packaging, specifically, and platen folding and gluing machines are bound to spur the most sales throughout the pending decade. Still, automotives, textiles, pharmaceuticals and a wide range of other industries won’t be left out of the mix.
As more industries and individual companies come to realize the numerous advantages and applications of die cutting machines, the market could take a few unexpected turns during the years to come. Increasing customization options are sure to pique prospects’ interest; as a result, sales are bound to meet, if not exceed, analysts’ predictions.