die cutting vs. water jet cutting

Digital-Fabricator - Dr. Dietrich Müller GmbH

die cutting vs. water jet cutting

die cutting vs. waterjet cutting

Today, there are more cutting methods than ever before. While sawing was once the primary option for cutting industrial materials, today there are nearly a dozen viable options.

To ensure project accuracy, efficiency and cost-effectiveness, any cutting method intended for a particular part should play an important role in the design phase.

Two of the most common cutting processes offered by Dr. Dietrich Mueller GmbH are punching and waterjet cutting. Both manufacturing processes each have advantages that are suitable for specific requirements.

Waterjet cutting

Waterjet cutting, as the name implies, uses jets of water under high pressure to cut soft materials.  When harder materials such as metals or plastics are to be cut, an abrasive material can be added to the water to allow the waterjet to cut these materials as well.  This method offers several advantages over punching and other cutting methods:

  • clean cuts
  • low heat
  • tolerances

Advantage of waterjet cutting: clean cuts

First and foremost among these advantages are the clean cuts produced by the process.

Many companies consider waterjet cuts to be “finished cuts,” aesthetically acceptable cuts that do not require secondary finishing processes. This is important for applications where financial or time constraints are a factor – finishing processes cost time and money in your project.

Advantage of waterjet cutting: Low heat

The second important advantage of waterjet cutting is that it generates very little heat and transfers even less to the material being cut. This is important for a number of reasons:

It allows waterjet cutting to be used on fusible and flammable materials – such as plastics, laminates, acrylics and more – that cannot be cut with lasers or plasma. It prevents the release of heat-related toxins in the workplace. There are no heat-affected zones on the cut parts, eliminating a secondary finishing process that is often required with laser or plasma cut parts

Advantage of waterjet cutting: Tolerances

Waterjet cutters are able to maintain tighter tolerances on their cuts because the cutters are controlled by high-precision software. In addition, this process does not create mechanical stresses in the material being cut, eliminating the loss of tolerances caused by warpage.

When manufacturing parts from electro-insulating materials, it should be taken into account that it is often necessary to dry the manufactured parts. We realize this in an oven under a light vacuum.

Punching or die cutting

Punching is a very common method of cutting, where material is punched with a tool to create the desired part.  Punching has many advantages:

  • Speed
  • Uniformity
  • Cost

Advantage Punching: Speed

Most die cutting processes, including rotary die cutting, steel rule die cutting and progressive die cutting, are continuous processes. In these processes, rolls of material are continuously fed into the system and punched parts are continuously output.

Simple parts in particular can be produced at high speed. Simple gaskets, as an example, can be completed in one second with a single stroke. More complicated parts can be produced quickly by using a progressive die.

Punching advantage: Uniformity

Particularly important for large quantities of identical components, punching produces parts with a high degree of uniformity. Punching out a part with one quick motion eliminates variation that can occur in processes that cut a shape around the edges. Tool and die fatigue can occur, but a stamping parts specialist knows his machines and replaces affected components long before they can affect part quality.

Stamping advantage: Cost

Because of its ability to produce very large quantities of parts with a high degree of uniformity, stamping is a relatively inexpensive method of manufacturing parts. The high output reduces time and therefore labor costs, and uniform products reduce losses associated with quality assurance.

Dr. Dietrich Müller GmbH offers both manufacturing processes for the production of precision parts made of electrical insulating materials, heat conducting products, sealing materials and technical films.

Pricing for waterjet parts and stamped parts

Prices for parts made of various materials can be calculated using our “Digital fabricator” tool.


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