Opinions on Digital Die-Cutters

Dmiller35

Active member
My shop usually outsources most of our die-cutting to a specialty place in town but we fear that due to health concerns, their owner might close up shop in the near future.
We've looked a die cutters in the past but never felt them to be something we needed. Being a digital shop, the largest sheet size we might deal with would be 14x20. Would a digital cutter like those from Duplo or Horizon make more sense or is there another option? Keep in mind, that we do a fair amount of work for other shops that don't have the finishing equipment that we do, so flexibility wouldn't be a bad idea.
Just wondering what other people are using.
 

TJPrinter

Well-known member
Could you clarify what you mean by digital die cutter? I’d consider a digital die cutter something for very short runs something like the Duplo DPC-600 or the DPC-2024. The DPC-2024 is really just a GCC cutting plotter with creasing that Duplo put their logo on. Since dies aren’t required for these machines short run jobs or samples can be turned very quickly. These digital die cutters can certainly be useful for the right jobs.

The rotary die cutters like the hand fed UD-M300 or the UD-310 require dies to be made. So you’ll have the cost and the wait to have a magnetic die made. If you had a job for 2,500 4 up door hangers there’s no way I would want to wait for a digital die cutter to finish the job. Even the hand fed die cutter would have the job done quicker than any of the digital die cutters.

Is there a possibility that the owner of the shop down the road would consider selling? Just a thought since many of us in this business are getting up there in age.
 

Dmiller35

Active member
Selling is a possibility but I'm pretty sure their equipment is ancient and then we'd have to figure out how to maintain and operate it. When I said digital, I guess I was meaning something that could feed a "digital" sized sheet like 12x18 or 13x19. A rotary die-cutter, like the UD-310, is probably what we'd be looking for. We actually already have a small plotter with a sheet feeder on it for very small runs. We looked into a laser cutter years ago, but they all seemed to leave burn marks way too often.
 

famerdave

Member
I'm a huge fan of my DPC-600. It's fairly fast, and I'll do stuff up into the thousands. Obviously if I was doing over 10,000 of anything, I'd have to outsource it, but for shorter runs, its amazing and allows the customer to be more flexible with what shape they want.
 

azehnali

Well-known member
then you need to buy the flatbed kind with auto sheet feeding
like the intec
only way you can do both
and short runs because they are slow
they are designed for digital world which is short run
 

joshlindsay

Well-known member
I've got a JWEI LST 0806 which is what the Duplo sheet fed cutter is based on but direct from manufacturer.
It's pretty darn good. Unattended running for labels just checking the odd sheet. Diecutting is a bit different due to the less than ideal output.

We still outsource longer runs to a platen or cylinder.

 

azehnali

Well-known member
look at the post above
thats what you need
I sell my customers the intec brand version with a sheet feeder
 

jwheeler

Well-known member
Why is that what I need? Why is a flat bed better than a rotary cutter?
@Dmiller35 it mostly depends on quantity of your jobs. You can do die cutting and kiss cutting with either the digital conveyor belt type being recommended by @azehnali and @joshlindsay , or with a rotary type that uses traditional dies wrapped around a cylinder. Just keep in mind that the dies cost quite a bit and you have to wait for them to be made and delivered - once again relying on another vendor to come through for you. The rotary cylinder type will run significantly faster and is ideal for higher quantities. The digital conveyor kind will be ideal for shorter runs, and lower overall per-job cost. Sure it may run slower, but it's unattended operation, and you can start the job right away. You'll have to wait days for the dies, when you could be running the conveyor type instead and have the job ready by the time a die shows up.

Being that you mentioned you're a digital shop, it sounds like your volume would be on the lower side, so the conveyor type would be good to start with.
 

TJPrinter

Well-known member
look at the post above
thats what you need
I sell my customers the intec brand version with a sheet feeder
Without knowing what kind of quantities he’s talking about it’s difficult to say for sure that the flatbed is the best option. If he has a lot of reprint orders then he only waits for the die to be made once. Of course you could buy 3 flatbed cutters for the price of just one rotary die cutter.

He also mentioned a few other items that need to be taken into consideration. His current provider may not be in business long and he already does other finishing work for other nearby shops. The lack of a local die cutter could open up more opportunities for him if there’s no one else around. So is the flatbed still the best option? Again, quantities and the number of jobs run per week would dictate what the best machine would be.

When someone says the flatbed just needs to run longer what do they mean by longer? I don’t have one of these so I’m no help on this matter but it would be helpful to know if the average 13x19 sheet is going to take 30-40 seconds to complete or is it longer? For example, he has 5,000 4x11 door hangers to complete and they’re 4 up on a 12x18. How long will the flatbed run?

Maybe he doesn’t need a flatbed or rotary, maybe he needs this intec.
 

azehnali

Well-known member
Without knowing what kind of quantities he’s talking about it’s difficult to say for sure that the flatbed is the best option. If he has a lot of reprint orders then he only waits for the die to be made once. Of course you could buy 3 flatbed cutters for the price of just one rotary die cutter.

He also mentioned a few other items that need to be taken into consideration. His current provider may not be in business long and he already does other finishing work for other nearby shops. The lack of a local die cutter could open up more opportunities for him if there’s no one else around. So is the flatbed still the best option? Again, quantities and the number of jobs run per week would dictate what the best machine would be.

When someone says the flatbed just needs to run longer what do they mean by longer? I don’t have one of these so I’m no help on this matter but it would be helpful to know if the average 13x19 sheet is going to take 30-40 seconds to complete or is it longer? For example, he has 5,000 4x11 door hangers to complete and they’re 4 up on a 12x18. How long will the flatbed run?

Maybe he doesn’t need a flatbed or rotary, maybe he needs this intec.
how will you do boxes with that?
thats only for stickers
 

Ynot_UK

Well-known member
If you are only doing kiss cutting (stickers) the Intec SC5000 shown above (and similar machines from other manufacturers) may be OK.
However the "die cutting" done on these machines is not comparable with a flatbed. The "minute smart tags" that the cut piece is designed to pop away from the weed is not in the same league as a perfectly smooth edged, fully cut out piece that a flatbed with air compressor will give you.
 

Dmiller35

Active member
how will you do boxes?
We don't do boxes. Maybe it would help to have that functionality if we're trying to pull in work from other shops but it's not high on the priority list.
Most of what we currently outsource are Parking Hangtags / Door Hangers and labels for Gallon paint cans. Stickers and Labels have usually been small enough that we've used our small plotter. Occasionally we'll do a plasticoil or stitched book with a pocket on the back cover.
 

criccidisk

New member
I know responses have been mixed on it in this thread, but honestly I love our Intec SC5000. It's priced right for its application and has very much opened up project opportunities that wouldn't have existed for us six months ago. I did a pretty lengthy write-up on it on Reddit awhile back and since then my opinions of it haven't changed all too much. When you recognize its strengths and weaknesses, you can easily die cut most cardstock and kiss cut most label goods with it. As I mention in that Reddit topic though, its creasing tool is not particularly good if you're trying to do paperboard boxes and whatnot. It's also nowhere near as fast as a traditional die cutting machine, so while it can pretty much be left unattended, it's going to take at least 30 seconds per press sheet for it to do its thing, and with anything complex, that'll be more like 60 - 90 seconds per press sheet.

If we had the space, I'd probably go with one of the flatbed models offered by Intec, Duplo, Graphic Whizard, etc., since as another user mentioned, it holds down press sheets with a vacuum which prevents some of the issues found on the SC5000. No matter which style you choose though, these machines have matured a lot and they're ridiculously accurate and convenient for shorter runs of shaped goods.
 

TJPrinter

Well-known member
I know responses have been mixed on it in this thread, but honestly I love our Intec SC5000. It's priced right for its application and has very much opened up project opportunities that wouldn't have existed for us
Very informative review you gave here and on Reddit on the SC5000. One of these, a flatbed and a rotary die cutter would be the ideal solution if only we weren't limited by space and funds.
 

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