Cutting With Your Hot Kiss
Properly mounted dies on a well-maintained press hardly require make-ready since the surface of the die is of even height. An even counter board underlay, such as poster board, chip board or polyurethane will help in cutting, and it will also protect the edges of the die from dulling or smashing.
To prevent the melted vinyl from sticking and building up on die shoulders, use a release agent such as OWOSSO Release coating. This is an advanced Teflon-like release coating, which has better releasing properties than older spray-on types. Release coatings are most helpful on fine detail and difficult jobs. Even with the newer release agents you need to keep your heat settings in check. Too much heat will result in burned material, raised ridges on part edges, and, in some cases, cut parts that get heat-welded to their backing sheets.
By now you’re probably wondering how many cutting impressions are possible with magnesium dies. Just as for steel rule dies, the material substrate and temperature being used contribute to the longevity of a die. For reflective vinyl with beads, a die might only last for 300 to 500 strikes. Contrast this with a report we’ve received from Houston about a company getting over a million impressions, on 2-mil vinyl — and they’re still using that same die. Trust us, this isn’t just another tall tale from Texas!
Putting bearers around the die can prevent damage from too much pressure. When dies are mounted, they should be centered on the press plate as much as possible, so that even pressure is applied. If a die design has images that are lop-sided, off to one side, this creates an unbalanced load on the press. For more uniform cutting, place pressure bearers on the open side to compensate.
Please give OWOSSO a call when you are cutting unusual printed material or materials with heavy UV coatings. We can point out where you may experience trouble, and it will help you get a clean, sharp cut.