Die Cutter And Digital Cutter: How to Choose

Aug 17 , 2021

Is a die cutter or a digital cutter more convenient? Large companies offer die-cutting and digital cutting to help their customers create unique shapes, but everyone is unclear about the difference between them.

Many times we, as manufacturers, find ourselves having to answer this question. Let's first try to clarify the meaning of the terms "die-cutting" and "digital cutting".

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Digital Cutting

Unlike die cutting, which uses a physical die to create a shape, digital cutting uses a blade that follows a computer programmed path to create the shape. A digital cutter consists of a flat table area and a set of cutting, milling and scoring attachments mounted on an arm. The arm allows the cutter to move to the left, right, forward and backward. A printed sheet is placed on the table and the cutter follows a programmed path through the sheet to cut out the shape.


In the printing field, die-cutting provides a quick and inexpensive way to cut a large number of printed pieces into the same shape. The piece is printed on a square or rectangular sheet of material (usually paper or cardstock) and then placed into a machine that has been equipped with a specially designed "die" (a block of wood with a metal blade that is bent or folded into the desired shape). When the machine presses the printed piece and the die together, it reduces the shape of the blade to the material.

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Which is the better option?

The simplest answer is, "It all depends on the type of job. If you want to trim a large number of smaller items printed on paper or card stock, die cutting is the more cost-effective and time-efficient option. Once the die is assembled, it can be used over and over again to create a large number of the same shapes - all in a fraction of the time of a digital cutter. This means that the cost of assembling a custom die can be somewhat offset by using it for a large number of projects (and/or repurposing it for additional future print runs).

However, if you want to trim a small number of large-format items, especially those printed on thicker, tougher materials such as foreign exchange, foam board or R-board, digital cutting is the better option. There's no need to pay for custom molds; plus, you can create more complex shapes with digital cutting.

Digital cutting already utilizes automated processes, and automated machines allow them to perform more accurate calculations and be highly competitive globally. These machines offer the flexibility to handle different types of materials and thicknesses. This is certainly a new business opportunity for machine manufacturers and an excellent resource for companies that have hitherto had doubts about purchasing a lettering machine due to a lack of automation.

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Our Choice

According to market research and industry journals, the printing market is experiencing a period of significant growth in the digital industry. This is largely due to a sharp decrease in order volume and a significant increase in demand variety. Typesetting is increasingly faced with demands for small quantities, custom jobs, fast delivery and competitive pricing, which are not suitable for offset and die-cutting processes.

Reputation in the marketplace is certainly an important factor, but I recommend that you consider other aspects: actual cost of use, available support, additional services, warranty terms, ease of use, and installation and training time.


VICUT has fair production capacity that can meet real needs - not just expectations. Please contact us to get more industrial information.