Gasket manufactures have evolved over the years to provide new and improved innovations for all sorts of gaskets and seals. Die cutting gaskets is ultimately the simplest and most cost effective process manufactures offer. Through the years this method has evolved to incorporate low watt lasers to cut gaskets into intricate shapes and designs. This article will go in-depth into how these processes work.
Die cutters are machined tools used to outline a design, in this case a gasket, and used with a hydraulic press to shear material out of large rolls of raw material. This raw material can be anything from rubber to metallic materials. This process is similar to how a hole puncher used for office supplies work. The press will house the die under the hydraulic press and during operation will press itself into the material cutting it to the die’s design.
These dies are usually made of steel rule, have a long life expectancy, and are great for mass production. Die cutters can produce hundreds to thousands of gaskets and seals per hour. It has very low-tooling cost and great for high volume orders. Design tolerances can be anywhere from tenth to thousandth of an inch from the desired design. Because this is a shearing mechanism there is a slight risk that materials could be frayed or has scoring on the edges, but if done properly this can be avoided.
Laser cutting, A.K.A. Carbon Dioxide Laser, was developed in 1964 and is still one of the most useful lasers today. The laser produces a beam of infrared light with a wavelength band around 9.4 to 10.6 micrometers. The laser is stationed on a movable track above the raw material, where a narrow infrared beam is directed toward the material and cuts out the design.
It is considerably fast compared to some methods of gasket making, but is second to the die cutter. It has great precision due to its computer control guide and has no shearing effect on material cuts. It has been recommended to use only on non-metallic materials for proper gasket cutting. Metallic based materials can take use of a YAG laser which faster than CO2 based, but has issues handling plastics, rubbers, and wood type materials.