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A Comprehensive Guide to Die Cutting vs. Laser Cutting

You know you need precision cut components but are not sure what process is required to manufacture them. Do your manufactured parts require die cutting or laser cutting?

Die cutting and laser cutting are two popular methods used in the manufacturing industry for cutting various materials. While both techniques are used to cut through a variety of materials, including paper, plastics, and metals, there are some key differences that make each method unique. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the differences between die cutting and laser cutting, including how each process works, the materials they can cut, and the advantages of each method.

So how do you make the distinction between die cutting and laser cutting? First and foremost, let’s review die cutting vs. laser cutting methods.

Die cutting, the more common of the two, is the process of converting stock material into desired shapes by slitting, cutting, laminating, forming, and sealing using a die. The die cutting process produces virtually an endless supply of applications in a multitude of industries.

Laser cutting, on the other hand, is a thermal process that uses a high-speed laser to cut through materials. Laser cutting can produce a variety of cuts without ever coming into contact with the material itself.


Both methods have the ability to cut flexible material stock and produce individual outputs, so it is important to weigh the advantages of each method to make an informed decision on which method is most beneficial for you.

The three main advantages of die cutting are flexibility, customizability, and affordability. Tight tolerance capabilities, sensor registration, and in-line vision inspection make rotary die cutting ideal for cutting intricate parts with multiple layers. The equipment sophistication also allows die cutters to cut through a variety of difficult materials which adds to its flexibility.

In contrast, the advantages of laser cutting include the ability to cut difficult materials without contact, verify cut pattern immediately, cut precision, repeatability, quality, rapid prototyping, and achieving tight tolerances. Tight tolerance laser cutting can produce small and intricate shapes with complex geometries. In addition, the use of a laser over a die, alleviates the burden of tooling costs, and allows a fast turnaround for prototypes. Laser cutting can be combined with other converting processes such as slitting, laminating, rotary die cutting, and pouching in one multi-station process.

Need more help making the distinction between cutting methods or choosing the right one for your project? Our team of experts will ensure all your project needs are met.

PLITEK® is an ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 13485:2016 certified global converting leader.