Posted by Mike Burris on | Comments Off on Die Cutting vs. Waterjet Cutting: Which One Should You Use for Your Project?
More cutting methods are available today than ever before. While friction sawing used to be the primary industrial material cutting option, there are now nearly a dozen viable choices.
Not all cutting methods are created equal — which isn’t to say that one is categorically better than another, but rather that they all have their own strengths. To ensure the accuracy, efficiency, and cost effectiveness of your next project, each designated cutting method specified for a particular part should be a major consideration starting in the design phase.
Two of the more common cutting methods that manufacturers offer today, die cutting and waterjet cutting, each have benefits that are suited to particular needs.
Waterjet cutting, exactly as its name implies, uses highly pressurized jets of water to cut through soft materials. When harder materials such as metals or plastics are needed, abrasive mineral can be added to the water to enable the waterjet to cut these materials as well. This method offers several benefits over die cutting and other cutting methods.
Primary among these benefits are the clean cuts that the process generates.
Many companies consider waterjet cuts to be “finish cuts,” aesthetically acceptable cuts that require no secondary finishing processes. This is important for applications where financial budgets or time constraints are a concern — finishing processes add both time and money to your project.
The second important benefit of waterjet cutting is that it generates little heat, and transfers even less to the material being cut. This is important for a number of reasons:
It allows for the use of waterjet cutting on meltable and flammable materials — such as plastics, laminates, acrylics, and more — that can’t be laser or plasma cut
It prevents the release of heat-generated toxins into the workplace
It doesn’t create heat affected zones on cut parts, thereby eliminating a secondary finishing process that laser or plasma cut parts often require
Waterjet cutters are able to maintain tighter tolerances in their cuts because the cutters are controlled by highly accurate computer software. Additionally, the process creates no mechanical stresses in the material being cut, eliminating the loss of tolerance caused by warping.
Die cutting is a very common method of cutting, wherein sheets of material are stamped with a die in order to create the required part. Die cutting carries many benefits:
Most die cutting processes, including rotary die cutting and progressive die stamping, are continuous processes. In these processes, rolls of material are continually fed into the equipment and stamped parts are continually output.
Simple parts in particular can be produced at great rates. Simple flat cogs, as an example, can be completed in one second with a single stamp. More complicated parts can be quickly manufactured by utilizing a progressive die stamping process.
Particularly important for large volumes of identical components, die cutting creates parts with a high degree of uniformity. Punching a part out with one swift movement prevents variances that can occur in processes that cut a shape around the edges. Tool and die fatigue can occur, but a quality stamper will know his machines and replace affected equipment long before they can impact the quality of the parts.
Because of its ability to create very high volumes of parts with a high degree of uniformity, die cutting is a relatively inexpensive method of cutting. The high output reduces time and, therefore, labor costs, and uniform products reduce losses related to quality assurance.
Additionally, die cutting equipment is fairly standard — many companies perform die cutting, so competition keeps costs reasonable. Tool and die manufacturing can be costly, but high volume part orders can easily negate that one-time expense.
Cutting with CGR
Over the course of more than 50 years, CGR Products has developed expertise with a range of different cutting methods — not only die and waterjet cutting, but also knife cuttingand more. Not every method is the same, nor are they all suitable for any project.
Posted by Mike Burris on | Comments Off on Material of the Month: EPDM Rubber
Highly Resistant and Versatile: A Solution for Everyday and Specialty Applications
This blog post is the third installment of a new CGR Products content series called “Material of the Month.” The series spotlights some of the unique materials that CGR works with, as well as their common applications.
Material selection can make all the difference when bringing a simple design idea to life. From cross linked polyethylene (XLPE) to acrylic foam tapes, our Material of the Month series highlights the benefits of these unique materials. This week, we’re featuring EPDM rubber.
What is EPDM Rubber?
Ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) rubber, also known as synthetic rubber, is a smooth elastomer used in a wide variety of both specialty and general-purpose applications. It is resistant to heat, weather, and steam, and also functions as an excellent electrical insulator.
Benefits and Uses
EPDM rubber is exceptionally resistant to heat, oxidation, electricity, ozone, weather aging, and polar solvents such as alcohol, water, ketones, alkalines, and diluted acids. The water resistance and insulating qualities make EPDM rubber a popular choice for cable-jointing and other electrical applications.
EPDM rubber’s most frequent use is in seals for automotive vehicle windows, doors, and trunks, as well as cold-room doors, such as a refrigerator. The material’s strong insulating properties help to prevent water, heat, or cold from entering the sealed environment.
Other common uses of EPDM rubber include:
Automotive weather stripping
Tubing and hoses
Custom Fabrication at CGR
At CGR Products, we offer smooth, black commercial EPDM sheet rubber with thicknesses ranging from 1/16” to 1/2” and a PSI of 725. Our precision die cutting, knife cutting, and waterjet cutting services can trim synthetic rubber sheets to fit the exact shape and size required for your application.
Posted by Mike Burris on | Comments Off on How Are Rubber Materials’ Tolerances Calculated?
Rubber parts are becoming more popular for manufacturing because of their ability to deliver flexibility in a wide range of temperatures and situations. Versatility is a top benefit, but only if materials are designed correctly.
To prevent failures of critical parts and processes, the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) has developed a table of tolerances that can guide in design decisions. Tolerances rely on industry standards for a variety of processes, considering cure time, temperatures, compound registration, and more.
With help from the RMA designed table, you can easily address design questions, and not over or under design the part.
Importance of Adhering to Tolerances
Rubber tolerances allow engineers to design and create products that meet the design. Making known that you adhere to RMA-prescribed tolerances helps your customers know you are meeting their design criteria.
Understanding RMA Tolerances
RMA tolerances also give you a great place to initiate discussions with purchasers when they’re looking for specialty pieces. Rubbers at long lengths can stretch or compress easily during the manufacturing process, so tolerances for longer lengths give you a starting point so you can make arrangements for measurement techniques.
Tolerance schedules are extremely important to engineers. CGR Products’ RMA Tolerances Table shares length and width tolerance dimensions of die-cut sheets or strip, expanded, and closed cellular rubber.
You can rely on this guide to ensure adherence to RMA standards for drawing designation thicknesses of .030 inches to more than .50 inches. The guide will help assure that your parts and products meet requirements from standard through non-critical applications. It includes an example of how to calculate tolerances for a material.
Posted by Mike Burris on | Comments Off on Material of the Month: Acrylic Foam Tapes
VHB Tapes can replace mechanical fasteners, liquid adhesives and more
This blog is the first in a new CGR Products content series titled “Material of the Month.” The series will spotlight some of the unique materials and their applications that CGR works with.
Our first material on the list is acrylic foam tape.
What is acrylic foam tape?
CGR handles and converts a wide range of acrylic foam tapes manufactured by 3M. Very high bond (VHB) tapes can act as a fastener in place of mechanical fasteners, liquid adhesives, and more in certain scenarios.
The closed-cell foam is viscoelastic, utilizing energy-absorbing, and stress-relaxing properties. VHB can also conform to the irregularities of all rigid substrates, even when there might be a slight mismatch, while maintaining high internal strength.
Benefits and Uses
Acrylic foam provides outstanding strength and durability for even the most demanding applications. It offers an instant and permanent bond for both static and dynamic forces in exterior and extreme conditions. The material can absorb shock against wind, vibrations and other high performance stresses.
In tests, the VHB tapes yielded 92% retention of peel adhesion after the roll was aged for more than 5 years at 150°F. Initial tack and liner release properties were still excellent, proving VHB’s ability to tolerate long-term exposure to periodically elevated temperatures.
In addition, the all-acrylic construction of these tapes offers:
Resistance to extreme temperatures, UV light, moisture, and solvents
Sealing against environmental conditions
Prevention against bi-metallic corrosion
Elimination of pull-through, dimpling, and weld distortion
Custom Fabrication at CGR
As a 3M Preferred Converter, the CGR team has years of experience customizing acrylic foam tapes to fit specific shapes, sizes, and profiles for different projects. Our precision die cutting services, including rotary and flatbed die cutting, as well as die-less knife cutting can deliver custom kiss-cut parts on a continuous roll or pad, ready to use.
To access performance data and learn how 3M VHB tape can benefit your application, visit our library of technical data on acrylic foam tapes.
Posted by Chuck Keeley on | Comments Off on Cutting vs. Converting – What’s the Difference?
Don’t Get Tangled Up in Terminology
The CGR team gets a lot of requests for cutting, converting, and fabricating. Fortunately for our customers, we do it all. As far as we’re concerned, these terms refer to the same process — the process of transforming a raw material into a precision component for your part.
If you participated in Manufacturing Day this month, you may have gotten a chance to dig into some of the processes and services from manufacturers across the country. We’re happy to break down some of our cutting capabilities right here, right now.
We specialize in flexible, non-metallic materials at CGR Products —that means custom parts, shapes, sizes and forms for markets of all kinds, cut from an immense range of elastomer, rubber and related thermoplastic materials. Each and every material —and family of materials —comes with specific capabilities to accommodate all types of industries.
Cutting, Converting or Fabricating?
As we said above, we do it all. Some of the specific methods we use to cut and convert materials at CGR include:
Die Cutting: Both rotary die cutting and flatbed die cutting are optimal for high volumes and precise tolerances.
Kiss Cutting: This special type of cutting (or converting) transforms sheets of material into sheets of parts that can be removed individually from a backing or liner.
Knife Cutting: This is one of the fastest methods for producing a part. It’s great for prototypes.
Slitting and Splitting: A shearing process, slitting or splitting takes a large roll and trims it into narrower or thinner rolls or sheets.
Waterjet Cutting: The accuracy and precision of a water jet cutter is ideal for soft materials.
Don’t forget that we also offer custom manufacturing and fabrication for projects that demand molding, extrusion. laminating and beaded gaskets.
Check out all of our available services, or call the team to discuss your particular project today. We look forward to cutting, or converting, or fabricating with you!
Posted by CGR Products on | Comments Off on North Carolina Manufacturing Facts
For over 50 years we have provided North Carolina and the surrounding areas with cutting precision gaskets for MRO applications and OEM and MRO products for different markets. As we continue to be a key player in the manufacturing industry in North Carolina, we would like to note that manufacturing plays an important role in our state.
An extensive number of companies make up a diverse group of manufacturers in the state of North Carolina. According to the National Association of Manufacturers, the total manufacturing output in North Carolina was $76.8 billion as of 2009, and employed approximately 431,400 manufacturing workers in 2010.
North Carolina’s manufactured goods exports are the most robust part of the state’s economy, contributing tremendous amounts of revenue through taxes and diverse employment. Additionally, 89 percent of North Carolina manufacturers are small businesses, showing that smaller companies have the ability to succeed in the state. To further support manufacturing in North Carolina, we can look at the growth in exports since 2003. Exports grew 50 percent in North Carolina, significantly driving the state’s economy and leading to a higher quality of life for residents.
Manufacturing continues to boom in North Carolina, with President Obama visiting in early 2014 to present a new high-tech manufacturing hub. The Next Generation Power Electronics Innovation Institute in North Carolina is an organization that was created to bring companies, educational organizations, and federal research together to create new electronic products.
As manufacturing continues to expand in the U.S., North Carolina offers manufacturers an attractive location to produce their goods. Support from the federal government, educational organizations, and local businesses mean that manufacturing will be able to continue to flourish for years to come. The benefits of manufacturing in North Carolina will continue to positively impact the local and national population.