Condition Monitoring & Preventive Maintenance for Die Cutters & Tooling


Posted 2/14/2024

Die cutters play a crucial role in various industries, enabling precise and efficient cutting of materials ranging from paper and cardboard to fabrics and plastics. To ensure optimal performance and longevity of these machines, implementing a proactive maintenance strategy is essential. Preventive maintenance not only safeguards the equipment but also contributes to improved productivity and cost-effectiveness in the long run. Condition monitoring of die cutters and tooling will improve productivity, standard part quality and reduce costs for the user.

perform condition monitoring on die cutters
Image courtesy CGR Products

Methods of Condition Monitoring for Die Cutter Blades and Tooling

Single-axis MEMS accelerometers mounted in a tool holder sensor node, can immediately detect chipping of tooling when moving average root-mean-square (MARMS) and a peak power spectral density (PPSD) are measured and tracked. Accelerometers, however, are unable to predict or prevent blade chipping or other similar damage. 

Motor Current Signal is already commonly monitored in many stamping and milling operations, but is typically not monitored as a measure of blade or tooling condition.

Temperature can be used to monitor blade wear in the milling process, infrared methods are not the most accurate method due to the emissivity of the blades. Temperature sensors are often not appropriate for harsh environments and have difficulty monitoring rotating components. Strain gauges can be mounted on tool holders and will give accurate torque measurements. Strain gauges are already commonly used in to measure cutting forces.

Spindle Rotational Speed Signal is not a reliable or repeatable method for condition monitoring since spindle speed fluctuations are normal along with shocks and friction between the tooling and work piece.

Vibration and acoustic sensors are preferred since monitoring with dynometers and strain gauges can be intrusive and costly to install. Acoustic sensors are also able to detect the beginning of cracks in the tooling when mounted on the spindle. Some experimentation must be done to determine the acoustic threshold for developing cracks. 

Image courtesy JBC Technologies

Components of Die Cutter Preventive Maintenance

Cleaning and Lubrication

Regular cleaning of die cutter components, such as blades, cutting surfaces, and moving parts, helps prevent the buildup of debris and ensures smooth operation. Proper lubrication of bearings and other moving elements reduces friction, minimizes wear and tear, and extends the machine’s lifespan.

Inspection of Blades and Cutting Surfaces

Periodic inspection of blades for dullness, chipping, or damage is critical. Dull blades can compromise cutting precision and quality. Replacing or sharpening blades as needed maintains optimal cutting performance.

Alignment and Calibration

Ensuring proper alignment of die cutter components and calibration of settings is crucial for accuracy in cutting. Misalignment can lead to defective products and increased material wastage.

Electrical and Mechanical Components

Regular checks of electrical connections, motors, belts, and pulleys are essential to identify any potential malfunctions early on. Addressing these issues promptly can prevent breakdowns and enhance safety.

Implementing a Maintenance Schedule

Creating a maintenance schedule tailored to the specific needs of your die cutter is crucial. This schedule should outline routine tasks, intervals for inspections and servicing, and responsibilities for maintenance personnel. Training employees on proper maintenance procedures is equally important to ensure compliance and effectiveness.

In conclusion, preventive maintenance is a cornerstone of efficient die cutter management. By adopting a proactive approach to care for these machines, businesses can optimize productivity, minimize costs, and uphold product quality, thereby gaining a competitive edge in their respective industries.

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IDCON INC provides side-by-side reliability and maintenance consulting and training designed to keep your equipment running. For over 45 years, they have partnered with hundreds of manufacturing plants around the world to eliminate the costs and the pressure caused by unreliable equipment.

They offer in person and online reliability and maintenance, spare parts management, planning and scheduling, shutdown/turnaround optimization, preventive maintenance and root cause problem elimination training; strategic consulting and coaching; and provide a number of free online resources. Run your plant, don't let it run you.

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