Kiss Cutting for Optimal Productivity

Kiss cutting is a popular print-finishing technique that delivers unique and detailed adhesive designs. This die cutting process yields a wide variety of products that can be used for different applications, such as labels, stickers, and decals. It also enables users to engineer more functionality and complexity to customer solutions with a low-cost approach for pressure-sensitive materials.

What Is Kiss Cutting?

Kiss cutting is the process of cutting an adhesive material only deep enough to carve the upper layer, leaving the back layer intact. Hence, a crack and peel surface is created for easy removal. This method is called kiss cutting because the knife penetrates the top layer while only “kissing” the laminated backing paper without cutting it.

While kiss cutting is a die cutting technique, they differ in how they cut workpieces. In kiss cutting, the machine only cuts the upper layer of the material, and the backing paper is typically larger than the design. Meanwhile, die cutting entails the precise cutting of the material — including the backing paper — to fit the shape of the design.

Advantages of Kiss Cutting

The kiss cutting technique is well-known in various industries for its many benefits. While convenience is the most significant gain companies can receive from kiss cutting, it can also provide numerous advantages, including high-quality production, better handling and shipping, and affordability.

High-Quality Production

With kiss cutting, manufacturers can better control the production process. This cutting method consolidates operations, allowing manufacturers to produce items with more complex designs in fewer steps. Hence, it is easier to achieve tighter manufacturing processes and ensure products with consistently superior quality.

Better Shipping and Handling

Kiss cutting provides manufacturers and clients with more organized storage space since products usually come in either roll or sheet form. Further, rolled kiss cut products are easier to transport and less vulnerable to shipping-related damages.

Cost-Effective Manufacturing

Since kiss cutting is a streamlined manufacturing process, turnaround time decreases, and machines don’t need to run for as long. This helps manufacturers save time, money, energy, and labor costs.

Kiss Cutting Processes

Adhesive materials used in kiss cutting are usually composed of several layers: the self-adhesive material, an adhesive layer, a silicone layer, and a backing paper or foil.

The kiss cutting die only cuts through the self-adhesive material, the adhesive layer, and half of the silicone layer. This way, manufacturers can remove the adhesive material without tearing the backing foil.

Specifically, kiss cutting can be achieved through the following processes:

Manual Kiss Cutting

In manual kiss cutting, manufacturers employ the cutting technique by hand. The cheapest and easiest way is with a sharp knife beside a ruler. Although not as accurate as the mechanically-cut products, this process is the best choice for small kiss cutting projects.

Kiss Cutting With a Steel Rule Die

Kiss cutting with a steel rule die uses a machine and a special tool to cut the materials. This technique is best used for designs with complex shapes and specifications.

Kiss Cutting With a Plotter

This kiss cutting process does not require a special tool to cut materials in different shapes and sizes. However, the production volume is low and can only be applied for shorter runs of kiss cutting.

Kiss Cutting With Rotation Machines

Rotation machines only allow kiss cutting in straight lines but are efficient for high production runs.

Materials for Kiss Cutting

Kiss cutting can complete any task requiring a shallow material cut. Its most common products and components include gaskets, valves, and plastic screen protectors. Additionally, manufacturers can use numerous material types to perform this die cutting technique, such as the following:

  • Vinyl
  • Foil
  • Viton
  • Closed-cell sponge material
  • Butyl rubber
  • Stickers
  • Foam

Types of Kiss Cutting Machines

Kiss cutting machines vary from die cast to laser cutters. These cutting equipment are employed to achieve highly precise cuts that require accuracy, control, and uniformity.

Rotary Die Cutting

Die shapes for rotary die cutting machines are cylindrical and mounted on a rotary press. The kiss cutting material is fed through the device, and the cylindrical die is pressed against the material’s web. Meanwhile, the anvil pierces the material to ingrain the design. This process can be fulfilled rapidly and ensures the final image is correctly aligned and uniform.

Flatbed Cutting

The steel rule — a series of sharp metal strips curved into the preferred shape — is sited on a hydraulic, mechanical, or electric press to perform the kiss cutting technique. This machine involves several parts to accomplish the cutting task:

  • Feeder
  • In-feed module
  • Cutting station
  • Steel rule die assembly

Laser Die Cutting

This kiss cutting machine utilizes laser beams to accurately and efficiently cut materials into custom shapes. Laser die cutting enables manufacturers to perform more complex and intricate shapes and designs for kiss cut products with faster turnaround times.

Thermal Die Cutting

Materials are shaped using thermal displacement with the thermal die cutting machine. In this method, manufacturers use controlled heat to displace the workpiece’s small portions and produce the desired kiss cut shape. The concentrated heat in thermal die cutting prevents the materials from being distorted or damaged, resulting in accurate and intricate designs.

Cutting Table

This device functions similarly to the flatbed cutter. However, the cutting table machine uses an arm to move the cutting tool across the material instead of using a die to perform the cut. With this machine, manufacturers can select from various blades that determine the width and depth of the cut.

Plotter Kiss Cutting Machine

This equipment routinely loads and cuts workpieces because of its automated cutting system. The plotter kiss cutting device can cut different sheet sizes, while the depth and shape of the cut can be easily programmed using the machine’s interface.

CNC Router

The computer numerical control (CNC) router is operated by computer programming. Thus, kiss cutting becomes highly automated and can perform several types of cuts on various materials. Additionally, kiss cut designs are created using CAD and translated into G code instructions for the CAM through horizontal, vertical, and perpendicular coordinates.

Hydraulic and Mechanical Press

Hydraulic and mechanical presses are popular for their capability of cutting materials that are traditionally challenging to cut and shape. These devices utilize adjustable plates pressed onto the workpieces to generate kiss cut products.

Clamshell Kiss Cutting

Similar to old printing presses, clamshell kiss cutting machines have two sections pressed together to cut any material into the desired shape and design.

Kiss Cutting Applications

Using kiss cutting to cut and produce various parts substantially refines the efficiency and handling of manufacturing and assembly operations. Because of this, companies employ this cutting process to generate several products and components, including the following:

  • Labels
  • Stickers
  • Gaskets
  • Iron-ons
  • Adhesive tapes

MCMILLANCO’s Kiss Cutting Capabilities

At MCMILLANCO, we provide kiss cutting services with our multipurpose in-house machine that offers precise lamination for electronics and medical parts and mass-produced graphical promotions. With this, we can complete kiss cutting projects with a fast turnaround time and fulfill a more comprehensive selection of customer needs!

Contact us today, and our team will be delighted to respond to your inquiries about our products and services. You can also request a quote to start working with MCMILLANCO for your kiss cutting projects!