Flexible insulators, separators, and labeling for electronics or batteries often require die cutting services. Die cutting is a precision process that can mass produce these items at competitive costs and with materials that meet these demanding applications. Flexible materials used as insulation or labeling for electronics normally have heat tolerance, flammability, and insulative value requirements, and manufacturers including 3M, Victrex, ITW Formex, and DuPont make a variety of proprietary materials used in precision die cutting for electrical parts. MCL Industries is a premium material converting, laminating and die cutting operation that specializes in the manufacture of these electronics components.
Materials Used for Die Cut Electrical Parts
Die Cut 3M Materials for Electronics
As a 3M Specialty converter, MCL die cuts and converts 3M products in a wide variety of applications including electronics. The 3M products we die cut can function as EMI/RFI shielding or electrically conductive cushioning, or as electrical insulation with materials like ThermaVolt or TufQUIN.
Die Cut Victrex PEEK film For Electronics
Victrex PEEK films are high performance polymers with good insulative properties, thermal tolerance, and resistance to harsh chemicals. This material type is bio-inert, and exhibits exceptional mechanical strength and dimensional stability. MCL has extensive experience in die cutting and converting Victrex PEEK.
Flatbed/ Rotary Die Cut Formex
Formex is ideal for many electrical applications with its combination of flame retardant and electrical insulative properties. Formex is widely used to insulate sensitive electrical components, and at MCL we flatbed or rotary die cut Formex into various insulators, separators, and spacers. MCL is one of only a few material converters in the country with extensive experience rotary die cutting Formex. This material has mechanical properties which – if not understood – can distort the end product when rotary cut. We can rotary die cut Formex with tolerances up to .020.”.
Die Cut/ Laser Cut Nomex
Nomex is an electrical insulating paper. It is used widely in electronics because of its flame retardant capacity and electrical insulative properties. Because this material is very thin compared to many other die cut insulators, it is often used as a divider, a label on electronics, or an electrical sheet insulator.
Die Cut Kapton for Electronics Applications
Kapton is a polyimide material with a high level of heat resistance. When Kapton is die cut and used in electronics, it can perform in a wide thermal range, from -452 degrees F to 500 degrees F, which makes it an ideal material choice for electrical insulation in extreme aerospace environments and in heating or cooling industrial machinery. Kapton films are often converted into insulative tapes using a silicone based adhesive.
Applications of Die Cutting in Electronics
MCL has over 30 years of experience in die cutting insulating and shielding materials for electronic applications. Our experience matters because these products are often die cut for micro-scale applications with very tight tolerances. In addition to the sizes and tolerances, the unique properties of each material influence how we bend, punch, and cut. For example, many material converters struggle to rotary die cut a material like Nomex because the process of bending it around the die distorts the material and affects the dimensional accuracy of the part. Through many years of experience, we’ve developed ways to accurately die cut Nomex and other challenging materials. Some of our favorite challenging projects include:
A Rotary Die Cut Window Shaped Insulator
This rotary die cut battery insulator is a three layer die cut 2in x 2in battery terminal insulator made from a thermoplastic polymer which we ran on our Sysco Rotary Servo Press. Our servo press gave us the advantage of simultaneously performing multiple complex processes like cutting and adhering the layers with extreme precision. Our Sysco press has a closed caption video system for re-registration which allows us to bond the layers continuously with a +/- .002” tolerance. This customer came to MCL because of our equipment capabilities, knowing that the part would require a high level of precision, as well as an ability to perform multiple processes simultaneously at high volumes.
A Die Cut Insulating and Conducting Tape for Low Voltage Applications
These two groups of die cut products were unique because of their power transmission or heating capabilities. They consist of a 3-layer laminated and rotary die cut copper element encased between polyester film sheets. In a heating capacity, they can be used with a low voltage power supply for a battery warmer or warmers woven into gear for cold environments. Depending on the application – for heat production or power distribution – we use adhesives and materials with either conductive properties or insulative properties.
Other Applications of Die Cutting in the Electronics Industry
MCL has experience with a vast array of materials and product designs for electronic applications. Some of these applications include:
– Circuit board assemblies
– Heating element insulators and conductors
– Films and screens for biometric applications
– Labeling and foil wraps for communications cables
– Aerospace circuitry
– Electric vehicle battery labels, separators and insulators
Die Cutting and Converting Services for Battery Labels, Insulators, and Spacers
Nomex Printing and Other Flame Resistant Printing, Die Cut Custom Insulators, Separators, and Labels
The battery industry is exploding in 2022 as the demand for alternatives to fossil fuels increases. Each battery contains components like insulators, separators, and labels that must be flame resistant or UL 94V0 rated. MCL supports battery manufacturers with niche services like printing on Nomex and other flame resistant materials, and manufacturing multi-later insulators or separators for batteries. Complex die cut components like terminal insulators, spacers between cathodes and anodes and simpler products like labels need to be manufactured at high volumes, which requires specialized and expensive machinery. Our equipment and experience in this space can save battery manufacturers significant startup cost and R&D. MCL’s engineering team has the experience to help design these battery components for manufacturability, and to help choose the correct materials and adhesives to achieve flammability or conductive requirements.
Manufacturing EMI/RFI Shielding Wrap for Cables and Wires
Communication cables often require a discontinuous aluminum foil tape as a shielding for EMI/RFI interference. MCL can manufacture high volumes of rolled foil tapes in various sizes, widths, and lengths, using multiple materials. Some of the unique features of die cut EMI/RFI shielding include: The need to be 100 percent free of defect or pin holes; A discontinuous tape, or include breaks in the foil materials to eliminate conduction; UL 94V0 rated; Include a polyester film lining.
Machines we use for complex die cut components with multiple layers of material.
Die cut components for electronic applications often require multiple layers of adhesive and films combined with multiple cutting or punching processes. MCL purchased a Sysco Rotary Servo Press to be able to achieve multiple processes simultaneously. This servo press can cut production time by a factor of four in some cases. In addition to production volume advantages, the servo press has capabilities that include ultrasonic welding, printing, close caption cameras for precision registration, and multiple stations to simultaneously accomplish tasks such as punching, cutting, slitting, and laminating. Our rotary servo press is operated in a clean environment with filtered air and climate control.
Why Choose MCL for Die Cut Electronic Components?
The first reason to choose MCL is our team. We have the design knowledge and experience to evaluate prints for manufacturability, provide no-cost consulting on materials and adhesives, and problem solve manufacturing issues. We are the company our material OEMs know as the final stop for complex converting needs. The second reason is our equipment. As one of the only die cutting manufacturers in the U.S. with a Sysco Rotary Servo Press, and a vast array of flatbed and rotary presses, we can complete jobs anywhere on the spectrum of tolerance and volume requirements. We also offer value added services like assembly or printing, and we are ISO 9001:2015 certified. Contact us today to discuss your die cut electronic component needs.