Cutting vs Converting – What’s the difference?

People often ask what the difference between cutting and converting a material is. Essentially, they are the same term. To convert a material is to change its form, character, or function. You can do this by cutting a material, but there are many other ways of converting a material as well.

Some common converting practices that don’t involve cutting include glue or adhesive lamination and coating. These are used to upgrade the properties of already shaped materials.

Types of Cutting for Material Conversion

Laser Cutting
Laser cutting is the process of using a laser to cut out shapes from materials. This is typically used for schools, small businesses, and hobbyists. The process can be dangerous so be sure to follow proper safety precautions when performing the action.

Die Cutting
Die cutting is the process of using material to mass produce and cut out shapes. There are many forms of die cutting, from rotary cutting, to flatbed cutting, CNC cutting, kiss cutting, and more.

Waterjet Cutting
This is the process of using a waterjet machine to cut shapes out of materials. This process uses a jet of water, mixed with an abrasive material if needed, to cut sheets of material. It is very useful in precise repetitive production, and is often considered more environmentally friendly.

EDM cutting stands for electrical discharge machining. This process is sometimes referred to as spark machining, spark eroding, or wire burning. It is a high voltage process that uses electricity to burn shapes out of materials. It can be very dangerous if proper safety techniques are not followed.

Knife Cutting
Knife cutting is a process utilizing a mechanized blade that cuts materials into desired shapes and sizes. The machines can be manually controlled or powered by software. Usually with versatile cutting heads, knife cutting can cut custom shapes upon request. It has a very high turnaround and high precision, but cannot cut every material.

Slitting and Splitting
These are processes that use shears to cut large rolls or sheets into narrower or thinner rolls or sheets. Materials are automatically slit without unwinding or rewinding.

Custom Manufacturing

The best part about having many options when it comes to material converting is that there’s a method for every need. Some methods are better for softer materials and some are better for metals. Luckily, the majority of cutting and converting options offer custom fabrication.

Custom fabrication means that you can approach a material converting company with your desired cut, and they can make it work. You just give them the information on what kind of cut, what kind of material, how many, and what dimensions, and you will have your exact material you need to make your project a success.

At Cutting Experts we help you along every step of the way. Our team can help you choose the best material for your project from our large inventory of products, prototype and design custom parts, or troubleshoot tricky gasket installation.

Since 1977, Cutting Experts, a division of Pioneer Rubber & Gasket, has provided the Southeast with assured quality and dependable service. No matter the size of your project or order, we work with you to deliver your material needs.

To find out more about how Cutting Experts can help you, request a quote for more information or call us at (800) 530-9051.

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