Make it Yours – A Guide to Different Custom Converting Processes

Posted by Casey Cephas | 4/23/20 8:39 AM

The more innovative and unique your product is, the more likely that you will need to create new components that aren’t readily available. This may sound like a daunting task, but it’s actually quite practical through custom materials converting.

Custom converting is an overarching term that applies to any process that modifies original material to suit your product design. It can be as simple as slicing a sheet of material to a different size, or as complex as combining multiples processes to create an innovative, fully operational product.

While the possibilities of custom converting are virtually endless, there are a handful of popular processes you can use.

Laminating.

The laminating process combines two or more materials to improve the overall strength, appearance, or function. One common example is attaching an adhesive to a substrate. To ensure quality of the product, it's important to prevent air bubbles or contaminates from getting trapped between the layers. After all the necessary materials are combined, the laminated product can be cut and used in production.

Typical applications:

  • Adhesive-backed liners for assembly or bonding
  • Foams for filters and seals
  • Security or tamper-evident materials

Slitting.

Raw material from suppliers is provided in large rolls, also called master rolls. To improve manufacturing efficiency, slitting is a process of converting the material into a more usable size. You provide the desired specifications, and we run the master through a slitting machine, which uses a sharp blade to cut the material. We can also perform precision slitting to accommodate tight tolerance and exact sizing.

Slitting can be used for two purposes. The resized material can be spooled as the end product. Or, it can go on to the next step of the production process to create a finish component or product.

Typical applications:

  • Tapes
  • Adhesives
  • Fasteners

Cutting.

A variety of cutting processes can be used to create custom, complex shapes of raw material for your product design. These include rotary die-cutting, flatbed die-cutting, and laser cutting. Depending on your needs, the cut-out shapes can be delivered on their own or combined with a backer liner.

Typical applications:

  • Gaskets and seals, including barriers against fluids and contaminants
  • Shielding
  • Buffers (sound, vibration, friction)
  • Adhesives for bonding or assembly

Cuffing or creasing.

If your component or product isn't designed to be flat, material will need to be folded. This is where a cuffing or creasing process comes in. Specialized machines will accurately and efficiency form the material – typically by pulling an edge or side and folding it over to the designed construction.

Typical applications:

  • Copper shields
  • Foam gaskets
  • Conductive metal tapes

Assembly.

Once all the individual components are produced, it’s time to put them together to create the finished product. There are many advantages to having your custom converter partner also handle assembly, including reducing in-house labor and streamlining the manufacturing process (since the converter already has all the parts).

Typical applications:

  • Electronic devices
  • Medical devices

Printing.

Printing is often thought as its own category – but it's still considered converting since it's modifying original material by placing ink onto a substrate. There are two types of printing used in manufacturing. Aesthetic printing is used for adding graphics and text to the product or packaging. Functional printing uses specialized inks that adds some level of functionality to the substrate. Depending on your product and needs, there are several printing processes available.

Typical applications:

  • Labeling
  • Product identification
  • Instructions
  • Printed indicators
  • Tamper evident security printing

Combining multiple converting techniques.

Often, it will take a few different materials and processes to achieve the result you need. That's when working with an experienced customer converter becomes exceptionally valuable. At Tapecon, we offer a wide range of converting capabilities under one roof. Just as important, we also provide the materials expertise to ensure properties are compatible and improve the manufacturability of your design.

Get started with custom converting.

At Tapecon, we have over 100 years of experience helping customers solve their complex product challenges. Learn more about our custom converting services.

Topics: Manufacturing, Printing, Custom Converting, Adhesives, Shielding

Written by Casey Cephas

Casey is the Marketing Coordinator at Tapecon Inc.

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