Die cutters and die cutting machines convert web or sheet materials into shapes. They are used to process woven cloth, non-woven textiles, and rubber sheets. There are two basic types of die cutters and die cutting machines: clicker presses and rotary die cutters. Clicker presses are used in the manual conversion of web materials and include switches, pendants, and pushbutton controls. Clicker presses typically consist of a wide table or plate with a smaller swing-arm head. Traveling head and full head machines are used for more demanding applications. Rotary die cutters or roller press die cutters are used in the high-speed conversion of web and sheet materials. These machines press roller-shaped cutting dies against a web. As the roller dies rotates, web materials are inserted and then converted into shapes. Both clicker presses and rotary die cutters are used in laboratory applications such as process parameter studies, material development, and sample preparation. 

Important specifications for die cutters and die cutting machines include capacity or operating force, stroke, throat, daylight or open height, maximum sheet length or working length, and maximum sheet width or working depth. The capacity or operating force is the maximum pressure that the slide or ram can exert at the bottom of the stroke. In mechanical presses, capacity measures the main shaft’s ability to bend. Stroke is the ram travel from top dead center (TDC) to bottom dead center (BDC). Throat is the distance from the centerline to the back frame in a gap frame, C-frame, or similar type of press. Daylight or open height is the distance in the open position between the ram and the table or bolster plate. The maximum sheet length or working length is the largest dimension that can be punched, formed, or converted. Conversely, the maximum sheet width or working depth is the smallest dimension that can be punched, formed, or converted. Both the maximum sheet length and the maximum sheet width are measured from right to left.

Die cutters and die cutting machines use several common technologies. Some devices are air-powered or driven by pneumatic cylinders. Other machines include hydraulic components that generate enough force to form metals or other materials. Hydro-mechanical die cutters and die cutting machines are powered by hydraulic cylinders and hydraulic motors. Purely mechanical devices use screws, toggles, levers or other mechanisms. Die cutters and die cutting machines that use rotary motors, servo controls, and servomotors are also available. Manual presses are low-cost devices that are suitable for simple applications such as producing identification cards.