Laser Cutting vs. Die-Cutting

Nameplates & Dials, Overlays, Panels

If you are in the nameplate business, you have probably heard the terms laser cutting or die-cutting before, but do you know when one cutting technology should be utilized over the other? Each method of cutting possesses its own set of advantages depending on the project.

Laser-cut, polyester overlay.

Laser-cut, polyester overlay.

Laser Cutting

Laser cutting is a form of cutting that utilizes a CO2 laser as a cost-effective alternative to steel rule die-cutting. Due to the narrowness of the laser beam, cutting with a laser can provide improved precision, and is a good choice to use for projects that require small and/or detailed cuts. The laser cuts all the way through the material, dropping out all internal cuts. Another benefit of laser cutting is the fact that the zone affected by heat is quite small compared to using die-cutting, which decreases the chance of the material warping where it is being cut.

Metal nameplate cut using a compound die.

Metal nameplate cut using a compound die.

Die-Cutting

Die-cutting requires die tooling which consists of cutting blades embedded in a wooden base surrounded by rubber cushions. Outside shapes and interior holes can then be die-cut in a single stroke. Hard tools (also known as Class A Tools) perform the same process; however they are made out of a harder steel and consist of both male and female tools. This results in a tighter tolerance and an extended tool life that can last millions of strikes before needing to be replaced. One area where die-cutting outperforms laser cutting is the quantity and speed at which it can cut materials. Since a die is able to cut multiple areas in a single stroke, it is able to perform at a much faster rate than a laser cutting machine.

While each form of cutting has its own list of pros and cons, ultimately the one you decide to go with depends on the specific product being cut. Always make sure to ask your manufacturer for their recommendation, and if cost is a factor be sure to take initial tooling charges into account when making your decision.


If you would like to learn more about Wilson-Hurd’s Nameplates & Dials, Overlays, Panels division and our printing and fabrication capabilities, please visit our website at www.wilsonhurd.com, or fill out and submit the form below:


Wilson-Hurd, founded in 1904, offers custom printing, fabricating, and electronic manufacturing services specializing in Electronic Control Products, Printed Electronics, POP Displays, Medical Contract Manufacturing, and Nameplates & Dials, Overlays, Panels.

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8 Useful New Features of Wilsonhurd.com

If you have visited Wilson-Hurd’s website sometime in the last 3 months, you might have noticed some major changes. On February 3rd, 2015 we launched our brand new corporate website, adding a variety of new features that are designed to make the product design and ordering process even easier for our customers and prospective clients. Take a look at some of the new things you can do on wilsonhurd.com:

1. Design Guidelines

Wilson-Hurd’s new Design Guidelines have been created by our Engineering department to assist you with the development of your custom Electronic Control Product. Each set of Design Guidelines features:

  • Important things to consider before designing your product
  • Construction details
  • Available materials
  • Tooling options
  • Electrical layout
  • Technical details
  • Word glossary defining important terms, and much more.

Design Guidelines are currently available for capacitive switches, elastomeric keypads, membrane switches, PiezoPanels, and Touchscreens, and can be found on their corresponding product pages.

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Designing a Touchscreen: Where to Begin

Touchscreens are gaining popularity with manufacturers as an alternative to other switching technologies, and it is easy to see why. When it comes to user interfaces, touchscreens have successfully changed the way electronic equipment is used by simplifying the user experience and eliminating the need for buttons or keys. If you are considering incorporating a touchscreen into the design of your product, there are key items that you should consider.

First you should understand the difference between a resistive touchscreen and a capacitive touchscreen.

Resistive TouchscreenResistive Touchscreen Illustration

A resistive touchscreen is constructed using two clear conductive layers (typically a glass or acrylic substrate and a polyester top sheet) that are separated by insulating dots. When the user touches the screen and compresses the top flexible layer, electrical contact occurs between the top and bottom layer.

Capacitive TouchscreenCapacitive Touchscreen IllustrationRGB

Voltage is applied to the corners of a capacitive touchscreen and distributed by a pattern of electrodes located around the touchscreen periphery. This creates a uniform electric field across the conductive surface. When the user touches the screen with a conductive object (such as their finger), they are drawing a minute amount of current from the surface. This change in capacitance is measured at each point on the touchscreen allowing the touch position to be located.

Before you actually sit down and design your touchscreen, there are at least four main considerations you need to take into account:

  1. Environmental conditions
  2. Software requirements
  3. Firmware requirements
  4. Appearance

These will help you determine the materials and types of technology to utilize in your touchscreen. For each consideration there are a number of questions you will need to ask yourself:

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Visit Us at GlobalShop 2015

The display featured in the above video will be shown at Wilson-Hurd’s GlobalShop Booth #4259  –  Come and check it out in person!

Wilson-Hurd’s POP Displays division will be attending GlobalShop once again this year. The annual event is the world’s largest tradeshow focused on retail design and shopper marketing. It runs from March 24th-26th at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

Wilson-Hurd’s POP group will be at GlobalShop showcasing a variety of POP products including counter displays, signage, logo plates & components, illuminated displays & overlays, graphic overlays, and cosmetic appliques. This year, Wilson-Hurd will also be featuring a new type of display that incorporates video, motion sensing, and LED backlighting. Check out the video above to learn more.

If you haven’t purchased your tickets yet for GlobalShop, you can do so by visiting their website.

We look forward to seeing you there!

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Booth #4259

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To learn more about Wilson-Hurd and our capabilities, please visit our website at wilsonhurd.com, or give us a call at 800-950-5013.

Featured Projects: Custom Designed Guitar Display

Guitar Detail 2

Wilson-Hurd’s POP division has demonstrated their unique, and sought-after capabilities by developing a custom designed, over-sized guitar display. This permanent display is an exceptional way of highlighting any company’s brand to make it stand out.

Product features include:

  • 1/2″ medium density fiberboard body, painted black
  • Digitally printed wood grain & embossed aluminum frets on neck
  • Overlay made of .118″ acrylic, graphics are digitally printed, screened with a gloss topcoat for protection, and laser cut to fit the shape of the body
  • Pickups on the guitar were created by embossing our cosmetic brite aluminum
  • Laser cut, white vinyl used for the pick guard
  • Includes authentic Les Paul guitar parts (tuners, bridge, and gold knobs)
  • Strings consisting of 2 different wire gauges
  • Matching painted black stand allows for the guitar to stand alone
  • Horizontal or vertical wall mounting also available with slots in back side of guitar
  • Assembled at our plant in Wisconsin then individually packed and shipped to your requirements

Guitar Detail

Contact us today to order your brand’s exclusive guitar display, or for more information on Wilson-Hurd’s Point-of-Purchase capabilities.

1.800.950.5013

sales@wilsonhurd.com

 

Are you a current customer of Wilson-Hurd? If you would like your company’s project to be featured on the homepage of our website in our “Featured Projects” section, please e-mail us at marketing@wilsonhurd.com.

Featured Projects: Electronic Theatre Controls

Capacitive 1

Wilson-Hurd has been honored to work with the Middleton, WI-based company Electronic Theatre Controls (ETC) on a number of projects, including ETC’s own CEM3 System. The CEM3 System was designed by ETC to help reduce setup time, simplify system backups, and make the process of networking a lighting system run as smoothly as possible. The CEM3 platform provides a simple and risk-free way to control lighting on stages and touring events.

Wilson-Hurd’s engineering team was able to brainstorm and combine the most effective manufacturing capabilities to give the CEM3 System these key features:

  • Capacitive touch wheel for precise lighting controls
  • Extremely tight color control using digital/screen printed combination of graphics
  • Adjustable backlit keys & LEDs for easy viewing in dark control rooms
  • Precisely embossed keys to provide explicit snap action key response
  • Assembly of the keypad to powdered coated metal backpanel

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For more information on Electronic Theatre Controls, please visit their website here.

To learn more about Wilson-Hurd’s capabilities, please contact us at 800.950.5013 or e-mail us at sales@wilsonhurd.com.

Are you a current customer of Wilson-Hurd? If you would like your company’s project to be featured on the homepage of our website in our “Featured Projects” section, please e-mail us at marketing@wilsonhurd.com.

Printed Electronics: Endless Possibilities for Innovation

Have you ever stopped to think about how many times you use something electronic in a day? Electronics have become a staple in people’s lives all over the globe, allowing us to communicate instantly with one another, make purchases online or in a store, and even get from Point A to Point B.

A great deal of engineering & design work can go into making these electronics, as well as complicated manufacturing processes. Thanks to advances in technology electronics are getting easier and cheaper to manufacture. One of the most efficient new manufacturing methods is the ability to print an entire electrical device on various substrates, a process resulting in Printed Electronics. Before we get into how these flexible devices can benefit you & your company, let’s first explain how they work.

What are Printed Electronics?

Various printing methods can be used to deposit electrically functional & optical inks onto a substrate. The inks can be deposited in any pattern to suit the type of application it is being made for. The result is a fully functional electronic device that can be thin & flexible, or more durable depending on what it’s for. Widths of traces can vary from super fine to broad.

Materials used for printed electronics can include polyester, polycarbonate, polyimide, and FR-4. Substrates can then be coated to protect the printed pattern. Top-performing inks, coatings, & plating include:

  • Silver
  • Copper
  • Aluminum
  • Nickel
  • Gold
  • Silver/Carbon

The printed electronic devices can then be molded, cut (laser or die), or formed into any required shape.

Printed Electronics Copyright Wilson-Hurd 2014

What are the Advantages?

The versatility of printed electronics is a huge draw for all manufacturers and markets. Some common applications for printed electronics include:

  • Antennas (VHF, UHF, RF)
    • Digital TV
    • Wireless
    • Security
  • Disposable Medical Items
  • Flexible Circuits
  • Flexible Pressure & Temperature Sensors
  • Automotive Embedded Circuits
  • Contour-Shaped Products
  • Printed Memory & Batteries
  • Wearable Technology

Printed electronics have also been used for flexible displays, animated posters, smart labels, and even clothing. When you start to think about what could be done in the future with printed electronics and all the different uses that they could serve, a multitude of possibilities open up.

While versatility is one huge benefit of printed electronics, another is low-cost volume fabrication. With the ability to create more electronic devices at a lower cost to you, it is a win-win situation. Some companies have even started to develop disposable printed electronics specifically for the medical industry where sterilization is always a concern. Patients can use the electronic device, and then dispose of it when they are done with it, something you wouldn’t want to do with an expensive circuit board.

Printed Electronics 3 Copyright Wilson-Hurd 2014

What are the Possibilities?

Every day scientists and engineers are coming up with innovative new ways that printed electronics can be used in all kinds of applications. It could be that someday instead of having to visit your doctor for a check-up, you put on a disposable monitor that can send your health information straight to your doctor’s office over the internet.

Perhaps someday we’ll be able to wear workout clothing that can monitor your heart rate, distance, & number of calories burned during a run, or maybe we’ll be able to wear a t-shirt that uses solar activity to charge our cell phone.

There are an infinite amount of possibilities; your next step is discovering what printed electronics can do for you.

Printed Electronics 1 Copyright Wilson-Hurd 2014

Wilson-Hurd Manufacturing specializes in the production of custom electronic control products, printed electronics, contract medical manufacturing, point-of-purchase displays, and metal & plastic nameplates, overlays, dials & panels. Wilson-Hurd was founded in 1904, and is headquartered in Wausau, WI, with additional locations in Berlin, WI.

For more information on Wilson-Hurd and our capabilities, visit our website at www.wilsonhurd.com, and contact us at 1.800.950.5013 or at sales@wilsonhurd.com

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