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Flexible Material Converting Techniques

Times are tough in today’s economy with increased inflation and labor costs; optimizing your fabrication and converting techniques can give you a competitive advantage over the competition. Often, the converting method and the efficiency of the process determines whether a project is won. The good news is that we can help!

The Gund Company offers a wide array of converting services to meet and realize your most complex design challenges. Our engineering team will use our expertise in converting techniques and materials to provide you with high-quality and streamlined solutions from start to finish.


Converting Methods

All processing methods have advantages and disadvantages depending on the application. Of course, new technology may improve the efficiency of a process in some capacity, but the essential function of the method remains the same in the following techniques:

Die Cutting

Perhaps the most economical of all options is die-cutting. A part can be die-cut in several ways, but flatbed and rotary die-cutting are most common.

Flatbed die-cutting is the simplest method. For high-volume parts that use large amounts of material, flatbed die-cutting can be cut quickly. This method can cut virtually any material, so flatbed die-cutting is extremely versatile. Completely flat pieces used for dielectric spacers would be an example of a part produced using die-cutting.

Rotary die-cutting can also combine processes to reduce set-up costs and improve efficiency. However, due to the high accuracy and combination of techniques, tooling costs in rotary die-cutting are often more than tooling in flatbed die-cutting.  For high accuracy and high-volume production, rotary die-cutting is a great solution.

Waterjet and Laser Cutting

A waterjet utilizes a high-pressure stream of water to cut a narrow line in a material. Similarly, a laser cutter uses a laser to slice through a material in a narrow line. These processes require virtually no tooling costs, which can help with prototypes or quick turnaround parts. Traditionally these methods have not been as fast as die-cutting, so for high volume production, the tooling costs associated with die-cutting may be a lower-cost option long-term.

Heat Forming and Thermoforming

Heat forming and thermoforming refer to the process of transforming a flat plastic sheet into a shape by using heat and pressure. Once the material is heated to a temperature high enough to allow forming, pressure is applied to form around a shape or mold. As such, complex 3D shapes are achievable by these methods. Heat forming can form around a mold by manual pressure, but thermoforming often uses a vacuum to provide pressure from suction to the heated plastic material. Battery components such as battery covers, chassis liners, and phase barriers are often formed by these methods. Unlike waterjet or laser cutting, tooling charges vary depending on size, complexity, temperature requirements, and reusability.

Knife Cutting and Machining

Knife cutting and machining use blades, bits, punches, or other tools to cut through a material to form a particular shape. Usually, there is a tooling charge associated with maintenance of the cutting tools, which can vary depending on the type, size, machine, material, and other factors.

Comparison Chart


Secondary Operations

Sometimes a combination of processes is required to produce a part. After fabrication, these secondary operations can be applied to a component to make a finished product.

Scoring and Bending

Scoring or bending are often combined with cutting operations to form complex shapes. This is especially beneficial for high-volume parts compared to thermoforming or heat forming because tooling cost and set-up time can be reduced while production speed increases. This process is effective with PolyPro FR® because this material can replace typically thermoformed components such as battery covers, chassis liners, and phase barriers at a much more competitive cost.


An adhesive can be applied to the insulation material by lamination to assist the product’s assembly. Laminating two materials together can also provide enhanced performance for some applications. Laminating is usually done before the cutting conversation operation. The adhesive can be cut to the same shape as the cut product.


Materials may be embossed or printed to display messages to the user. These could include identification numbers such as a part ID, technical information, or safety information.


There are many ways to fabricate/convert flexible insulation materials to parts for electrical and thermal applications. By combining the processing capabilities discussed with a versatile electric and thermal insulation material, you can provide high performance at the lowest cost.