Die Cut Masks - The Next Generation

Features of the next generation of die cut masks.

The idea of pre-cut shapes to mask parts isn't new. It's well known they can bring quality and consistency to the final product. What isn't as well known are some of the features that can be incorporated into die cut masks. Features that can add value to the masking process by making the masking simpler and faster

Selective adhesive exposure.

Sometimes referred to as aircraft window mask style, this is a feature that is especially useful on larger masks. Instead of peeling the die cut mask off the liner, the masker peels off portions of the liner to expose adhesive in critical areas. So a large disc can be made to only stick around the outside diameter, the inner section has no adhesive exposed so it does not stick to the component. This selective exposure means the masks are easier to handle when applying and they can be removed from the finished component faster

Large awkward shapes can be made so the outer edges stick to the part in order to seal out the surface treatment and keep a clean line. The inner area of the mask has no adhesive exposed or only patches of adhesive exposed making them easier and faster to align on the component

Masking kits.

For components that need multiple areas masked, the masking kit is the way to go. Each kit contains the die cuts for a single component. As the masker is masking the component, they know that once all of the die cuts are gone the component is masked completely. Kits can be supplied in sheet form with one kit per sheet; they can be supplied on a roll with lines separating each kit. They can even be supplied loose in bags with other masking products for that component such as caps or plugs

Masking kits can be marked with the part number of the component they apply to. Each mask in the kit can have a number marked on it to match with a work instruction for the masker. Kits with a large number of loose die cuts particularly benefit from numbering each piece. Not only does numbering each piece help with masking, it helps with inspection during the kit manufacturing process. In addition to numbering each mask in the kit, instructions or markings can be added onto the die cuts to help align individual masks

For kits with multiple masks on the same sheet, the masks can be laid out in a specific order, to help orientate the masks with the part

Written by John the article was published in Surface World.

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Die cut masks the next generation