Mask Consistently

No matter what your finishing process, you can always benefit from consistent masking. It will improve the product quality and speed up the production process. One of the easiest ways to achieve that consistency is with pre-cut adhesive tape masks.

Pre-cut shapes of adhesive tape that you peel off a roll and stick on the part are known as die cut masks. They are available in any shape from a basic disc to a complex profile designed to match the part you need to mask. They can be manufactured from a number of tapes to suit your finishing process. Die cut masks can also be produced with features to ensure the masks are aligned correctly.

Die cut masks

The process of producing die cut masks is very simple. Your masking company will need some details of the part you want to mask. This can be supplied in the form of a drawing or even by using the part itself. Once they have that information they will be able to prepare a sample of the mask and from that they can generate a price. Within a few days of submitting the information you can have a sample of the custom mask in your hand to test. Once you are satisfied that the mask works your masks can be produced. Following that, every time you run the job you can simply peel off the masks from the roll and stick them on the part. Giving you a consistent mask each and every time.

Die Cut kits.

Another option with die cut masks is to produce a kit of masks for a particular part. Die cut kits are ideal where you have a number of areas on a part that must be masked. The kits can be produced as a sheet or in rolls where all the masks for the part are combined together on one sheet. The person responsible for masking the part can then match the masks to the part. They can also see when the part is completely masked as they have used all of the masks in the kit. Kits can be identified with the reference number of the part. They can even be laid out in a particular orientation to match the orientation of the part.

Advanced features.

There are many features that can be added to die cut masks in order to customize them to your situation. Some of those are as follows:

Tabs can be added to die cut masks, to help you remove the die cut from the roll and also to help you remove the mask from the part after it has been finished.

Die cut masks can be provided on slit back liner, where the liner is slit along the length of the roll. This is especially useful when applying odd shaped die cut masks as half the mask can remain covered with liner as you apply the mask.

Perforations can be added between masks so they can be torn off the roll.

Alignment marks can be added onto the masks to show areas of the mask that must be aligned first or to show the part number of the piece that the mask should be used on.

A clear transfer tape can be added to the top layer of a mask. This technique is best used where there is pads or islands of a part that need masking. Masks are cut with the same spacing as on the part. The liner is then removed to expose the adhesive whilst the transfer tape on top keeps the masks in place. The sheet can then be put down with all the masks aligned in the correct position.

Selective adhesive exposure, also known as aircraft window mask style, works best on larger masks. The masks only have the adhesive exposed around the outer edge. This makes them much easier to handle and position on the part.

So if you are not already using die cut masks then call your masking company and ask them about die cut masks. Die cut masks are sure to bring quality and consistency to the parts you manufacture, whilst speeding up your manufacturing process.

Written by John the article was published in Finishing Magazine.

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Mask consistently with die cut masks