Foil and embossing tooling – Which material should I use for my die (cliché)?

which material foiling die cliche

Which material should I use for my die (cliché)?

Here at Profoil, we’ve detailed a few points for you to consider which should help you make the right choice of material when ordering dies. We also have our easy online ordering system which you to place an order quickly and securely, without having to wait for a response from processing staff.

The three choices of material we offer are magnesium, brass and copper. Each material has its own advantages and can offer something different. Below are a few points on each which should be considered when looking at what material to order.

Why Choose Magnesium Dies?

magnesium foiling blockOur magnesium dies are produced through an advanced UV light and chemical etching process and are always quality checked and finished by hand before final approval and dispatch. Magnesium dies are available in a range of thicknesses which should be chosen based on the substrate being foiled onto and/or your machine set-up – refer to Type-Height. The thicknesses we offer are 1.6mm, 3mm, 5mm, 6.35mm & 7mm gauge. Magnesium has a huge range of benefits such as;

  • Ideal for very short to medium runs – typically limited to 30 – 40,000 stamps dependent on substrate
  • Can be produced quickly without sacrificing quality
  • Inexpensive and often more cost effective than brass or copper
  • Ideal for smaller foiled areas
  • Perfect for adding an embossed, textured finish to a printing job
  • Lightweight so easy to receive, handle and lockup

Why Choose Brass Dies?

brass foiling blockOur brass dies are produced using a CNC engraving process. Using always the highest-grade brass sheets, we are able to offer brass in 6.35mm and 7mm gauge thicknesses to accommodate different machines setup. The advantages of brass are as follows.

  • Ideal for medium to long runs – approx. 100,000 plus stamps
  • High mechanical strength & easy to process
  • Better heat conductivity & foil transfer than magnesium
  • Excellent corrosive resistance – good for storage
  • Sharp, straight shoulders to give a high definition finish
  • Can be used for all foiling applications
  • Deeper etch can be achieved (available upon request)
  • More environmentally friendly than other materials

Why Choose Copper Dies?

copper foiling blockCopper dies are becoming harder to get hold but thankfully to our commitment of environmental compliance, we’re still able to offer this material. As with magnesium, copper is also produced by using the same advanced UV Light & chemical etching process and as with all of our dies, they’re hand inspected and required to pass quality inspections before dispatch. We can offer both 6.35mm and 7mm gauge copper dies to suit your requirements. The benefits of copper are;

  • Copper can hold close, intricate detail much better than brass or magnesium
  • Very durable and so is perfect for medium to long stamping runs into hundreds of thousands
  • Excellent heat conductivity
  • Great for thin, complicated and/or over-lapping lines and small font type
  • Can offer detail that CNC brass dies cannot produce
  • The durability of copper means it can offer a longer contact time to produce a higher quality foil stamp
  • Copper is ideal for adding an embossed textured finish to your job

What is Type-Height?

The most important dimension for your stamping machines is the Type-Height. Originating from the traditional letterpress print machines (many of which have been converted to hot foil stamping and embossing), Type-Height is a set dimension that everything used within the press should calculate up to. For example, the heater/embossing plates, foiling and/or embossing dies, photo-polymer plates and your makeready.

In the British-American Point System Type-Height is 23.32mm (0.918”). But elsewhere across Europe and the East, it varies to 23.5mm (0.928”).

It is important that you don’t exceed your Type-Height dimension as you risk damaging your materials and platen during impression.