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Puzzle Production: How Are Jigsaw Puzzles Made?

May 06, 2024

This article primarily focuses on jigsaw puzzle production, highlighting the machinery and techniques employed in modernized intelligent factories for manufacturing puzzles. It also narrates the history of jigsaw puzzle production and showcases the various manufacturing methods employed in different eras.




The History of Jigsaw Puzzle


Jigsaw puzzles have a rich history dating back to the 18th century. The origins of the jigsaw puzzle can be traced to the 1760s, when London cartographer John Spilsbury created the first known "dissected map" puzzle. Spilsbury mounted a map onto a wooden board and then cut it into small pieces along the country borders, creating an educational tool to teach geography. 

Over the decades, jigsaw puzzles have remained a beloved pastime, with new features and materials being introduced. In recent years, the rise of custom puzzles featuring personal photos has added a unique twist to the traditional activity. This innovative approach not only enhanced memory retention but also fostered visual-spatial reasoning skills. This marked the creation of a universally enjoyable and enduring puzzle game.





Jigsaw Puzzle Production Process


Puzzle Printing


Most jigsaw puzzle manufacturers use lithographic printing technology to imprint puzzle patterns onto paperboard. It is a process in which oil-based paint is transferred onto the paperboard through a rotary printing method. This method is cost-effective and suitable for large-scale production. Another emerging method is laser printing, which has become a trending choice. This method offers greater flexibility but comes with a slightly higher cost.



Automatic Lamination


The Automatic Lamination Machine is used in the coating process, applying one or multiple layers of protective coating onto the printed design of the puzzle. This enhances the puzzle’s surface hydrophobicity and durability, ensuring long-lasting use without fading or corrosion. Following this, hot foiling is performed using either high-gloss or matte foil, adding texture and aesthetic appeal to the puzzle.


Next, the printed puzzle image will undergo adhesive application using the Automatic Lamination Machine, typically utilizing water-based, non-toxic adhesive. Subsequently, it will be bonded to the cardboard. After bonding, the puzzle is usually left to rest for several days until the adhesive is fully cured.


The paperboard used in puzzle factories is generally purchased externally, and some high-quality puzzle factories require specially customized paper. Common types of paperboard include Greyboard, and wood-based materials.


 ● Greyboard: Greyboard is more affordable, but it tends to have more paper scraps, resulting in an average tactile experience. It’s difficult to restore its shape if it gets creased.


 ● Wood Board: Wood boards are characterized by their hardness, resistance to deformation, durability, strong interlocking, and relatively higher weight. However, their drawback lies in the tendency to become brittle and the presence of more wood chips. With technological advancements, wood board materials have gradually matured, and there is a trend toward replacing Blue Core Paper.


 ● Plastic: Plastic offers higher moldability, customizable shapes, waterproof and moisture-resistant properties, durability, and a strong interlocking fit. It’s the optimal material for high-end 3D puzzles but lacks environmental friendliness. Its major drawback is its expensive price, owing to high mass production costs.




Puzzle Cutting


In the realm of jigsaw puzzle cutting, puzzle die cutting machine (such as hydraulic press machine) have become crucial tools for mass production. Laser cutting, due to various limiting factors, is more commonly used as a supplementary production method.

           

Hydraulic Press: In the die-cutting process, a four-column hydraulic press is commonly used due to its stable structure, larger worktable area, and higher cost-effectiveness. Typically, a 1000-piece puzzle requires a 700-ton hydraulic puzzle press, while a 2000-piece puzzle requires a 1200-ton hydraulic press. The substantial pressure places higher demands on the cutting dies. Notably, JHS Machine brand has gained global recognition for its puzzle die cutting machines, with their intelligent production lines widely adopted in the smart manufacturing processes of the world’s top ten puzzle factories.

Puzzle Scatter Process


After the cutting process is completed, the puzzles are transported to a machine vision inspection device, which checks for any missing pieces. Once the inspection is done, the puzzles are conveyed via a conveyor belt to the puzzle scatter machine. This machine is equipped with silicon rods designed for efficiently and evenly scattering the puzzle pieces at high speed while ensuring the puzzles remain undamaged.


Scattering are the subsequent processes of die-cutting in the production of jigsaw puzzles. These processes are very important for the whole jigsaw puzzle production because each piece can be lost during the dispersing and bagging process. Therefore, this is the most problematic issue for dispersing and bagging tangrams, especially for tangrams with more than 1000 pieces. JHS machine brings out the reliable and efficient vertical jigsaw puzzle bagging machine into the market.


1. Adopt servo control system, saving 50-70% energy.


2. The pressure is stable, the pressure error is ± 1bar, and the repeatable positioning accuracy is up to ± 0.02 mm.


3. Low failure rate, automatic alarm and fault indication, and one-key reset function.


4. Remote maintenance services can be achieved.


5. Multi-level pressure, multi-speed and contiuns fixed pressure functions can be set.


6. It adopts an overall frame structure with high strength, small deformation and durability.

           



Puzzle Bagging and Packaging


Next, the puzzle will go through the puzzle bagging machine for PE film heat sealing packaging, followed by entering the testing phase conducted by quality control personnel. After passing the inspection, it will be boxed and delivered to consumers' hands.


           
Puzzle bagging machine is a specialized piece of equipment designed for the efficient packaging and bagging of jigsaw puzzles and other non-solid puzzle products.Puzzle packaging machine often integrate multiple functions like bag making, filling, sealing, printing, inflation/exhaust, cutting, counting, and piece insertion. It can achieve high production speeds of 10-30 bags per minute.

Conclusion


The production of jigsaw puzzles involves numerous specialized equipment and expertise, requiring continuous technological accumulation. To stand out in the industry, the intelligent upgrading of production lines is imperative.


JHS Machine offers a complete range of automated solutions, including puzzle press machines, puzzle scatter machines, puzzle bagging machines, puzzle packaging machines, jigsaw die cutting machines, and more, all essential in the puzzle production process. These solutions have been consistently supplied to world-class puzzle manufacturers and are exported to over 40 countries worldwide. If you have any inquiries about puzzle production processes and equipment, please feel free to consult our team of experts.

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