What is an automatic punch press?

Posted on Aug 18, 2020

Automatic Punch Press

Manufacturers use a wide range of machines to process and process raw materials in finished processes, one of which is a punching machine. If a certain type of raw material is too difficult to cut by hand, the manufacturer may use a punch press. This large, heavy-duty machine is able to cut through hard materials including metal with ease, leaving holes the same shape as the punch die.


What is a Punch Press?

An automatic punch press is a large machine with a hydraulic cylinder on the top. It typically has a front workstation where a single worker can operate the actuator. When the worker activates the actuator, the workpiece is pressed against a fixed, stationary die. This creates a hole in the workpiece as well as a new piece from the workpiece that has the same shape as the die.

Punching presses are especially suitable for mass production of small parts of uniform shape from raw material. Even if the worker can punch holes in the workpieces manually, it is faster and more efficient to use a punching machine.


Punch Die Sets

Punching presses rely heavily on die sets to perform the intended punching operations. The set of dies includes both male and female dies. One of these dies is positioned above the workpiece, while the other die is positioned under the workpiece. The hydraulically fed raw material creates a hole in the workpiece, driving the punch into the die.


CNC-Controlled Punching Presses

While some manufacturers use manually operated punch presses, many use numerically controlled (CNC) presses. CNC controlled punching machines use the same hydraulic cylinder to punch pre-formed holes in the workpieces. The difference, however, is that the CNC-controlled punching presses are semi-automatic using a computer.

As with other CNC controlled machines, CNC controlled punching presses allow manufacturers to streamline manufacturing operations. Instead of manually operating the punch press, manufacturers can program it to run automatically. CNC punching machines still require human intervention, but are capable of automating many tasks that would otherwise require human intervention.


Mechanical Punching Presses

There are two types of mechanical punch presses: full turn and partial turn. Full-speed punch presses follow their namesake, requiring a full crank cycle while partial punch presses only require a partial crank cycle.

The revolver punch has been used to punch blank sheets since three-quarters of a century. For the making of a small volume of parts in a short amount of time, the punch press always has been more efficient than a conventional stamping press. In the last 20 years, laser cutting technology has addressed the tooling requirement with even faster setups, eliminating punches and dies completely. For the turret punch press market to survive, manufacturers had to reinvent the machine.

Today, punching is only half of what a new turret press can do. Adding additional operations is critical to reducing process time, and adding automation reduces service time. These possibilities have been used in modern machines.


The Punch Cycle

Earlier turret presses had a fixed single stroke cycle that traveled from top dead center to bottom dead center and back up. With the new machines, the stroke can be started and stopped at any point in this cycle, which increases the number of beats per minute (HPM) with less movement per stroke. The stroke speed can also be adjusted, allowing time for material to flow like in a forming operation.

The environmental benefits of the new punching cycle are reduced tool impact noise and the elimination of hydraulic oils through the use of electric motor technology.


New Features and Applications

The guided punch cycle made it possible to add many new applications to the turret press, eliminating the need for a second, third, and even fourth operation. One example is using the tool to feed the material and then sliding the material through the tool to perform another operation, such as a diamond-tipped stylus, which marks the material. This simple function can be used for parts identification, assembly instructions and company logos.

The controlled punching cycle also allows the height of the forming and penetration tools to be adjusted through the CNC of the machine, which improves the consistency of the forming and improves the appearance and quality of parts. It also provides faster set-up and eliminates mechanical adjustment by trial and error.

Thanks to the controlled punching cycle, a notching process is also possible, which improves the quality of the edges of long cuts. The material is scored on the top and bottom surfaces, leaving a small amount of material in the center. This scratch can be punched or pressed into the material using a controlled stroke. After the blank is removed from the machine, the notched area is broken up like a cracker which leaves a radius to the edge and eliminates the deburring process. This operation also holds the parts firmly in the blank so that sensitive tabs are not needed.

:: Read more:  Hydraulic Press Punches Ahead of the Era


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