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Turret punching is a process of precision machining, which produces products or parts of the products with high level of precision, and specializes in sheet metal fabrication. Turret punching is also called CNC turret punching, as it follows the instructions that come from the program of the computer, in order to make standardized and sophisticated products.
The machine or device that is used in the turret punching is called a turret punch, also known as a turret press, a punch press machine, or a hydraulic punching machine. Turret punching is performed by two turrets that work simultaneously, one is for the punch from above, and the other is for the die below the workpiece.
The turret in the turret punch is worked as a hydraulic ram, which is clamped in a hydraulic fluid that provides lubrication for the turret and prolongs the lifespan of the tools, up to six million hits per tool.
The directions of the movements in the turret punching are guided by the two lead screws, one for the X-axis and the other for the Y-axis. It is recommended that it’s better for repositioning only one axis at once, so the Y-axis is usually restricted with the X-axis moves following the instructions.
Turret punching is primarily applied for the sheet metal fabrication. Sheet metal is a thin layer like a piece of sheet that is made of metal, and has great malleability, which is free from fracturing during machining works.
Sheet metal fabrication usually creates holes, squares or anu other shape or pattern on the metal sheet, which require high precision and speed for making a large volume of the products.
For achieving the high precision that sheet metal fabrication needs, the operation would follow the CNC turret punching, which the patterns are designed and the movements of the turret is set up by the computer, then the desired patterns would be made by the turret punch or turret press with minimize deviation.
Besides, the CNC turret punch can not only provide the optimal precision, but also offers high speed of operation. The working speeds of the turret punch range from 80 to about 300 hits per minute (hpm), which ensures the efficiency of the device.
As the above introduction has mentioned, the turret punch is operated by two turrets working at the same time. One of them is mounted over the workpiece and is called the punch, which is the sheet metal, and clamped on the ram with hydraulic fluid. The other is set under the workpiece and is called the die.
The punch and the die are aligned and work through the same routes. When the punch presses holes on the sheet metal, then the metal of the holes would fall into the die synchronously, which allows for recycling the unused metal.
The application of turret punching in the sheet metal fabrication shows the versatility of the turret punch, since it can not only press holes on the workpieces, but also perform several secondary operations, such as tapping, blanking, forming, extruding, and deburring of the workpieces.
This feature of the turret punch free the manufacturers from adopting more tools or devices for doing these secondary operations, which increases the cost of the labor expenditure and the maintenance, as the additional tools or devices require more operators to operate and control.
In the field of sheet metal fabrication, turret punching and laser cutting are two main methods to do the job. However, these two methods are preferred differently from the past until now, since there are some variations in the capabilities between them.
● operation method
The turret punching is performed by the punch and the die over and under the sheet metal. With the force from the punch of the hydraulic ram, the holes and patterns are made on the sheet metal following the instructions of the computer.
In contrast, in laser cutting, a laser cutter use a focused beam and gas to vaporize sheet metal, which form the desired cutout by the heat that are produced from the beam and the gas. The lase cutting can be operated by the operators manually or follow the CNC technology to be automatically operated.
In general, the turret punch produces fewer hits per minute than the laser cutter, which seems like the turret punch is not cost-effective, as it requires more time to produce certain number of products.
However, as far as we know, the turret punching allows for versatile applications since this device can also work for other secondary operations without other tools, while laser cutting does not own this advantage.
When taking the total expenditure from the tools that might be used, and the time that those tools should be maintained, the cost of the turret punching would be less than the laser cutting process in the long term.
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