CNC (or Computer Numerically Controlled) punching is a manufacturing process used to punch sheet metal accurately. The metal is positioned under the punch by a computer controlled press which can move along an X and Y axis. This process can be used to create holes of different shapes and sizes in the metal and is often used in construction, electronics, agriculture, automotive and aerospace applications.
What CNC punching machines do
CNC punching machines can reach speeds of 1000 hits per minute, making them fast and efficient for mass production. Efficiency models also offer non-thermal features so there are no heat affected zones. This can increase operation speed as no zones need to be revisited.
CNC machines can also produce 3D forms, which allows for countersinking and tapping directly on the sheet metal, reducing the number of processes needed to create the final product. This feature can also be used to emboss or dimple.
There are a number of considerations for buying a CNC punching machines. The size of the machine depends on which method is used to process sheet metal. Single-part processing uses metal cut to size and results in a smaller machine with a more compact footprint. Full-nesting processing creates a sheet of punched parts which are then removed from the machine for processing and sorting. This can be better for large scale production.
Some machines may have automation options for loading and unloading, removing debris and sorting and stacking parts. The complexity of the part will determine how many tools are required and the turret will need to accommodate this. Production time varies between models, with some faster than others. It is important to consider set up, tool changing and part removal time on top of this. A machine with a complicated or time consuming set up process will negate any production time savings.
To summarise, you’ll want to consider the machine footprint, part complexity and operation speed to find the model that best fits your business and produces the parts you need.