Even the finest punches, those made from ultra-hard tool steel, age. Time is a tool’s enemy here, and there’s no way to put time on pause. However, there are operational factors in motion, which can be regulated. For instance, just by incorporating a planned maintenance program, punches extend their lifespans. Meanwhile, behind the controls, there’s another issue to address.

Correcting Operator Error 

Perhaps the equipment worker is unused to a certain model. Whatever the reason, the high-strength punching material is experiencing premature wear because of this individual. Educate the operator. Make sure the worker applies the strip-starting mechanism correctly. Feed release issues, die clearance problems and shut height configurations, all of these punch wearing actions can be minimized when a seasoned equipment operator is at the punch tool’s controls. Of course, this matter needs a different solution if the equipment is automated. Calibrate and realign the tool controls, for automated machines can’t repair themselves.

Manage Equipment Variables 

Numerous processing variables are in flux during a punch operation. Perhaps the tool is new and certain to last. On the other hand, resharpened tools require maintenance. In this case, the microcrystalline structure is not entirely rigid. It’ll require more maintenance and more sharpening. In the meantime, moving down the troubleshooting table, the tool steel is rigid and super-hard, but the press components are causing trouble. Common in older machinery, the bore keys or tool head guides are probably nearing the end of their lifespan. If the part is replaceable, have the equipment serviced. Otherwise, upgrade the punch equipment.

Less Costly Options 

Of course, machine upgrades are expensive. Maybe there’s another option? If the hit counter isn’t too high, it might be worth cleaning the guides and keyways. Waste can get everywhere, after all. Next, tighten loose components, because this is an impact-heavy tool. From a broader perspective, use the clues at hand. A handful of ejected slugs can quickly provide a solution, but the machine worker has to know what to look for when this ejecta is collected. Have the slugs examined by an expert, someone who can read a fracture plane like it’s a storybook.

Following Occam’s Razor, the simplest solution is normally the correct one. If the punch machinery is making a noise, the problem is going to make itself known at the punch point. It’ll dull or break. To really extend the tool’s lifespan, the equipment components must be aligned, must be precisely in motion during all stages of the punching operation. Likewise, new punches last longer because their material bases aren’t used. Lastly, to double-down on the troubleshooting side of things, have those ejected slugs examined.