CAD/CAM technology is spreading into every sector. In other words, this tech isn’t reserved for industrial applications. Sure, Computer Aided Design software dazzles as it produces incredibly detailed stainless steel components, but imagine Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) as a fabrication aide in other industries. In dentistry, for example, CAD machines produce super-detailed dental prostheses. How, then, can CAD/CAM software benefit die and punch production runs? Let’s talk about state-of-the-art CNC machines.
What are CNC Machines Anyway?
Shop tools leverage their subtractive bag of tricks all day long on the machine shop floor. It’s here that the tools flip around a raw workpiece along the X and Y axis, then they return to work on the Z axis. Perhaps the guiding arm even works on all three planes at once, all while it’s controlling a drill bit or lathe. Now, how are those control signals managed? That’s a job for a Computer Numerical Control system, a machine that uses special software codes to move equipment servo motors. The codes move between computer workstations and 5-axis machines at great speed, with subtractive end tools then translating the software codes into a precise series of actions.
A Better Die and Punch Production Method
Yesteryears dies and punches were roughly cut tools. As long as they carried out their duties, their crude builds didn’t seem to impact their work. Contemporary tools simply can’t accept that degree of wiggle room. Built to the most exacting engineering standards, these tools are now built in software space. They’re drawn in that 3D space, the virtual drawing is translated into CNC code, and those special commands are sent straight to the factory floor, where they manipulate the spinning CAD-controlled equipment. The goal, as ever, is to accurately develop a series of geometrically precise tool profiles. From precisely shaped die cutting edges to the knurling on a balanced centre punch, CAM and CAD technology makes this process possible. Better yet, this is a repeatable process, one that works on batches of precisely shaped tools.
Pulled from a software library or created by an engineer and his keyboard, this state-of-the-art technology rules tooling production. Hardened stainless steel parts and super-tough carbide dies gain their complex outlines thanks to these automated equipment lines. They’re fast, practically infallible, and incredibly accurate. And that’s just the basic punches we’re talking about. When the tools are taken to the next level and imbued with ultra-complex die shapes or punch features, the CAD/CAM technology instantly scales and adapts to meet a client’s demands.