Punch and Die Equipment Maintenance: Why is Proper Lubrication Important?

November 20, 2019

Kicking off with a straightforward explanation, one that forming equipment maintenance professionals know all too well, oily films neutralize friction. If there’s little to no friction during a machine’s operating stroke, then there’s less wear and less broken parts to replace. Sure, the sheet metals and tool linkages do their best to dissipate such energy build-ups, but die machine frames have a habit of overwhelming such conventional heat mitigating measures.

Heat Dissipation Systems: Conventional Heat Conductance

Here’s a technology that’ll work well on most equipment frames. If a motor and a group of fast-moving parts generate work heat, that energy is dissipated through a mounting interface and out through a series of vent cutouts. Ironically, those apertures were probably originally cut to shape by a punch and die machine. Anyway, even this arrangement won’t work if the equipment in question produces copious quantities of frictional energy. A couple of small electric fans might just make the difference. Odds are the equipment’s thermal curve will continue to climb unabated, at which point it’ll overload and drop out of service.

Concerning Punching Equipment Lubrication

That last example is a source of concern for heavy-duty equipment owners. Let’s check out a punching machine. It has a piston or ramming section, plus a vertically mounted armature of some kind. Then there’s the tool section, which likely contains a turret head and a spring-back retraction mechanism. There are a whole lot of moving parts, that’s the point being made here. A fan, a mounting interface and a few heat dispersing fins, all of these equipment extras will remove a portion of the generated heat when the punch stroke initiates, but there’s no way they can fully offset the movement and impact energies. To wholly counteract the friction, the abrasive parts rubbing and punch impact energies, too, the moving assemblies need to be coated in an ever-present oily film. A high-lubricity coating eliminates heat and wear. Furthermore, the substance improves machine efficiency. It boosts the punch stroke.

Thermal energies cause equipment wear. That’s already a problem because of the kinetic energies being transferred between the punch and a hard workpiece. Left to suffer, poorly lubricated punch and die equipment stations will age prematurely. Running costs increase when such poor maintenance strategies are allowed. Worse still, formerly smooth stroke actions become ragged and inconsistent, to the point that process repeatability is compromised. As for in-process lubrication, the provision of a stream of tool-on-sheet metal oil, this is a beyond important equipment feature. After all, this is the friction locus, the point at which 90% of the operational heat originates.

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