What is CNC Punching?December 8, 2017
CNC punching is a computer controlled means of indenting sheet metal. Instead of a manually held punch tool, it’s a punch pressing machine that carries out this automated process. Think of a simplified example of this equipment station. A single head is mounted on a stationary arm. Sheet metal is now manipulated along both the X and Y axis, right below the head, then that punching tool goes to work.
Describing the CNC Punching Sequence
This operation is a little different from one that employs a technician. First of all, the tool is stationary. It’s the sheet metal that moves. Mounted on the machine table, banks of linear drivers move up and down, left and right, until the punch cylinder head is spatially located above the desired coordinates. At this point, the third dimension enters the punch sequence. The CNC punch drops down and indents the flat metal. It counter-sinks holes, and it even stamps differently shaped dimples into the metal surface. Like any other punch tool, a whole range of indent-centric actions can be utilized here as long as the right tool type is installed.
Infused with CNC Driven Intelligence
One other big difference pushes this processing form ahead of the manually wielded punching method. Sure, that moving surface and stationary head make short work of even the hardest, most intricate punching work, but it’s next to useless without a central brain. The intellect employed here is referred to as Computer Numerical Control (CNC). The hardware component of this system is a computer brain. As for the software side of things, that’s a process-automating program that visually designs the punch profile. Composed in virtual computer space, a special type of machine code (G-code) translates the design instructions into a series of coordinates based instructions.
Advances in CNC Punching
The single head design described above is efficient, but it’s hardly the most productive solution. To add functionality to the equipment range, multi-function turret tools incorporate a range of tooling inserts. They operate like swiss-knives, with their mechanical assemblies adding more strokes to the punch cycle. Capable of dimpling, stamping unlimited shapes, and indenting multiple profiles, CNC punching is an invaluable part of a contemporary machine shop environment.
There are more bleeding-edge tools on the market, like laser profiling machines, but a CNC punching station is a more cost-effective solution. Armed with this tooling station, punch patterns can be applied to aluminium, steel, brass, and other metals. The equipment even has a place in a leather processing establishment, so a healthy dose of process versatility is assured.
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