What is Sheet Metal Punching?

July 26, 2018

It’s back to basics day. What is sheet metal punching? A person who’s unfamiliar with the process infers a few facts. There are plates of metal, and they’re being held by a clamping mechanism. Suspended above that workpiece, a tool is descending rapidly and with great force. It strikes, a mark is produced, and then the process repeats. As impressive as this individual’s conjectures are, has he guessed correctly?

What is Sheet Metal Punching? 

Well, he hasn’t quite intuited the procedure, but that guesswork came close. For the purpose of this post, let’s look at a real-world punching project. The sheet metal has moved forward on a clamping assembly. It’s a clean and absolutely flat plate, a section that has a known thickness. As the workpiece stops below the tool head, the punch drops down, it penetrates the metal, and a scrap “slug” drops into a receiver. Contrary to the observer’s guesswork, the penetrating hole has gone all the way through the sheet metal.

Technology-Supported Punching Services 

Tungsten carbide punches get the job done here, with their hardened geometrical profiles shearing copious clones of the scrap slugs free every single minute. Computer numerical control interfaces move the automated punch turrets, or they’re manipulated on rails. Regardless of the directional mode of operation, there are still criteria to satisfy at the punch site. For starters, this metal fabrication work is a two-way process. Granted, there’s the upper assembly, the meticulously detailed tungsten carbide punch, but the second half of the job is taking place underneath the sheet metal. It’s down here that the die section supports the metal so that the applied shearing forces won’t distort the aperture’s newly applied outlines.

Minimising Post-Processing Operations 

The die supports the metal plating. It also prevents the localised punch forces from indenting the hole and creating aperture burring on the opposing side of the sheet metal. After all, we can’t change the laws of physics. If a simple or complex punch profile is to be applied by a sharpened tungsten carbide tool, then the press tonnage collected at the tip of that punch will deform the metal workpiece. By having that workpiece sandwiched between the tool and a matching die, we eliminate such undesirable mechanical effects.

Essentially, the punch should be profiled and sized diametrically so that it makes the shearing action. Then the die, supporting the process on the other side of the workpiece, has to be identically shaped but sized ever so slightly larger than the tool. In this manner, we gain die clearance, a value that manages the deformation characteristics of the sheet metals’ material. Pulled back from the shaped hole, and with the slug collected, the punch and die move on to the next strike site.

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