Buying a Punch Press
Punch Press Delivering Powerful Punches to Finessed Features
As the name indicates, a Punch Press is a machine that changes the shape or size of material, usually sheet metal by applying pressure to a die that presses the material into shape. Punch presses come in a wide variety of types and must be suited for the specific types of materials and parts which are to be made. A punch press may be manual or may be a CNC punch press, which can be programed for precise action. Powerful punches make big parts with one big press and a CNC turret press offers feature flexibility with less power, speed and cost.
The Basic Components of the Punch Press
Large punch presses usually have either a C Frame or Portal (Bridge) type frame. The C-Frame type has the hydraulic ram at the top, and the portal frame is more like a circle with the ram centered within the frame to prevent deflection or distortion. Popular punch press brands like Bliss, Clearing, Niagara, Minster, Komatsu and Aida define their presses by basic characteristics including:
- Frame type
- Type of power source (mechanical, electro-mechanical, hydraulic)
- Force rating (usually tons)
- Size of working area
- Number of stations
- Tooling capacity
- Maximum weight of workpiece
- Power consumption
- Programming Type (most common are CNC punch presses)
- Safety features
- Speed or productivity (speed of strokes with a step movement)
CNC Turret Punch Press The Benefit Standard Tools & Less Power
Though punch presses are fantastic for mass production, initial tooling costs for unique parts can be high. A CNC turret punch press makes it possible to use a large number of standard punch tools and a lot of strokes to make shapes that would have otherwise required custom tooling. Tools in a turret press are relatively small and require less power as compared with other presses that can make the same parts in a single stroke.
A typical CNC turret punch may have 60 tools in a turret. Each press tool requires a matching punch and die set, so there are two corresponding turrets, one below and above the bed. These move together, one holding the punch and the other the die to cut their unique shape in the workpiece.