CNC (computer numerically controlled) punching is a type of sheet metal process used in manufacturing. CNC punch presses are utilised for this task, and these can have a variety of designs. Once the CNC punching machine has been programmed to carry out tasks it moves along sheets of metal in either an x or y direction and uses its punching ram to make holes or shapes.
More about CNC punching and its uses
CNC punching is used on a variety of metals, including zintec, steel, galvanised aluminium and stainless steel. The types of holes punched can be simple circles, rectangles or specialist shapes that are customised to specific designs. When complex shapes are required, the CNC programmer will need to input a number of punches with overlapping geometry. In this way, the most complicated sheet metal shapes can be produced with ease. For example, CNC punching machines can even create 3D forms like dimples, electrical knockouts, and screw thread plunges on both sides of metal sheets.
Where high specification parts with complex geometric requirements are needed, a network link-up between the CAD and Radan software and punching machines can make all the difference. This can ensure the most effective layout and efficient, speedy punches. Some machines also feature lasers in order to meet the most complex design and component demands.
The latest CNC puncher models are even more sophisticated and can fold small tabs, tap threads, and punch the sheared edges without leaving any tooling marks at all. This makes them extremely popular and in high demand. However, it’s essential that sufficient expertise within the CNC programming sphere is possessed by operatives for the desired effects to be achieved.
Different types of CNC punchers
Some of the different types of CNC punchers on the market include:
– Single head with tool rail, known as the Trumpf design
– Multi-tool turret designs
Most punch press machinery operate within a metal thickness range between 0.5mm and 6.0mm.
About the CNC programming process
CNC programming is just one aspect of the CAD/CAM (computer aided manufacture) cycle. In general, the details of designs are provided in the 2D format, by way of DWG or DXF files, although the 3D format is becoming increasingly popular.
The information in these files is used to create the design for punching and to assign the right tooling for the job or component. This type of software also has the ability to work out the best layout for manufacture, to optimise production from each sheet of metal. This sheet metal optimisation helps build cost efficiencies in the workplace, which can then be passed on to consumers.