Choosing the Right Punching Machine

A punching machine is a machine tool that uses punching or embossing to cut or form shapes (stamping, bending, engraving, marking, etc.) in thin parts.

Punching is used in various types of work, such as metalworking and sheet metal forming.

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  • What are the criteria for choosing a punching machine?

    When choosing a punching machine, the following factors must be considered:

    • The shape of the workpieces (tubes, bars, profiles, flat plates, etc.).
    • The size (length, width) and thickness of the pieces.
    • The material the parts are made of (metal, plastic, paper, cardboard, etc.).
    • The production capacity, which can vary depending on the machine’s punching force and the size of the parts.
    • The geometric complexity of the parts, which will determine the turret capacity (number of tools) you need.
    • The other functions combined with the punching machine (cutting, forming, drilling, marking, notching, threading, etc.).
    • The operating mode (semi-automatic, automatic, or manual), the choice of which will depend on your desired production capacity.
  • What are the different types of punching machines?

    There are different types of punching machines: Manual, mechanical, hydraulic, laser-cutting, or universal.

    Manual punching machines

    These are compact and portable machines that you can easily take from one place to another on the construction site or in the workshop, so you don’t have to transport the workpieces.

    They are used for cutting different materials (mainly steel, stainless steel, and aluminum) and generally have a hydraulic drive. There are also pedal-operated machines and electric models.

    They are very affordable (from 270 euros) and easy to use.

    Mechanical punching machines

    These are large machines suitable for shearing, as well as various other types of work, such as notching, rough cutting, chamfering, and nibbling (shearing carried out through a sequence of partially overlapping punches).

    These punching machines are highly reliable and allow you to make cuts with high precision.

    Hydraulic punching machines

    Hydraulic punching machines cut and punch parts using a powerful jet of water. They can use a pure water jet or, if greater cutting capacity is required, an abrasive water jet (a mixture of water and abrasive). They can cut through any hard material, such as stone, ceramic, glass, or metal, in just a few minutes.

    Most of these punching machines offer different types of cutting for different types of parts: cutting flat iron, cutting solid bars, making notches, etc.

    Laser-cut punching machines

    These machines use a laser to cut the material. They have the advantage of machining very quickly and accurately. They can cut iron or steel with a high-temperature pulsed laser beam generated from a CO2 or nitrogen source. Laser-cut parts have few or no defects.

    They are high-performance machines, but also more expensive.

    Universal punching machines

    These are called universal because they are very versatile machines. They can cut all kinds of materials and shapes, such as sheets, tubes, profiles, etc. They also have different functions: shear cutting, bending, notching, chamfering, marking, stamping, etc. They are also compatible with various types of punches (round, square, or oval) and dies.

    They are large machines, ideal for high production volumes.

    CNC punching machines

    Computer numerical control (CNC) punching machines perform fully automated operations. They usually have a hydraulic drive. They have a very high production capacity. These extremely efficient machines are, however, quite expensive.

    EUROMAC automatic hydraulic punching machine

    EUROMAC automatic hydraulic punching machine

    JIANGSU YAWEI MACHINE TOOL universal punching machine

    JIANGSU YAWEI MACHINE TOOL universal punching machine

    RHTC BV mechanical punching machine

    RHTC BV mechanical punching machine

    MORUECO manual punching machine

    MORUECO manual punching machine

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of punching machines?

    Advantages of punching machines:

    • They offer high cutting precision (around 0.1 mm).
    • Your tools suffer little wear and tear, so you don’t need to sharpen them very often.
    • They are economical because they require little maintenance.
    • They have a high working speed and therefore high performance in repetitive operations for large series production.
    • They make it possible to perform different types of plastic deformation on various materials (metals, plastics, fiberglass, etc.).

    Disadvantages of punching machines:

    • They can only cut thin sheet metal (between 5 and 10 mm for steel, stainless steel, or aluminum parts). For thicker parts, you will need to use machining or laser cutting.
    • When nibbling, punching can leave marks on the cutting surface, and these defects must then be corrected to leave the workpiece smooth.
    • Large parts are more prone to undesirable deformations created during punching and may require planishing.
    • Punching machines are very noisy, so operators have to wear hearing protection.
  • Why should you choose a CNC punching machine?

    FICEP CNC punching machine

    FICEP CNC punching machine

    CNC punching machines perform punching, shearing, and drilling operations fully automatically. According to some studies, these machines are a good investment if you use your machines for at least 10 hours a day.

    CNC punching machines have other advantages that make them a competitive choice:

    • They are versatile machines with high performance: they can produce a wide variety of parts with high quality and very quickly. As such, the finished parts have a low final price.
    • Their versatility makes it possible to work with different materials and produce pieces in a wide variety of sizes and shapes.
    • They have an automatic parts loading and unloading system that requires no operator intervention once programming has been completed.

    However, CNC punching machines also have some limitations:

    • After the punching process, parts often show burrs or scratches, so it is necessary to use the machine’s finishing function to correct these defects.
    • The punches must be done at a certain distance from the edge of the workpiece. In other words, it is not possible to punch too close to the ends.
  • What are the other criteria to consider when choosing a punching machine?

    There are other factors to consider when choosing a punching machine:

    • Ease of use and tool maintenance.
    • Safety systems to prevent accidents, since the punching process can be dangerous.
    • Mobility: portable punching machines can be very practical on a construction site, for example.
    • The price of the machine and the different options available, as well as the installation costs.
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