Historically, over the last 50 years or so, the go-to-equipment of choice for a sheet metal fabrication shop (in terms of blanking out sheet metal components) was the CNC punch. However, during the last 10 years, this practice has been quickly overtaken by CNC lasers that offer a number of distinct advantages. These benefits show a greater range of thicknesses that can be processed and a lack of any tooling costs to name but just a few.
What is CNC Punching?
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, CNC (Computer Numerically Controlled) punching is a sheet metal manufacturing process that is carried out by CNC punch presses. A CNC punching machine is programmed to manoeuvre a sheet of metal in an X-and-Y direction. This placement accurately positions the sheet under the machine’s punching ram. When ready and in position, the punch ram will punch a hole or form into the material.
So Why Do We Still Use a Punch?
Yorkshire Laser and Fabrication still use a CNC punch, yet we have access to two CNC laser machines. Why? If CNC laser technology is so much more effective these days, why do we still use a CNC punching machine? The answer to this question rests within the forming attributes that all CNC punches have to one degree or another.
A hydraulic ram forces the tooling into the sheet material held in position by clamps on the bed of the punch. The tooling can then be used to create a number of shapes like:
- Centre punches
- Hinge forming
Yorkshire Laser CNC Punching Capabilities
Yorkshire Laser operate an Amada Vipros 368 King. This is a 30 ton, 58 station hydraulic machine that comes complete with a 1500mm deep throat, programmable ram and a fully brushed table. This enables us to process sheets up to 1500mm wide. With an incredibly high hit rate, perforated parts like grills can be made much cheaper and with much less distortion than would occur with the laser treatment. Another bonus is the ability to tap formed holes directly on the machine, whilst the programmable ram allows us to form shapes in material with amazing accuracy and consistency.
What Does This Mean for Our Customers?
So what does this mean for our customers? In a nutshell, this means that you don’t have to be pushed down an avenue that doesn’t really suit your component needs. The ability to offer various methods allows us to provide a more personal and tailored service for our customers’ complete satisfaction.
When you deal with Yorkshire Laser we will use our experience of sheet metal to offer you the cheapest and best solution. This could be via a laser or punch process; either way, we’ve got the solution that is best for your requirements. Don’t take our word for it – read what one of our happy customers has to say:
“YLF have helped my business with non-stop co-operation from prototype to production.” – Chris Vaudin (Managing Director of a vehicle conversions company).