What is CNC Punching?

Date: 30/11/2018

Before the introduction of laser cutting, CNC punching was the process of choice for punching holes in metal by sheet metal fabricators. Not-to-mention the accepted method of creating all manner of different metal forms and shapes.

Yet, while laser cutting offers a number of advantages over CNC punching in sheet metal fabrication (think greater flexibility and no need for tooling) there are certain jobs where the traditional CNC punch is cheaper to use and more precise!

That’s why we offer both cutting techniques here at Yorkshire Laser & Fabrication. But what is CNC punching? And how does it work? Let’s find out…

How Does CNC Punching Work?

CNC stands for Computer Numerical Control. In other words, a computer programme converts the shape to be cut or formed into a range of precise co-ordinates ready for the punching process. The CNC punching machine is then programmed to move the sheet metal in an ‘X’ and ‘Y’ direction. (X-axis = left and right, Y-axis = in and out).

This ensures the sheet metal is accurately positioned beneath the machine’s punching ram, ready for a hole or form to be punched out of the material. With the metal sheet clamped firmly in place, the hydraulic ram forces down the tooling. The punching process can be used to create a number of shapes.

Examples include:

  • Louvres
  • Centre punches
  • Countersinks
  • Embosses
  • Knockouts
  • Hinges

When looking for a sheet metal fabrication shop that offers CNC punching, it’s important to select a company with a rock-solid reputation – and a machine that’s up to the job. Here at Yorkshire Laser, for instance, runs a 30-ton, Amada Vipros 368 King punching press. A 58-station hydraulic machine, equipped with a 1500 mm deep-throat fully programmable ram and a fully brushed table, it’s capable of processing metals sheets measuring up to 1500 mm wide.

An incredibly high hit rate means perforated parts – such as grilles – can be made more cheaply and with less distortion than by laser cutting. Formed holes can be tapped on the machine and the programmable ram allows shapes to be formed with amazing accuracy and repeatability.

Is CNC Punching Right for My Fabrication Needs?

All in all, whether CNC punching or CNC laser cutting is best for you will depend on the material, the type of components you want to produce – and the volume. We will use our many years of expertise to advise you. Just get in touch – we are more than happy to help!