What is sheet metal punching?

Date: 20/01/2021

Do you want to pack a punch with your next project?

If your business needs to cut sheet metal, you have two main options to do the job: laser cutting or CNC punching

For many years the equipment of choice for sheet metal fabrication was the CNC punch.

And while cutting by laser offers customers a precise, highly-specific sheet metal shape, CNC punching can be a more practical, cost-effective solution when cutting commonly-used and shaped products.

Put simply, a CNC (Computer Numerically Controlled) punching machine precisely positions a metal sheet under the machine’s powerful hydraulic punching ram. 

When it’s in position, the punch ram then punches a pre-programmed hole or form into the material ahead of further precision manufacturing processes.

CNC punching machines are used to shape a variety of materials, including aluminium, copper, brass or steel sheet metal.

Why do we still use CNC punching?

Modern CNC laser technology is highly effective for metal fabrication – so why do firms like Yorkshire Laser and Fabrication still use CNC punching machines?

It’s because of the forming attributes that all sheet metal punching machines have.

The CNC punching machine’s tooling can be used to create a wide range of shapes in the material, such as:

  • Centre punches
  • Countersinks
  • Louvres
  • Knockouts
  • Embosses
  • Hinge forming

What are the benefits of CNC punching?

The Yorkshire Laser team currently operate an Amada Vipros 368 King.

This 30-ton, 58-station hydraulic punching machine has a programmable ram, a fully brushed table and can process sheets up to 1,500mm wide.

With an exceptionally high hit rate, perforated parts such as grilles can be made more cost-effectively and with much less distortion than would occur with laser-cutting.

Another benefit is the ability to tap formed holes directly on the sheet metal punching machine, while the programmable hydraulic ram means we can form shapes  with amazing consistency and accuracy.

Our ability to offer a variety of sheet metal fabrication methods means we can provide a more personal, tailored service to clients.

As a traditional fabricator delivering high-quality products to some of the most demanding industries in the world, including automotive, gas, offshore, telecoms, power generation and medical we’ve naturally embraced the benefits of laser cutting, but not at the cost of sidelining CNC punching.

This means that you won’t be forced down a metal fabrication route that doesn’t really suit your component needs.


If you would like a quote or further details about how Yorkshire Laser and Fabrication can help your metal fabrication project, call 01924 220236 or email info@yorkshirelaser.co.uk.

With decades of experience, one of our experienced team members will be happy to help with your enquiry. You can also message us directly here.