Turret punches & presses are the meat and potatoes of the modern precision metal fabrication industry. Having made their debut in job shops of the 1950s, it would be a long time before CNC-enabled equipment became the norm; therefore these machines were generally operated manually, by hand. At that point in history, using a turret punch to shape metal was practically an art unto itself. With no CNC (computer numerical control) system, every placement and adjustment of both the materials and the equipment had to be completed by the operator, and incredible familiarity with the machine was necessary in order to achieve consistent, quality results.
Although manual turret punches & presses are still in operation, they are very unlikely to be seen on a modern job shop floor. Instead, they are more often utilized in hand-work sheet metal shops that require a more craftsman-like or delicate approach to metal cutting and forming.
Modern CNC Turret Punch Presses: Simple Machines, Complex Capabilities
Today’s precision sheet metal fabrication shops must feature the very latest in turret punch press technology, and the integration of CNC into most machines — especially its ability to select multiple punch tools within a single run — has been the key to maintaining high levels of productivity for many fabrication companies. It’s one of the primary ways fabricators keep up with the constant market demands for tighter tolerances and faster delivery.
Turret punches & presses are, at their core, fairly simple machines, consisting of only three main parts: the punch, the die and the stripper. The punch is activated when a ram descends and causes it to precisely “punch” away material, resulting in holes of various shapes and sizes. While the integration of CNC would seem to complicate matters, for all intents and purposes, it’s actually simplified them overall. While the machines themselves may have become more elaborate, the sophisticated computer programs and simple push-button setup available with most punch presses have made them easier to operate as a whole and capable of delivering the tight tolerances demanded by customers.
CNC-Operated Turret Punch Presses: Fast, Efficient, and Incredibly Accurate
Modern turret punch presses are also fast, which has been another boon to productivity; many are capable of as many as 1000 strokes per minute. This speed does come with a downside, however; the heat it generates also has a tendency to break down the moving parts over time. That’s why investing in models equipped with an automatic air-oil misting lubrication system, while often somewhat more costly upfront, can save both the trouble of an inoperable machine and the cost of replacement parts in the long run.
Besides the incredible speed of today’s turret presses & presses, combination tools have also added to their efficiency. As mentioned earlier, CNC-enabled machines can be programmed to automatically bring “clusters” of multiple turrets into the operation at the same time. This allows operators the flexibility to utilize several different punch shapes and sizes within a single run. There are even cutting-edge punch presses like the Amada EM ZR series (which we run on our shop floor at EVS) that feature high-tech tool ID systems that completely eliminate tool setup errors, bringing automation to an entirely new level of sophistication.
At EVS Metal, we pride ourselves on the state-of-the-art fabrication equipment available at all four of our American manufacturing facilities. Discover how our innovative fabrication systems can add value to your manufacturing supply chain; simply request a quote online, or give us a call at (973) 839-4432 today.