26th March 2021 Blog

By utilising the flexibility of CNC Punch tooling, Alpha Manufacturing is able to offer an innovative solution which removes additional processing and ultimately increases efficiency and reduces cost. This value engineering example demonstrates how a one-off punch-tool investment in bespoke tooling saves our customers money over the lifecycle of the product.

The Punch department is one of the most versatile of all and with some innovative thinking, can be used for much more than simply perforating and profiling metal sheets. By collaborating with leading machine tool suppliers, Alpha Manufacturing is able to adapt the processing output of the machines to suit a vast range of requirements.

Punching: The basic purpose of the machine is to perforate sheet metal to a specified size, at high speed. Our punches are fitted with multi-tool changers meaning that different shapes of hole such as round, oblong, square and custom shapes can be punched simultaneously without any manual set up in between, giving greater flexibility. In addition, cluster tools allow groups of holes to be punched at once.

Cutting: Utilising slitting tools, a CNC Punch can be used to cut various geometric shapes. Depending on variables such as sheet thickness, number of holes, position of holes and set up time, cutting using a punch machines can actually be more efficient and cost effective than laser cutting.

Forming: By using specialist forming tools such as dies, rolling, flanging and countersinking tools, various forms can be achieved using a CNC Punch machine. An example of forming is “stepping”, which is the process of creating a continuous small bend in the sheet, which would usually be achieved using a fold machine such as a Press Brake. The advantages of creating the form in this way is that both punching and forming are performed on one machine, removing a whole process and reducing cost. A huge array of different forms can be produced using the CNC Punch such as louvers, brackets, countersinks, knock-outs, threads, bridges, taps, hinges, ribs and more.

Marking: Marking is becoming increasingly important in sheet metal fabrication as customers require part identification for production, legal or quality purposes. For part identification or component centring, a centre punch tool allows for clear markings to be applied. Engraving tools allow for part names and numbers to be applied, again allowing for parts to be identified and documented. Similarly, embossing tools can create letters and numbers in 3D, raised from the sheet.