Sheet metal punching is a common process in the manufacturing industry, but unless you’re a punch operator, you probably don’t know a lot about the process. We hope to clear up some common questions about sheet metal punching with this FAQ on the technique. Below, you’ll find answers to common questions about the sheet metal punching process.
What is sheet metal punching, and how does it work?
Sheet metal punching uses tools and dies to punch specific holes in a variety of different metal pieces. Punches pass through the sheet metal while dies, located on the other side of the metal, act as a support mechanism to ensure the metal doesn’t break and that the punches remain accurate. This allows the operator to mold metal sheets into the necessary shape and design.
What types of metals can be sheet punched?
Sheet metal punching has come a long ways in recent decades. Today, sheet metal punching can be performed on almost all metals, like aluminum, brass, copper, iron, stainless steel and other special alloys. Because all these metals can punched, sheet metal punching is vital in the automotive, manufacturing, engineering, pharmaceutical and textiles industries.
Do you need a bunch of different punches for each shape and hole?
Nope! In most cases, you can combine the dies you already have to fit a specific mould. You can combine a number of different punches to make a wide variety of designs and holes. However, new moulds may need to be purchased in order to create some some more unique or precise punches.
How long does a die last?
A normal punching tool has a median tool life of between 400,000 and 600,000 strokes. However, you can extend the life of your mould by being diligent in the lubrication and cleaning of the mould with compressed air and clean rags. You should also periodically check the cutting edge of the punch and die, especially before sharpening. You can also extend the life of the die by punching on the right materials and using the right energy power.