Why a Turret Punching Press Is Still Important for Metal Fabrication Equipment

A Modern Turret Punching Machine.

Laser and waterjet cutters might be the latest and most incredible advancements in metal fabrication. However, they only partially replace some tools or processes in the machine shop. Case in point? The CNC turret punch press remains a critical and often-used tool, and for many projects, it’s a better choice than other options. 

Here, we’ll explain what a turret punch machine (or turret press) is, how it works, and some of the advantages of turret punching in sheet metal manufacturing. By the end of this post, you’ll know why we continue to use this technology and what you gain from the process. 

What Is a Turret Punch Machine? 

Metal fabrication often requires creating holes of various sizes in the metal. Hole diameters must be consistent and accurate, and a CNC turret punch press is one of the best ways to ensure precise cuts in malleable sheet metals like aluminum and stainless steel. 

This is because turret presses can hold up to 40 different sets of tools, unlike a standard cutting press. The machinist must set the machine to move into position and choose the appropriate tool. A standard cutting press, in contrast, requires manually changing the tool for specific jobs, which adds time and cost to any project. 

Another difference between the turret and the standard press is how the machines cut metal. The machine “punches” or pierces the material in a single motion on a standard press. This configuration allows each tool to create a single shape; additional sizes or shapes require using a different tool.

A turret press cuts metal using a series of strokes. This allows it to produce many different shapes and sizes with a single tool. From squares to scoring lines, the turret press quickly creates perfect cuts every time.

The Advantages of Turret Punching Compared to Other Methods

Using a CNC turret punch press in sheet metal manufacturing offers several critical advantages, such as: 

Versatility and Shape Flexibility

As mentioned, a turret punch can create infinite sizes and shapes in soft metals because it uses multiple strokes for every cut. This makes it possible to easily produce complex parts because there’s no need to stop and change tools for every shape or cut. These machines can punch, pierce, and slit metal, creating ribs, louvers, flanges, and unusual or custom shapes. 

Improved Accuracy 

Creating holes with a turret punch ensures pinpoint accuracy because the same tool perforates the metal every time. Other cutting machines require precise material positioning to create a perfectly round hole or another shape many times in a row. A punching machine can create identical, perfect shapes every time without concern about the material’s position.

The edges of the cuts from a puncture may be smoother than those produced by a laser cutter, which is a concern in some industries. However, lasers can also damage the metal, and cutting holes using a puncher preserves more of the galvanized coating on the sheet metal, ensuring better resistance to rust and deterioration when exposed to the elements. Depending on the intended application of the finished product, improved durability may be more desirable than a smooth finish. 

Faster Production 

Turret punches also rise above other machines when it comes to cutting speed. These machines can process jobs faster than any other cutting machine without sacrificing accuracy. It only takes a millisecond to make a stroke, which speeds up production and supports enhanced productivity, efficiency, and performance. 

Cost Effectiveness

Turret punching is affordable for making one-offs and small or medium production runs. It cuts quickly and accurately, reducing production time and wasted materials. A punching machine is the perfect solution for manufacturers facing cost restraints on low-volume projects.

A CNC turret punch press is also ideal for making prototypes and testing larger assemblies without substantial costs. Instead of investing in specialized dies that will likely require modification or redesign after testing, the turret punch can create individualized shapes without a stamping die. This way, you only need to purchase a custom tool once you finalize the design. 

Punching is also more cost-effective in comparison to laser cutting. Laser cutting costs significantly more than punching due to costs for setup, ventilation, and laser gases. There’s also a risk of thermal distortion of the metal, which affects the project’s outcome and increases material waste, which drives up the cost.

Improved Safety 

Unlike cutters that may not comply with the most current safety standards or lack the most modern features to protect the user, ongoing technological advancements in turret punches make them safer and easier to use than ever before. Updates like self-stripping punches and multifunctional tools make the machines user-friendly and reduce the risk of serious injury due to errors or faulty parts. 

Modern presses automate many processes that, in the past, were likely to cause injuries or slow down sheet metal manufacturing. These upgrades and redesigns allow the operator to control most of the machine’s functions via computer and focus on following safety procedures. 

Turn to Hammond, IN’s Top Fabricator for All Your Sheet Metal Manufacturing Needs

When your business needs superior metal fabrication, turn to Midland Metal Products in Hammond, IN. As the area’s most well-equipped and respected precision sheet metal fabrication source, we support producing even the most complex products. While we’re always looking toward the future and investing in new technologies to improve our processes and products, the best approach is sometimes simple and proven. 

Save time searching for a fabrication company with all the tools and skills to complete important projects. Call Midland Metal Products first at 773-927-5700 to learn more about cost-effective and efficient CNC turret punch press processes, laser cutting, etc. We’ll find the best way to bring your ideas to life. Talk to us today.

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