An introduction to CNC punching
CNC, or Computer Numerical Control machining, was invented by John Parsons in 1949. After joining a laboratory attached to the US Air Force, he helped to develop numerical control as part of the process behind creating aircraft parts.
CNC punching for precision
Until this time, the manual operators who produced aircraft parts had to work long hours trying to create the accurate and precise parts required by the US Air Force. However, once John Parsons and his team had created their numerical control system, it became possible to produce hundreds of precisely tooled parts with minimal human intervention. The system relied on punched cards that were imprinted with holes that corresponded to precisely-calculated co-ordinates, and the system proved to be so impressive that it quickly become standardised throughout the industry.
Although there have been several developments in the technology over the years, the modern systems for CNC punching are still very similar to those created by John Parsons. CNC punch presses are used in the manufacture of sheet metal, with the punching machine being carefully programmed to position the metal beneath the punching arm. The x axis and y axis are used to determine the direction and positioning extremely precisely, and the machine then punches a hole, or other shape, into the metal.
CNC punching machines are available in a huge variety of types and sizes. Take a look at some of the options for Euromac punching machines available from http://www.cotswold-machinery-sales.co.uk/euromac/punching-machines/.
CNC punching for speed
According to Metal Fabrication News, CNC punching is the preferred option for production runs of up to 10,000 pieces, as it is faster than using a laser cutter. It is also considered to be the best option for stamping part numbers onto metal as it’s possible to punch holes or even clusters of holes in under a second.
CNC punching keeps costs down
The capital cost involved in CNC punching is much less than the capital cost involved in introducing lasers. Although laser cutting is also fast and accurate, this method of steel cutting requires the purchase of expensive equipment, including specialised cutting gases.
Because it’s so much cheaper than alternative options, CNC punching can be charged at a much lower hourly rate, making it extremely cost effective, with the savings being passed on to the customer.