In metal fabrication there are many tools at our disposal. Machines like lasers and waterjets are the  new buzz but other processes such as plasma cutting and certainly a CNC turret punching press are also still very vital and viable processes. These machines can not only punch but they can also slit, shear and even form metals. In this article we will take a look at the turret punching press, also called the turret punch, to better understand its capabilities and advantages as well as where it fits in today's CNC metal Fabrication shop. 

What Is a Turret Punch?

A turret punching machine is a name used to describe a more common class of punching machines for metal fabrication. They can punch out holes, shapes, special configurations and even use a slitting wheel in some applications to define contours like a pizza wheel might. They are available with or without the “turret” configuration, as some machines will exchange punch sets through a tool changer. They all however, have the ability to punch and form malleable sheet metals like steel, stainless steel and aluminum. The turret punching machine is one of the four precision shape cutting processes available for the fab shop which also include CNC Plasma cutting, CNC Laser (fiber laser) and Waterjet Cutting Machines. 

3 Reasons Why Turret Punching Is a Must

There are a variety of reasons that a turret punch is not only a vital piece of equipment in the fab shop, but a necessary one. 

  1. Accuracy: Hole accuracy is determined by the punch and is therefore consistent Unlike other profiling machines that require the machines positioning accuracy to make a hole truly round, a CNC Punching machine uses an exact ground punch to repeat precision over and over. 
  2. Speed: A single punch stroke takes milliseconds compared to the processing speed of other machines.
  3. Forming: CNC Turret Punches have the capability to not only punch, slit and shear, but to also form, creating precision ribs, louvers, flanges and many other shapes. With the right tooling setup a machine can also tap in the process adding extreme value to this one stop sheet metal processing center. 

3 Common Types of Turret Punches

There are 3 main types of CNC Turret Punching machines available. 

  1. Single Punch Machines: These machines offer a low price but do not exchange punches automatically. Used mostly in job shops and prototype shops they offer the same capability of their larger cousins but must be manually tooled. Some variations of these machines also offer a rotating punching head allowing far more flexibility in order to orient shaped punches to the correct angle desired.
  2. Turret Punching Machines: The most common type of punching machine is the turret punch which uses a “wheel/turret” to hold multiple varieties of punches in different shapes and sizes. These machines can rotate the turret to place the appropriate punching set under the ram. They also have the ability to have 2 or more of these tools rotate within their own holder increasing the flexibility even further. 
  3. Punch Exchanging Machines: Some of the newer designs ditch the turret itself for an automatic punch set exchange system. These machines offer full rotation of every tool and a smaller work area making the punch and formed material more visible and accessible to the operator.

Southern Fabricating Machinery Sales offers all types of CNC Turret punching machines for every shops needs and budget. Check out some of our options here: available turret punches or contact us for more info.
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