Fitted with an intelligent punching head and the right tool, your punching machine will also demonstrate its talent for forming. Article by Vincent Tan, TRUMPF.
Your punching machine can do more than just punch. Fitted with an intelligent punching head and the right tool, your machine will also demonstrate its talent for forming. This allows you to fully process a great diversity of sophisticated components on one machine—and even burr-free if required. It is also efficient for small quantities as tool costs are low and setup times are short.
The ability to produce burr-free sheet-metal parts directly on punching or punch laser machines saves you the time-consuming process of retrospectively removing the punching burr. This considerably reduces the throughput time, in particular for coated sheet metal and formed parts. Furthermore, the improved edge quality lowers the risk of injury when further processing the parts.
Roller Deburring Tool
The roller deburring tool is mainly used for simple, large-surface contours. The punched edges are thus perfectly rounded off, which is a decisive advantage for visible edges in particular. A high-quality result is obtained with all of the sheet thickness ranges by adapting the roller contour to the modified burr and to the width of the separation gap.
Ball Deburring Tool
You can get an even better edge quality if you use the MultiShear slitting tool in addition. For shapes with contour radii of less than 20 mm, the deburring MultiTool is to be used. The ball deburring tool is suitable for smaller contours, holes and workpiece corners. Specially hardened balls press the punching burr into the base metal. In doing so, a chamfer is produced on the upper side of the part. Thanks to the tapered punch head, deburring near formed areas is also possible.
TRUMPF’s deburring MultiTool, with its three embossing inserts in the die, excels on radii of less than 0.8 in in particular. The tool presses burrs flat in a single stroke or in nibbling mode, even in corners and small contours.
The MultiTool makes your machine more productive by integrating up to 10 different punches and dies into one tool. The strengths of the MultiTool are particularly notable in processing sheet metal parts with small punches of different sizes.
Shorter production times through complete processing on one machine
Lower risk of injury
Deburring of all geometries, whether simple, complex, small or large.
Also for coated sheets and for parts with formed areas
Here’s a look at punching technology innovations and and the benefits like helping manufacturers toward their Industry 4.0 journey. Article by Trumpf.
Punching encompasses far more than just making holes in sheets. You can manufacture complete parts on a punching machine. Reshaping processes open up new dimensions for you. The versatility of the technology is the result of the wealth of tools used. With appropriate loading and unloading aids, you can even automate your production.
Monotool Punching Head Principle & Rotating Tools
The monotool punching head principle means that different tools can be exchanged into the punching head, and all of them can be rotated 360 deg.
It offers higher process reliability as the punches are always connected to the punching head in a form locking manner. Not only does it perfectly guide the tools down onto the sheet metal, it also guides them off the sheet metal in a controlled manner after the punching process.
Its reduced setup outlay provides easier handling. Tools can be used for multiple applications due to their rotational ability, resulting in fewer tool change and setup operations.
And fewer punching tools mean lower costs. Imagine the ability to create an oblong hole with every conceivable orientation in the sheet metal—with just one tool! This is really easy if the punching head is 360 deg rotatable, this works with all contours that you have a tool for, regardless of whether it is a standard or special tool. The ability of all your tools to rotate multiplies your processing options and reduces your tool requirements, and therefore your costs.
Tooling for Punching
With the increasing complexity of market requirements, sophisticated components can no longer be solved with standard tools. The need for manufacturing highly complex components in shorter amount of time require special tools, and using the right tooling is the prerequisite for successful punching.
For punching, there exists different tooling options. The Classic punching tool system is the leading tool system for punching machines. Due to the broad range of forms, shears, coatings, and accessories, you can use it with flexibility.
Another tooling option is the MultiTool, which integrates up to 10 different punching and die inserts in one tool adapter, increasing flexibility, efficiency, and productivity as different punching operations can be carried out by one tool. Additionally, forming and embossing can be carried out. Another benefit is the reduction of non-productive times due to reduced setup and tool change times.
Scratch Free Processing
When it comes to punching, the end result heavily depends on the right process, and it is crucial that the products are scratch free at the end of the process.
The basis for scratch-free processing is the use of brush tables, which provide soft support to the sheet and thereby preventing scratches and reduces noise. During positioning, the sheet slides over the brushes, which, due to their length, bend in the direction of movement.
Also, through raising brush field and support plates around dies, the contact between sheet and die will be reduced, leading to less scratches during the punching and forming.
Solutions for punching-tools
Adhesive pads are pre-formed, self-stick polyethylene film and can be attached to dies, strippers and intermediate rings to prevent scratches on the workpiece. To avoid imprints and scratches on the sheet surface, a specially coated stripper can be used. The coating is also is wear-resistant and keeps material abrasion chips from sticking to it.
Special die solutions
To reduce scratches for intermediate rings and dies, brushes or Ampco can be used. Ampco is a soft alloy that avoids scratches on the bottom of the sheet because of its softness and lubricant effect. Another option are descending dies that, by moving downwards during the positioning of the sheet, eliminate the contact of metal between workpiece and processing station. Active dies additionally operate a second punching head able to perform an active forming stroke from below, broadening the rage of processing strategies and tool usage and enabling new forming sizes and heights.
Gentle material handling through intelligent automation
By using different automation solutions, scratches can be easily prevented before and after production. A conveyor belt with soft surface, where finished parts are ejected from the punching machine, ensures gentle handling.
Loading, unloading, stacking can be automated as well and by using a vacuum technology during these steps, scratches during part pick up, transport and deposit can be eliminated.
Skeleton free processing
Material usage optimisation not only boosts your production but also helps you save a lot. By implementing skeleton free processing, companies can increase their sheet utilization by 10 percent on average—thereby reducing material costs. Additionally, smaller bits of residual material simplify logistics and yield higher scrap prices.
Another advantage is the enhanced process-reliability achieved through the safe unloading of finished parts and small parts even when the part chute is open and through the automatic cut up and removal of residual pieces of sheet metal. Working without a scar skeleton also increases safety and is operator friendly.
Residual pieces of sheet metal can be sorted by material, and good parts and scrap are sorted to different containers. Other benefits of implementing skeleton free processing are savings in operational time by 14 percent on average, and the energy needed for the process itself: operating a punching machine instead of manufacturing a metal sheet consumes about 30-80 times less power, which in turn leads to energy savings equal to the power needed to operate a punching machine for 40 years.
Simultaneously, companies increase output rate through smaller workpieces and enhance their production, hence, significantly boosting their return on investment.
The software used to execute punching operations has a great impact on success and efficiency. Technology offers many different processing options and the right software should support users to make use of all these possibilities.
A good software should simplify the nestling process and thereby optimize material utilization and save costs. It should also reduce the effort required to generate the NC program for example by applying automatic repositioning and trimming. Choosing a software that has the option for offline programming can reduce machine down time as programmer can prepare the next programs already while the machine is running.
Additionally, settings can be predefined and adjusted to the specific needs of the company. If Industry 4.0 is a topic for your company, a software with the ability to automate processes and integrate systems to make use of Internet of Things (IoT) should be chosen.
Automation for Punching Machines
Automation can save costs and boost production, but it has to be reliable and safe to do so.
Automation can be applied to the loading of raw sheets or blanks and or pre-cut parts and the consequent unloading of finished parts, micro-joint sheets and scrap skeletons. Also, disposal of scrap skeletons and remainder strips and sorting of small parts and punching slugs can be automated with the right machinery.
There are plenty of benefits that automation in punching operation offers, for example, the increase in productivity due to high machine utilization, and reduced factory lead times. Additionally, automation increases process reliability, enhances efficiency, and improves safety during the punching process.
Automated systems typically perform the manufacturing process with less variability than human workers, resulting in greater control and consistency of product quality
Integrated tool management
Automation can come into play even before the punching process is carried out. Before punching, suitable tools have to be selected and set up in the machine. Tool availability, proper assembly and accuracy of tool data in the machine control have to be checked, which is all very time consuming.
With integrated tool management, these steps can be automated—reducing search and setup times. The central data management makes data available anytime, anywhere, and enables direct data transfer between machines.
Tool management automation also increases efficiency of inventory management, productivity and process reliability, as the tools and tool lengths and changes are recorded, while the punch-stripper and die combinations and tool suitability are checked by the system automatically.
The Future of Punching
Punching technology has continuously developed in the last few years, and high-quality punching tools now do not leave any punching burr. Set up, sorting and removal is easier than ever before.
The demand for customer’s quality requirements is increasing, while the batch sizes are decreasing. It is therefore important to make precise calculations, but this is not exactly easy when a part is manufactured on several machines. The solution? Combining two technologies: punching and laser cutting into a single machine. And the benefits are below:
A combination that pays off
The punching head reaches standard contours and formings, while the laser cuts more complex contours, allowing you to produce a wide range of parts and even complete challenging orders on a single machine.
Lean logistics: Gain freedom
Integrate cutting, punching and forming processes on a single machine will reduce your calculation risk and the floor space required. Reduced waiting times and workflows such as setup and handling allow you to make multiple savings.
Combined processing: Best quality
Combining fits or forming with laser cutting not only reduces the waste you produce but allows you to manufacture high-precision components in a quality that was not possible to achieve when processing on several machines.
Short process chain: Simple logistics
With the right automation, your machine handles all parts automatically—loading, producing, sorting, stacking, unloading, and storing. There are virtually no limits to its loading and unloading capacity, therefore your machine works around the clock as needed.
Unlike other sheet metal fabricating technologies that have advanced significantly in recent years, punching is a relatively mature technology. In this interview, Joshua Tan of LVD (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd talks about where the advancements are happening in this industry.
Established in 1952, LVD Group is a global supplier of sheet metal fabrication equipment and software. The family-owned company—named after its founding fathers Jacques Lefebvre, Marc Vanneste and Robert Dewulf—gained recognition as a precision press brake manufacturer. Significant growth in the 1990s, which included the acquisition of U.S. based Strippit Inc. in 1998, and the addition of laser cutting technology to its portfolio, helped position LVD as a global leader in laser, punching and bending technology. Based in Gullegem, Belgium, the company has production facilities in Belgium, United States, France, Slovakia, and China, and is active in more than 46 countries around the world.
In an interview with Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News (APMEN), Joshua Tan, general manager of LVD (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, talks about the challenges in punching technologies, and how LVD is helping customers improve their processes.
WHAT ARE YOUR COMPANY’S KEY COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGES?
Joshua Tan (JT): Our competitive advantages come in the way of innovation, products, and agility. Year over year, we invest in R&D projects handled independently, and also in partnership with KU Leuven University. Our commitment to R&D ensures that our products and technology are leading-edge, addressing the needs of our customers and helping shape the industry we serve. As a result, LVD is a technology leader. We offer one of the most comprehensive product portfolios on the market. We are also recognized globally for our leadership in the bending field and for award-winning products like our Synchro-Form press brake. As a family-owned business, we operate independently and are able to set our strategic direction. This is fundamental to our corporate culture and future. Our strategy emphasizes in-house design and development of new metal forming equipment and processes: laser, punching, bending, and integration; and also to provide customers with integrated sheet metalworking solutions based on a three-tiered price-performance balanced product line structure.
WHAT SORT OF CHALLENGES DO YOUR CUSTOMERS USUALLY EXPERIENCE?
JT: We are in an age of small batches, complex parts and tight margins, fuelled by the use of 3D CAD systems. Fab shops are forced to turn around jobs in days or hours as opposed to weeks. As a result, fabricators are driven to increase production efficiency in order to stay competitive. From a punching perspective, more fabricators are forming in the punch press, whether it’s to add value to a part or to eliminate secondary processing. Forming operations range from countersinks, tabs, and knockouts, to louvers and even continuous embosses. The right punching equipment can help eliminate secondary operations by completing multiple processes, including complex, three-dimensional parts, on a single machine.
WHERE DOES LVD COME IN? HOW ARE YOU HELPING YOUR CUSTOMERS ADDRESS THEIR MANUFACTURING ISSUES?
JT: Finding the right technology for the application is key. We guide our customers to the solution that best fits their need. The modern CNC punch press provides a high cost-per-part efficiency and productivity when it comes to batch runs and producing 3D or formed parts. But, as with any other technology, it’s critical to make the right choice. With today’s single-head, hydraulic and servo-electric-drive turret punch press offerings, fabricators need to choose wisely to make the best investment for their business. The advantage that LVD has is two-fold: we offer the broadest array of punching technologies available—single-head and turret style, hydraulic and servo-electric-drive machines. This gives us the objectivity to properly evaluate a fabricator’s requirements and match their needs to the right type of punch press; and, we have a legacy of punching innovation. Our Strippit brand of punching equipment is acknowledged as market leader, having introduced a number of industry firsts, such as the first fully guided, self-stripping, self-contained tools and the numerically controlled single-station punch press.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE LATEST TECHNOLOGIES OR INNOVATIONS IN PUNCHING TECHNOLOGY?
JT: Unlike other sheet metal fabricating technologies that have advanced significantly in recent years, such as fibre laser, punching is a relatively mature technology. Advancements have come in the form of more flexible punching equipment—machines able to handle a broader range of applications primarily through tooling and software advancements and through the addition of automation. Case in point, we’ve recently introduced our Extended Tool Magazine (ETM) for the Strippit PX punch press. This external magazine houses 40 additional punch/die combinations in a wheel configuration for easy access. The ETM can be loaded/unloaded while the machine is punching. It also includes tool life monitoring by recording the number of hits for each tool. This feature allows the operator to monitor when it is time to sharpen the tool. Also new to our punching line is our Strippit E servo-electric press drive machine, which delivers more precise control of ram positioning, with the capability of handling a larger range of operations, high reliability and energy efficiency. This type of punch press is especially attractive for companies with high electricity usage needs (operating many machines), for those with a maximum amperage limit, or in countries where electricity is at a premium.
WHAT MAKES YOUR PUNCHING TECHNOLOGIES UNIQUE COMPARED TO THE REST IN THE MARKET?
JT: With a punching legacy that dates back to the 1928, our Strippit brand has led the industry in punching technology advancements. We patented the industry’s first fully guided self-stripping, self-contained tooling that changed the industry, as well as the first NC turret punch press, the process of contour nibbling and auto-indexing, and the industry’s first punch/laser combination machine in 1978. Because of this innovation history, our punching products include features like a high-efficiency ram that provides full tonnage throughout the complete stroke, indexable multi-tool, Energy Reduction System that reduces average power consumption, and programmable, relocatable clamps that automate clamp movement, to name a few.
With our acquisition of Pullmax in 2010, we became the only worldwide punch press builder that offers a complete range of punching technology—electric-drive, hydraulic, single-head punching equipment. This allows us to be fully objective when discussing a punch press solution with a fabricator. Because we offer all technologies, we can truly find the best solution for the application.
WHAT NEW TECHNOLOGY APPLICATIONS HAVE YOU SEEN EMERGING OVER THE PAST YEAR OR TWO?
JT: We’ve seen interest in electric-drive equipment, in automation, and in reducing the direct cost per part through value-added processes like forming and tapping. In response, we’ve introduced products to address application requirements.
Our electric drive punching machines use 20% to 40% less energy than their hydraulic counterparts. The variable charges are 20% lower than hydraulic systems. Noise is also reduced and is about 15% less than hydraulic punch presses. In addition, accuracy in forming is enhanced. The use of a planetary gearbox technology and direct drive to the ball screw makes the electro-mechanical system the counterforce of punching cycle more reliable and robust. This punch press has only 19 major components, and features shoulder bearing to absorb all forces.
WHAT CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES ARE YOU SEEING?
JT: In Southeast Asia, there is a demand for punch press equipment of high quality, flexibility and with unique features. Fabricators want a workhorse of a punching machine with the added flexibility of forming. In this region, a single-head punch press has a competitive advantage over a turret punching machine. The challenge comes in making the investment for this technology—shops don’t always have the margins to justify the investment. That’s why we work with fabricators to help them balance equipment price and performance and realize the true cost of ownership.
WHAT FORCES DO YOU SEE DRIVING THE INDUSTRY?
JT: In the Southeast Asian market, the sheet metal industry is primarily driven by infrastructure projects initiated by local government as well as some private companies. This region is still developing, so there is a continued demand for construction needed to build the area’s infrastructure.
WHICH INDUSTRY SEGMENTS IN SOUTHEAST ASIA ARE YOU SEEING STRONG GROWTH IN 2020?
JT: For ASEAN, we anticipate growth in the telecommunication-related market segment as companies will be upgrading from 4G to 5G technology. This will, in turn, contribute to all related industries, including those companies manufacturing enclosures, rack systems, cable trunking, etc. In addition, we see the oil and gas market making a comeback given the Brent crude oil pricing is gaining positive momentum. The automotive market should also experience growth, but it may not be strongly positioned due to a weaker market segment.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE CUSTOMERS WHEN IT COMES TO CHOOSING THE PUNCHING TECHNOLOGIES FOR THEIR APPLICATIONS?
JT: For fabricators looking to punching technology, we say look outside of the box. Wheel tools, forming tools, and bending tools are more exact and precise with the monitoring equipment that’s now offered. Today’s punching machines can do so much more—they can tap, bend, down form, up form, coin—this versatility can help expand a fabricator’s business. It’s also important to recognize that the choice of punch press is as individual as the application. Now, with more machine designs on the market and greater capabilities across a range of punching machines, it’s important to take a closer look at what each punching technology offers and consider the system that can deliver the best all-around solution for the requirements. It may not be as clear-cut a choice as you think.
Trumpf’s TruPunch a thousand processes sheet thicknesses of up to 0.25 in with up to 600 strokes per minute. The proprietary Delta Drive takes away the necessity for the sheet and support table to maneuver within the Y axis as a result of it permits the punching head to “fly”, i.e. to maneuver back and forth, Being very versatile, the grow-with-you conception means the punching machine are often upgraded to a punch optical device machine. It conjointly offers skillfulness with subtle functions and tools.
Strong however compact, it needs fifteen % less area than the previous model. The SheetMaster Compact provides reliable loading and unloading processes. The machine are often remodeled into the TruMatic a thousand fiber by retrofitting the optical device and alternative parts.
The concept of punching designates a slitting process in which a sheet is severed in one stroke while shapes such as round holes are created in the part, and external contours are cut with single strokes. Punching specialist Trumpf takes a swing at explaining the methodologies and innovations of punching.
An entry-level segment punching machine that can gradually be expanded into a fully-fledged combination machine has caught industry attention with a host of innovative features from punching holes to bends flanges and forms threads. By Trumpf
The search for an economical, compact and automation-friendly punching machine that is specifically designed to grow with their business will be unveiled by Trumpf at this year’s Euroblech. The TruPunch 1000 can be expanded into an equally space-saving TruMatic 1000 fibre punch laser machine, allowing sheet metal processors to upgrade their machine to keep pace with their growing business.
With its expandable functionality, the TruPunch 1000 provides the perfect entry point into the world of professional punching. It can handle sheets up to 6.4 mm thick at rates of up to 600 strokes a minute, yet is remarkably compact. With a footprint of just 6.5 x 4.9 metres, the TruPunch 1000 stand-alone machine is around 15 percent smaller than its predecessor.
“The space we have here is limited, but the compact TruPunch 1000 slotted into the same space previously occupied by a Trumatic 200,” said Thomas Herberger, managing director of Herberger Metallwaren, a company that participates in the product testing program. “Now we can process medium-format sheets without having to reposition them and that really speeds up our production process.”
As their business evolves, sheet metal processors sometimes yearn for the greater variety of parts that can be manufactured by a combination system – and with the TruPunch 1000 there’s no need to buy a second machine. Thanks to its novel modular design, the TruPunch1000 can be retrofitted with a laser cutting system, a laser evacuation unit and a beam guard system.
A three kilowatt TruDisk solid-state laser can be connected up to convert the TruPunch 1000 punching machine into a punch laser machine. This configuration precisely matches the other recent addition to the product range of Trumpf: the TruMatic 1000 fibre.
This is the first time that Trumpf has offered a combination machine in the entry-level segment, a move that makes it easier for customers to make the switch from purely 2D laser processing to punch laser technology.
Customers who already have a TruDisk solid-state laser can also use this to operate the TruMatic 1000 fibre via the Trumpf laser network. The price of the new machine is undoubtedly appealing, and – with the TruMatic 1000 fibre’s specifications matching those of the previous TruMatic 3000 fibre model – customers don’t need to sacrifice anything in the way of performance.
Both the new models in the 1000 range offer completely redesigned drive technology, which is crucial to the success of the modular concept.
The patented “Delta Drive” literally marks a new movement in the world of industrial punching technology. The advanced engineering team of Trumpf came up with the new drive to facilitate the construction of smaller machines and open up new methods of material handling.
The secret of the Delta Drive is that it eliminates the need to move the sheet and work table in the y-axis – normally an integral requirement of sheet metal processing. It achieves this by making the punching head quickly manoeuvre in that direction.
This new approach involves a drive system that is powered by two servomotors. When the servomotors move in the same direction, they allow the punching head to move back and forth in the y-axis. And when the ball screws rotate in opposite directions, this activates the punching stroke.
The y-axis can be accelerated far faster in this arrangement, because the punch drive is also used for travel motion, eliminating the need to move the sheet or work table.
As a result, the punching process is more dynamic and the machine is more productive. Furthermore, the lower relative movement between the machine table and the metal sheet reduces the risk of jamming and collisions, making the process more reliable overall. Finally, the stationary machine table significantly reduces the size of the machine’s footprint.
Both the TruPunch 1000 and the TruMatic 1000 fibre can automatically sort finished parts measuring up to 180 mm × 180 mm. All processed parts are sent down a chute into a sorting unit which moves in a linear direction. From there they can be sorted into a series of boxes (up to 4 different 400 mm × 300 mm boxes). The boxes are positioned below the machine, which provides for easy removal by the operator.
Due to the innovative movement of the punching head, the machine also offers an alternative way to remove the parts. This second method comprises an additional big flexible parts flap, which is available as an optional extra for the TruPunch 1000 and fitted as standard in the TruMatic 1000 fibre.
The flap can be equipped with a sensor that detects whether all the parts have been properly ejected from the machine’s working area. Designed with relatively generous proportions, this parts flap can also be used to eject long and wide parts into containers or onto conveyors or pallets during both punching and laser operations.
“Often we fill sheets with just four to six parts, and in the past we had to remove and sort them manually,” Trumpf testing partner Herberger of explained. “But with the TruPunch 1000 nobody has to keep watch over the process because the machine simply ejects the parts through the generously sized flap and places them straight in the crate for us.”
Trumpf was also determined to make the TruMatic 1000 fibre as compact as possible. One way the company achieved this was by developing a special space-saving beam guard system that is compatible with the machine’s modular concept. This protective housing is gathered closely around the machine table in a skirting manner. In punching mode it moves downwards, giving the operator a direct and unobstructed view of the process.
But as soon as the program switches to laser processing, the protective skirt rises and a hood is lowered over the Delta Drive, to which the laser processing unit is attached.
This protective screen effectively intercepts the small amount of scattered that could potentially escape at a shallow angle below the work table brushes during production. There are also two laser safety screens that allow visual monitoring of the ongoing process.
Even in their automated versions, these two machines from the 1000 product series are more compact than any other comparable machines on the market. Both of them can also be connected to the new SheetMaster Compact.
This automation system loads small and medium-format sheets and blanks and unloads micro joint sheets and scrap skeletons. Thanks to its optimised loading cycles, it can reliably complete most of these tasks while the machine is in operation. Both machines are equipped with an intuitive touchscreen to make life easier for operators. The MobileControl app can also be used to operate the machines from a tablet.
The TruTops Boost Punch software is required for programming, and both the license and maintenance agreement already come with the machines as standard.
Delta-Drive eliminates the need to move the metal sheet and machine table in the y-axis by moving the punching head in this axis instead.