Sheet Metal Punching uses a dedicated punching tool for any project requiring holes in sheet metal.
More often than not, customer metal orders require some degree of processing, whether it’s cutting, or customization such as punching holes. Whether for decorative or functional purposes, sheet metal punching is a common customer request. Tampa Steel and Supply is fully equipped to carry out any metal punching request for a wide range of sizes and complexities.
If you are interested in sheet metal punching and would like to learn more about this metal process, the following overview can help.
What Is Sheet Metal Punching?
Sheet metal punching is a process that removes material out of sheet metal or strip metal by using a high amount of shearing force. Other methods of creating holes or moldings include torch or laser cutting. Metal punching works a little like a paper hole punch, but requires much more force and stronger punching tools.
Sheet metal punching tools are traditionally manually operated, but newer technology allows for automated and computer controlled punches that can create more intricate designs and mass produced punches.
Punches can range in size, shape, quantity, and spacing. Although the first thing you might think of is a round hole, sheet metal punches can be configured to punch any number of shapes, including triangles, squares, or even custom shapes.
How the Sheet Metal Punching Process Works
A modern sheet metal punching tool is a piece of heavy machinery that consists of a flat dye where the piece of metal rests and a punch that applies force to create the hole from above. Standard sheet metal punching processes follow these basic steps:
- The piece of sheet metal is placed onto the die under the punch
- The punch moves downward, creating a tremendous shearing force and separating the metal in the shape of the punch
- The excess metal falls through openings in the die and can be collected for recycling or other uses
Creating a high quality punch is the most important concern for any sheet metal punching process. To create a clean hole that does not stress or warp the surrounding metal requires a heavy duty machine that creates sufficient force. This is especially true of thicker and harder metals, which can be more difficult to punch through neatly, and requires heavy force to do so.
Punch tools must be carefully maintained and have parts regularly replaced, as punches have a limited number of before becoming too worn to make clean punches. Maintenance considerations can include regular lubrication of moving parts, replacement of air filters, and replacement of the puncher. As with any industrial equipment, regular safety inspections are also critical.
Advantages and Benefits of Sheet Metal Punching
Major advantages to sheet metal punching compared to other methods include:
- Versatility: Punching can be used on many types of metals, including steel, aluminum, and copper.
- Customization: Punching tools are able to make a variety of shapes, molding, and holes for a broad range of applications, from artistic to functional.
- Consistent: Compared to punching with a torch or other tool, dedicated sheet metal punches can create the same result over and over for mass production jobs.
- Cost-effective: Sheet metal punching jobs are typically more economical than laser cutting, particularly for simpler, high quantity projects.
Every project is different, and a knowledgeable metal processing expert can help you determine the right method and process for your unique needs. Factors to consider include the size of the project, timeframe, application, and the type of metal that requires punching.
Visit Tampa Steel & Supply for Quality Metal and Metal Processing Services
If you are looking for high quality metal and a wide range of metal processing services, including sheet metal punching, the Tampa Steel and Supply team is here to help. Our inventory includes an extensive list of steel products and aluminum for whatever project you need to tackle. For processing, our team has all of the necessary tools and equipment needed to get your project rolling. Our full range of services include plasma cutting, shearing, torch cutting, punching, band sawing, saw cutting, and more.
For nearly 40 years, we’ve been giving our customers the highest level of service. We know customers are the strength of our business and we’re here to help you every step of the way!