The use of CNC punch presses and CNC press brakes have given us a great deal of flexibility when manufacturing sheet metal work. We can produce small batches of sheet metal fabrications without any tooling costs which is always a bonus for you when running prototypes or projects that will never require large volumes of components. This isn’t the whole story, some parts will always be better suited to press tools being run on power presses. Press work may be more suitable for your sheet metal design if you have large volumes of parts to assemble and your design is relatively stable.
The cost of the tooling can soon be amortised other larger volumes and you will then save money over the life of the product. Power press tooling also has a great advantage when you require more complex shapes formed into the sheet metal. Press brakes are very efficient at forming simples V bends, joggles and safe edges but dedicated tooling is needed for more complex forms. For instance, an end caps with all 4 sides bent up can be produced by CNC punching and CNC bending but the corners would need to be welded and cleaned up to produce a homogeneous joint. These processes would be time consuming and expensive compared to a single hit form tool that can ‘wipe’ the 4 sides up and form a ‘bull nose’ corner joint in the same operation.
Our press work facilities can range from small hydraulic powered fly presses with a few tonnes of force, ideally suited to forming up small clips, hooks, dimples, pressing in rivet bushes/studs etc right through to a 55 tonne fast action HME mechanical power press. Sheet metal material can be supplied to the power press as pre-cut blanks, sheared strip or coil. Each have their advantage and we would select the best method to suit the component profile and processes that are required to produce your component. If the volumes are higher enough we can run the press tooling being fed with coils of materials. We have a CNC coil feed line with de-coilers and levellers allowing us to take the materials straight from the coil through the press tooling and into the receiving bins without being touched by hand.
Some press tools are quite simple they may just pierce holes and produce the outer profile of the blanks, known as pierce and blank tooling. Some may be used with the outer profile already defined by previous press tool blanking or CNC punching. Other tools may be employed to produce forms with a component either within its profile e.g. label dimples, stiffening ribs or produce the outer form as the end cap discussed above. Some tools may have multiple stages within the tool die set where the component being manufactured is passed from stage to stage within the press tool to build up a more complex component, this tool type is know as a progression tool.
With all of these manufacturing techniques a combination of several types is usually needed to complete a job. A part my start off being pressed out using dedicated tooling and then CNC bent and spot welded or a CNC punched part may be formed in a press tool before being painted. As with all these machines and their manufacturing processes they enable us to offer you the most efficient range of processes to produce your sheet metal components as cheap as possible.