Top tips to maintain industrial punch presses

Industrial punch presses – also known as “punching presses” or simply “punch press machines” – are large, powerful mechanical presses used to automatically or manually punch holes or shapes into large quantities of materials, most often sheet metal. They’re used in a vast array of industries to form materials, parts and products, making them an essential part of modern production techniques.

However, because they’re put under so much pressure daily, mechanical punch presses can sometimes succumb to issues in the way they operate – failing to produce efficient, accurate punches and costing the operator time and money. But with a little effort and care, and some good advice, punch presses can be maintained to a very high standard; a standard that can then be passed on to the products they produce.

At Cambridge Dynamics, we’re experts in all things punch presses and presses of all kinds – including stamping presses, forming presses, press automation and much more. So if you need a hand with your punch press machines, get in touch with the team today. Or, if you’re looking for some helpful advice, here are a few ways you can prolong the life and the effectiveness of mechanical punch presses.

Ensure the ram is in good shape

The hydraulic-powered ram – or “arm” – is the part of the punch press that drives into the workpiece, applying intense force to produce the same shape or hole repetitively. But if your ram has been used endlessly for a long time, it can begin to show signs of wear in the work it produces. Punches won’t be as clean as they once were, or the ram may begin to struggle to pierce the piece at all.

When this happens, it may be time to replace the ram to ensure the rest of your work doesn’t suffer. Alternatively, you can inspect the ram and if the issue is not major, you can make slight alterations to it, such as mild sharpening or regrinding, to return to the desired effect.

Use lubrication

Because the punch press and the materials meet with such force, and both are considerably resistant to pressure, proper lubrication is necessary to ensure the good health of both the workpiece and the press. Lubrication will help the press punch through the material more easily and prevent damage that may ruin the workpiece’s function.

However, lubricants and lubrication methods differ from press to press, material to material. If you need to know more about which lubrication is correct for your setup and work materials, and how to properly apply it, reach out to Cambridge Dynamics today and we’d be happy to advise.

Use high-quality dies

A die is an essential component of any press. It is the tool around which workpieces are manipulated with pressure from the ram, holding firmly in place, to produce the required hole, shape or effect. Because they withstand such intense pressures, dies need to be made from exceptionally sturdy materials, like forms of super strong steel, to guarantee they will not falter.

However, it is understandable that, over time, these dies may begin to offer less resistance, resulting in improper results. That is when they must be replaced with new dies to make sure all future workpieces are cut to the most accurate degree possible.

Speaking of accuracy…

Make sure your workpieces are precisely aligned

Because many punch presses are now automated, accidents that happen without the watchful eye of a human worker can occur. But when it comes to the loading of materials, it is still often the role of a real person to place the materials into the press with pinpoint precision, to ensure the press produces the hole or shape required.

Because many modern forming presses and punch presses work using automated Computer Numerical Control (CNC) technology, they are able to produce consistently accurate pieces time after time. But if the workpiece is not centred properly, the results could be useless, so always ensure your workpieces are placed exactly where they need to be in CNC-controlled punch presses.

Choose Cambridge Dynamics for all your punch press needs

If you’re in need of punch presses within your organisation, or if you need advice on how to make the most of your manual or CNC punch press, speak to Cambridge Dynamics.

With decades of combined experience, our team are your go-to source for punch press machines, parts, knowledge and more.

01480 459555