Will industrial punch presses still be needed in the future?

Punch presses and stamp presses have evolved over the decades to meet the demands of an ever-changing manufacturing landscape. But, as things continue to progress, does this mean punch presses will eventually become obsolete?

An industrial punch press machine utilises powerful electric motors and a clutch or braking system, along with considerable force (often a high-speed, hydraulic-powered ram), to “punch” holes into materials – most commonly sheet metal – to produce a wide variety of workable pieces to be used in manufacturing. Punch presses work across virtually all industries including electrical, medical, chemical, automotive and countless others.

Given just how relied upon they are in the manufacturing process, it is reasonable to assume most punch presses will continue to be an invaluable tool for decades to come. The industrial press remains the most practical and reliable tool in manipulating such materials, thanks to its impressive force, accuracy and, most recently, options for automation.

With this in mind, here are just a few reasons why punch presses will still be around for quite some time.

Why punch presses will remain an essential part of manufacture

Automation for scale

Before automation technology was invented and available on a large scale, workers needed to manually load punch presses every time a new sheet needed to be punched, or every time a new die needed to be loaded to procure the desired effect.

However, thanks to Computer Numerical Control (CNC) punching, machines can not only punch within an exceptional degree of accuracy, but also adjust themselves to punch precise parts of the material for maximum gain. On top of this, if multiple dies are pre-loaded, they can alternate between them, depending on the desired result.

By using CNC technology, punch press machines can mass-punch huge numbers of materials to meet demand (more on that in a moment). Unless a more efficient or accurate technology is on the horizon – which is unlikely at the moment – it’s likely this punch press process will continue for years to come.

As the population increases, manufacturing will need to increase to meet demand

The global population recently passed the eight billion mark. Given that this number is four times the population that was around only a century ago, it’s understandable that manufacturing processes have needed to keep up across the decades to meet the increased demand.

Because of this, punch presses – and industrial presses of all kinds – have been utilised to a massive degree to produce enough parts and tools to stay in line with growing numbers.

Beyond some minor manufacturing errors, this process has remained an effective way to keep people across all industries equipped with the things they need. This suggests punch press machines will remain an essential component of the manufacturing process as demand continues to grow.

Powerful and safe

The main caveat with older presses was the level of human involvement required.

Because they were manually operated, materials needed to be constantly loaded and moved around, before being pressed physically by a worker. This was a very strenuous and time-consuming effort and, while there is still a considerable level of human involvement in punch presses, modern safety standards (alongside automation) have made them a far safer yet consistently powerful tool.

The majority of injuries sustained in a punch press environment today are a result of human error or poor safety practices. As long as the appropriate rules are followed, expect to continue to see punch presses used in many industries globally, with worker safety remaining paramount.

Speak to Cambridge Dynamics about your punch press needs

If you’re wondering how punch press machines, stamp presses or presses of all kinds may be beneficial to your business, speak to Cambridge Dynamics.

Our years of experience in the press space make us the ideal choice to offer good advice and solutions that will meet your press needs.

Get in touch with a member of the team today to find out more.

01480 459555