Punch Tooling with Unique Advantages

March 2013


Not all punch tooling is created equal.

Some tooling has unique advantages that help fabricators increase productivity through various means, and the different types of punch tooling described in this article do just that. They reduce tonnage, eliminate secondary operations, decrease changeover time or even increase compatibility among punches.


Di-Acro offers a series of punches and dies for single-station punch presses. Specifically, the 901 Series is designed for use in Di-Acro’s single-station punch presses No. 1 and No. 2. W.A. Whitney presses that use No. 2 and 28 Whitney tooling, as well as Roper Whitney presses that use No. 8 and 28 tooling, can also be accommodated.

“Since it’s single station, it doesn’t get into the bigger expenses associated with a bigger punch,” says Greg Mischo, president and owner of Di-Acro. “You might see it in smaller job shops, R&D labs, even schools or jewelers.

“It’s a cost-efficient machine, but it’s not really meant for a high-production environment.”

Di-Acro’s 901 Series offers a few unique advantages.

“As part of the 901 Series, we offer the Di-Acro Tooling Punch Pack that provides an assortment of common sizes of punches and dies,” says Tami Petrich, product manager. “Basically, that gives the customers the option of having any available size of punch tooling at their fingertips, without the need to be ordering more.”

Machine tonnage can also be increased on machines requiring more than four tons of punching pressure to process 16-gauge mild steel.

“What we call roof-top [or twin] shear can be added to the tooling, which reduces the tonnage by approximately 50 percent,” explains Petrich. “So, if the material you want to punch requires four tons, then you add roof-top shear, and it’s only going to require two tons.”

Di-Acro’s 901 Series tooling includes a standard clearance of 0.004 in. to 0.008 in. A center point is also included on all punches. In addition, 901 Series punches are available in two styles. No. 2 offers a maximum of 0.5-in. round or a shape within the perimeter of a 0.5-in. diameter. No. 4 offers a maximum of 4-in. round or a shape within the perimeter of a 4-in. diameter.

A final benefit is that the tooling is home grown.

“It’s all manufactured in the U.S. – our single-station machine and our tooling,” says Nicole Merritt, business manager. “We try to support mostly Midwestern machinists to source the parts.

“We have a certain visibility here as a U.S. company manufacturing in the U.S., and we make sure that everything that we use here in our shop is made to the standards that we think are important to our customers.”


Mate’s Hybrid Threadform forming tool for punch presses eliminates the need for “tapping and other labor-intensive secondary operations such as welding fasteners to sheet metal,” says a press release. Debris from tapping is also eliminated, in addition to reducing the cost of components by making the need for special fasteners obsolete.

“Many Mate tooling users are combining Mate’s Hybrid Threadform forming tool with other Mate special applications tooling for their fabricating projects,” says John Galich, Mate’s marketing manager. “For example, by combining [the] use of Mate’s Threadform forming tooling with EasyBend for forming corners, EasySnap to break apart pieces from sheet, you reduce setups, maximize machine usage and increase profitability.”

According to the press release, the tool is meant to be used “when the material thickness is greater than the screw pitch” and will thin “the material in the center of the form, creating a threadform helix so that [it] fits between the pitch of the screw head in just one operation.”

The forming tool includes “an upper and lower insert machined with a profile that precisely matches the thread helix of the screw thread. The geometry of this part is modeled electronically by a Mate Applications Specialist using [the company’s] advanced CAD software, creating a three-dimensional solid model for the specific requirements.”

Mate’s Hybrid Threadform forming tool is “available in all tooling styles and station sizes” and is “made from high-speed tool steel for precision results and long life,” in addition to being “backed by [the company’s] unconditional guarantee.”

Wilson Tool

Wilson Tool’s EXP Punch Technology increases productivity for fabricators by offering a standard punch holder with universal punches, as well as drastically reducing the amount of time necessary to change between tooling.

Watch this video on Wilson Tool’s EXP Punch Technology.

“Our motto has always been ‘be an innovator in the industry,’” says John Johnson, Wilson Tool’s product manager. “The EXP technology replaced the system that we called the HP or Series 90, which was the original replaceable-tip system that was introduced in the 90s.”

Wilson Tool’s EXP Punch Holders are available to fit all thick-turret brands of tooling. “Because we designed the EXP to retrofit older and newer styles, fabricators can use the EXP punch in any style they may use in their production,” explains Johnson.

Another key advantage of the EXP technology is its quick-changeability, as mentioned earlier. The video included in this article shows a side-by-side comparison of normal tooling versus EXP quick-change tooling, and, according to Johnson, EXP tooling is at least five to 10 times faster depending on the style of tooling.

“It has a cam-locking system, which works with a punch key that you insert into the cam and simply turn 180 degrees counter-clockwise to release the EXP punch,” he comments. “Then you put a new punch in the punch holder and turn 180 degrees clockwise to the lock position, and it’s done. It locks it that fast.

“So, there are no bolts. There are no threads. There’s none of that.”

All Wilson Tool EXP punches are manufactured with the company’s Ultima™ premium tool steel. The properties of this proprietary steel deliver very high wear-resistance, which results in twice the tool life than conventional steels.

“Our EXP line is a significant upgrade, and with the small size of the EXP punch, there’s less steel material in it, meaning we’re able to put high quality material in it and still keep the price point down,” says Johnson.

“Normally, the Ultima Tool is sold as an upgrade – we’d charge about 40 percent more for it. But it comes standard with the EXP, giving you 100 percent more product life and decreasing your downtime, as well, since you can use it twice as long before needing to sharpen it.

“There are a lot of cost savings involved with using the EXP System, and you get the speed of set-up, as well as the lower cost of ownership with the tool steel and the actual initial purchase. It also takes much less storage and space to keep extras and spares since it’s universal.”

Wilson Tool

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