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An Update On Punch Press Technology

Nov./Dec, 2011

Metal Finish and Salvagnini America punch presses offer new features that result in more stable and productive machines, yielding plenty of benefits to customers, such as increased hit speeds, reduced maintenance, decreased energy consumption and increased part accuracy.

Metal Finish (EUROMAC)

EUROMAC has introduced a number of new features to its punch press offerings in both its new and current models. These systems enhance EUROMAC machines’ overall efficiency and capabilities, and help customers to increase their productivity.

“Incorporating the new technology makes our existing models very much up to date,” says Daniel Dechamps, Euromac USA president. “Instead of changing the model, name and appearance, we mainly changed technology.”

Amongst these changes is the introduction of what Dechamps calls the Flex Hydraulic System: an electric servo-driven hydraulic valve to control the motion of the main cylinder. The system allows complete control over the cylinder’s vertical movement, speed and acceleration/deceleration, while also providing up to 2000 hits per minute.

“With this technology, you can approach the material surface with the tool very fast, then you can slow it down so that it pierces through the material very quietly and without a lot of stress on the frame,” says Dechamps. “After that, you can accelerate and retract very quickly again.”

Overall the ram stroke can be controlled to accurately suit a large variety of advanced applications. The high degree of control allows for even more forming capabilities, both for continuous and single hit forms. Thicker and higher strengths materials, up to 0.375 in. thick in some cases, can be processed on EUROMAC machines without stress or damage to the frame or the tool. In combination with a higher possible hit rate, this increases both the possibilities and the productivity. 

In terms of reliability, the Flex also has the advantage of simplicity. Less moving parts than the conventional hydraulic control valves increases the reliability and decreases the repair and maintenance cost.

Another aspect of cost is that it allows the hydraulics to run on less power consumption. On average this system requires less than 5 kW of electrical input, thus reducing energy cost.

“If there was an energy star rating system for hydraulic CNC punching systems, we would be the top contender,” comments Dechamps.

The precise control afforded by the Flex-Hydraulic-System also reduces tool wear, as the machine produces less deflection and the slower penetration reduces galling.

Another benefit provided by Flex series machines is integrated software that makes forming processes easier. The software allows the forming process to be programmed right at the machine, instead of requiring it to be done offline, as is the case with many other punching machines. Even when using offline programming, macros in the machine significantly simplify the edits by the programmers.

“There are other systems out there that do the same thing as our Flex Hydraulic system, but they are far more complicated, far more expensive and not as simple or as reliable.

“Now you have the technology in a much simpler, much more economical form. This is really unique to EUROMAC – it is currently our number one differentiator from our competition,” Dechamps comments.

EUROMAC’s flex-hydraulic technology is available in ZX, MTX-6 and MTX-12 models – every machine except for the BX series machines.

In addition to the Flex Hydraulic System, EUROMAC has introduced another new technology to their punch press offerings: total thermal stability in their cast iron frames, allowing for very low die clearances on the machine.

“The cast iron frame is stable in itself,” says Dechamps. “Then, on top of this, we make it stable to external temperature variation by using the thermal energy of the hydraulics. So if you have a heat source – something that produces a temperature gradient, like a radiant heater coming from one side or an open door next to the machine in the winter –it doesn’t affect the alignment.”

EUROMAC has also added more material loading and unloading capabilities to their machines. They are now able to handle sizes from a full 5 ft. by 10 ft. sheet feed down to a 12 in. by 20 in. sheet feed, along with automatic clamp positioning and the ability to unload small parts through a chute mid-punching, without stopping the machine.

“Why do we offer such a great value? Our technology is very efficient, and our manufacturing process is very efficient. We offer an incredible amount of technology at a price point that is unheard of,” says Dechamps.

Salvagnini America

Salvagnini America has updated its punch press line within the last year by introducing changes to two of its machines: the S4X30 and the S4X40. The changes help customers increase part accuracy and reduce the machine’s maintenance.

Included in the changes are a revamped die-access guiding system, an upgraded part-conveyor system and an entirely new pump motor combination. The die-access guiding system is now a double-ball screw instead of a single-ball screw, which improves the accuracy of the machine. The conveyor system is now a full-surface brush conveyor that’s much more rigid and provides better support, while requiring less maintenance.

The new pump motor is a high efficiency combination that features an automatically controlled high/low pressure range.

“It drops about 5kW off the electrical consumption for the machine,” notes Bill Bossard, Salvagnini America’s president.

The developments featured here result in more stable and more productive machines that will no doubt increase customers’ punching efficiency, but future developments may increase customers’ productivity even more.

These developments from Metal Finish and Salvagnini America have resulted in machines that are more stable and productive, yielding increases in punching efficiency for customers. Future developments will increase customers’ productivity even more.

It’s possible that future developments could remove the need for CAD/CAM post processors Dechamps muses.

“Looking toward the future, one of the key developments I see is how we’ll program the machines,” says Dechamps. “We’re looking into eliminating the need for third-party offline programming systems. There are very few hurdles at this point incorporating more functionality into the machine control. We need to reduce the time from drawing to part.”

If such things become a reality, it will be interesting to see what else the future holds for punch press technology.

Metal Finish

Salvagnini America