Punch Press Uptime
Punch press uptime will increase if you know your process capability, manufacture products within that capability, and optimize the layout of your tooling. A process that can’t reliably produce the desired result will cause waste as people struggle to make serviceable parts; spend extensive time on setup; and lose productivity because of overly cautious press operation, such as running it slower.
Two Ways to Optimize Programming and Design
A critical aspect of successful Design for Manufacturing (DFM) is a cooperative effort between the product design engineering and manufacturing teams. The two groups must work together to develop the lowest-cost product design. The manufacturing group must communicate process capability, and the design group must communicate design intent while justifying the features of the product design. This iterative process becomes more efficient and effective as the team members better understand each other’s responsibilities and capabilities.
1. Utilize Rational Product Design
Punch press uptime will also increase if you minimize the variation in similar sizes and shapes of holes. For example, it is common to see round punches in increments of every 0.001” (0.0025mm) to 0.002” (0.0051mm) in diameter from 0.098” (2.49mm) through 0.394” (10.01mm). Decreasing the variety of standard-shape tools simplifies tool storage, maintenance and press setup time.
2. Incorporate Creative Programming
Press uptime can increase through the creative programming of parts. For example, installing a special shape tool, such as a complex corner notch, can increase press uptime by eliminating nibbling with other tools. Eliminate nibbling whenever possible to increase press uptime. Excessive nibbling also causes premature press wear, tool wear, punching debris, and lower-quality parts.
Five Ways to Optimize Tooling
1. Use a Standard Turret Layout
Press uptime will increase if you develop a standard turret layout for common tools and consistently provide programs that use those tools in their designated stations. Using a standard tool in a different station increases non-value-added time to change both the tool and the program, not to mention a higher risk of error. Locate tools needed for the next job as close to each other as possible to help decrease setup time.
2. Control from the Tool Room
Look for ways to keep your tooling organized when preparing for a changeover to the next job. Having a tooling room to manage, maintain and prepare tooling for each production order will change complex press setups into simple tool installations. This process saves time looking for tools and keeping them in a ready-to-use condition. It also ensures the use of the correct tool and proper die clearance. Organize tool rooms so everything is well-labeled, easily located, and ready for use. Discard any tools that have reached the end of their life.
3. Minimize Variation in Tool Styles
To increase punch press uptime, minimize the variation in the number of tool styles you use. Use a flexible tooling system to simplify the assembly and decrease the knowledge needed to perform tool changes and press setups.
4. Schedule Frequent and Proper Tool Maintenance
Maintain your tooling to keep it in working order and your press running. Sharpening a tool when it’s convenient is efficient and effective. While you may sharpen tools more frequently, removing smaller amounts per sharpening prolongs their life. In addition, properly maintained tools can run for long periods between sharpening.
5. Maintain Proper Die Clearance and Press Station Alignment
Die clearance is a function of the material type and thickness being punched. Incorrect die clearance results in slower press speeds, accelerated tool wear, punch point galling and lower-quality finished parts. Develop and prominently post a standard die clearance chart and train all press operators to understand why using the correct clearance is essential.
Add Value at the Punching Process
Ultimately, maximizing the value added to the product in the press is most important. Increasing the value added to the product can produce dramatic improvements to downstream processes. For example, most fabricators have processes following punching that could benefit by communicating information directly on the part with a tool. Find opportunities to use your punching process to improve the entire manufacturing process, and you can increase the overall quality of the product and the productivity of your people and equipment.
To learn more about these topics and more, download a copy of our Technical Solutions Guide.