A punch press is a type of machine press used to cut holes in material. It can be small and manually operated and hold one simple die set, or be very large, CNC operated, with a multi-station turret and hold a much larger and complex die set.
Perhaps the most common type of machine press is the punch press. Punch presses live up to their namesake by “punching” holes into workpieces. They typically feature either C or portal frame. The former uses a hydraulic ram, whereas the latter uses a centered ram. Punch presses can be operated manually, or they can be operated using CNC. Regardless, all punch presses are designed to create holes in workpieces by punching them with a pressurized tool.
Another common type of machine press is the stamping press. Stamping presses are similar to punch presses, with both types of machine presses using a pressurized tool to manipulate a workpiece. Stamping presses, however, don’t actually create clean or complete holes. They simply deform the workpiece so that it takes the shape of the die with which it’s pressed. The workpiece is secured to the stamping press’s bolster plate, at which point it’s sandwiched between a press tool and die. The stamping press pushes the tool onto the workpiece, thereby forcing the workpiece to take the shape of the underlying die.
Almost every home has something in it that was produced by a clicker press. A clicker press is a machine that cuts shapes out of rolls of soft material, such as rubber, cardboard, or leather, using a sharp metal piece called a die. A click press is often used to manufacture parts for shoes, wallets, and virtually any other type of cut product that is made from sheets of flexible material.
Open Back Inclinable Press (OBI)
The most versatile and most widely used of mechanical presses. It is a single crank press of either the flywheel or single geared type. It has a gap frame that is arranged so that the press may be inclined. This frame provides unobstructed access to the die space from three sides of the press and the inclinable allows the press to be arranged so that the finished parts may be removed from the die by gravity and directed through an opening in the back of the press.
Gap-Frame Press (C-Press)
A type of stamping press with a frame shaped like the letter "C" from the side view, with the front (or operator side) completely open. Can be either an open-back inclinable or an open-back straight press.
While three-sided access to the forming area is appealing (or required) for many applications, C-frame presses are typically best suited for applications needing smaller bed sizes and lower tonnages, like assembly.
CNC Turret Punch/Press
A turret punch, also called a turret press, is a machine that uses punching to form metal shapes. Turret punching involves pushing a punch through a piece of metal to create a hole. There may be a die on the other side of the hole to contain the metal. The turret punch can make holes in a variety of different diameters and can make about as many holes in a sheet of metal as you may need for your fabrication. You would use a turret punch if you are cutting many repetitive shapes in a row.
Turret punching is an extremely fast and affordable way to make holes in sheet metal, so people who need a quick, economical way of making holes in sheet metal will often look to turret punching. The turret punch is so cost-effective because it contains multiple tooling in one device, meaning manufacturers avoid the expense of creating multiple, job-specific punch tools.