CNC machines in precision sheet metal fabrication
CNC machines are computers that are programmed to perform specific tasks according to the exact specifications of the customer without high capital expenditure on dies and stamping processes. CNC machines have gained popularity due to their ability to produce precise parts while reducing the cost of labor. High volume production is not required in order to justify the use of the CNC machines since it can range from as little as 10 sets to as much as 100 sets. In the CNC machine, tooling is mounted on a turret that is mounted on the upper part of the press which has a range of capacity from 10 tons to 100 tons.
A turret lathe is used for repetitive production of duplicated parts in precision sheet metal fabrication. It allows for multiple cutting operations to be performed in easy rapid succession without the need for the operator to set up tasks in between operations or control the tool path. The turret travels on lead screws and computer controlled as they travel on the x and y direction. Alternatively the work piece travels on the lead screws and move relative to the fixed turret. The tooling is located over the sheet metal, the punch is activated and performs the required operation after which the turret is indexed to the next location on the work piece. After the first stage of operation is completed wherein the tooling is deployed over the entire work piece, the second stage is rotated into place and the process is repeated until all the tooling positions of the turret has been deployed.
Advantages of the turret lathe in precision sheet metal fabrication
- The use of the turret lathe provides for more flexibility because it can produce many different configurations of parts due to the modular nature of the tooling that is employed. In certain circumstances when the punches and dies are already available, they can be mixed and matched to create different configurations.
- Since most of the tooling is already available the lead time in creating tooling is reduced or totally non-existent. After the CNC machine has been programmed, all that needs to be done is schedule the work order in production.
- Depending on the complexities of parts required, quantities can be economically made into thousands with simple outer contours and normal size holes. However, when the required parts are complex and involve irregular outer contours and large holes, a longer cycle time might be required and a dedicated tooling can be justified in small production runs.
A broad range of fabrication equipment and capabilities are provided for industries and their applications through advanced technology in precision sheet metal fabrication.