If you don’t have a lot of experience with metalworking or heavy machinery, you may not be very familiar with a turret punch. In this article, our experienced professionals at ACRA Machinery break down the ins and outs of a turret punch.

What is a turret punch?

A turret punch (also known as a turret press) is a type of press punch machine that is used to manufacture metal parts by punching shapes out of large metal sheets. The machine operates by using two turrets, with one placed above the machine (called a punch) and another below (called a die). Both the die and punch will move in sync with each other to punch the required shapes from the metal. Using a turret punch is great when it comes to making holes in metal sheets as the punch can be set to a variety of sizes and is perfect for mass production. Instead of a single punch, the machine uses a series of strokes that combine standard shapes like squares, circles, and hexagons to form the desired outcome.

Turret Punch

Types of Turret Punches

There are two main types of turret punches:

  • Manual turret punch
    • Before innovations in turret punch technology, manual turret punches were used. These are C frame presses that usually come with a rack-actuated ram. Using a manual turret punch requires great familiarity and experience as the machine does not come with sheet positioning or tool changing options. Hence, picking the correct tool from the turret for each operation is necessary.
  • CNC turret press
    • CNC punching technology has made a tremendous breakthrough in turret punching productivity. This new technology allows reduced cycle time, increased machine speed and enormous simplifications in terms of how the machine works. A CNC turret press can have up to 60 press tools to pick from, making it more user-friendly. This also greatly reduces the training required before using the machine. The most common operations involving a CNC turret punch are basic punching, piercing sheet metals, nibbling, embossing, creating ribs or hinges and coining metals.

Do I need a turret punch?

It depends on what you are trying to achieve. If you want to cut many repetitive shapes in succession, a turret punch would work perfectly. However, if you are looking to cut more complex shapes, using a laser cutter might work better. Deciding which machine is best for you can sometimes be confusing so having a good understanding of the differences between a turret punch and laser cutter can be helpful.

Why should I use a turret punch?

There are many options for metal sheet manufacturing, each with its own set of unique advantages and disadvantages. Turret punches have many benefits and are typically chosen for the job if the desired outcome is high-speed production and a wide range of versatility. Turret punches are also a great fit if you’re looking to have flexibility in the scale of production as it offers more dynamic manufacturing than other methods. Anyone who needs a quick and economical way of punching holes through sheet metals should consider turret punches. The ability to contain multiple tools in one device also means that manufacturers can decrease expenses as custom punch tools for specialised jobs will not be required.

Is it dangerous and how can I avoid getting hurt?

Like all other machines, sufficient training is required before operating a turret punch. However, even with the necessary training, turret punch operators need to be fully aware of potential hazards such as contact or impact from moving parts, having hands or fingers trapped by the tool, excessive noise, slips and trips and contact or impact from unexpected machine movement. A few controls you can have in place to avoid these are defining “no-touch” areas on the machine when in operation, ensuring the machine is fully shut off when not in operation (especially when loading and unloading), wearing the necessary eye and ear protection and maintaining an overall up-to-date housekeeping procedure in your facility.

The machine itself can be dangerous if not handled properly but if you have all the right practices and procedures in place, operating a turret punch should be a breeze.

Turret Punching with ACRA Machinery

If you need some help with your current turret punch or you’re in the market for a new one, our highly trained personnel at ACRA Machinery can offer professional advice tailored to your specific needs. We stock a variety of new and used turret punch presses and can answer all your questions to help give your turret punch the longest possible operational life.

For more information on turret punching or any of our other sheet metal machines and services, get in touch with us by calling 03 9794 6674 or contact us via our online enquiry form.