The advancement of technology allowed sheet metal designs to be more complicated. However, this level of complication has surpassed human capabilities (as far as mass production is concerned). The required accuracy for the intricacy of the designs can only be provided by Computer Numerical Controlled (CNC) machines.
The Punch press
An example of a CNC machine that is used in sheet metal manipulation is the punch press. This device uses hydraulic, pneumatic, or electrical power to exert immense pressure to shape the metal and cut it according to the designs. Being computer aided, this machine is capable of rapid positioning and therefore, fast production. Manual punch presses compromise speed for accuracy therefore lessening efficiency.
The punch press works by receiving instructions from a program in a computer. This allows the operator to sit back and relax once the cycle (rapid positioning, punching, and switching of tools) has been initiated. These machines perform operations with accuracy that is measured by the thousandth of an inch.
Introduction of these machines into the sheet metal industry sped up production significantly. And to stay...