Single Head Punch vs. Turret Punch in Metal Fabrication

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All metal fabrication projects have similar goals: Produce quality components while maximizing both time and cost efficiency. Single-head punching technology is one of the most effective ways to attain those goals.

Single-head punch technology configures the tool over the centerline of the ram, allowing fabricators to produce holes smaller than the material thickness. Additionally, a single-head design allows the machine to use any tool and rotate it in any direction. This capability improves punching efficiency, and with only one tool in contact with the material at a time, single-head punching minimizes unwanted marks on the material, which would require time and money to correct.

The alternative is a turret punch, which can contain dozens of tools in a carousel that will rotate to the appropriate tool when needed. Using a turret head reduces the need to buy individual tools, which can help reduce the cost of fabrication machinery; however, there are some drawbacks to this equipment. Only one tool in the head is active at any given time, unevenly distributing wear among the tools in the head. The presence of multiple tools also limits the versatility of the tool in use, often requiring manual updates to the tool paths and material setup. The time you could save with the fast-operating, multi-tool functionality of a turret head may be lost in adjusting the tool paths and materials, in addition to any quality control needed post-production.

On the other hand, single-head technology enables fabricators to use any tool, only when it’s needed. The equipment conducts tool exchanges itself, off the material, resulting in a more precisely cut component. Perhaps the greatest efficiency with a single-punch is how its flexibility reduces waste and the need for manual updates to the programmed tool paths. The ability to rotate tools in any direction allows fabricators to dynamically nest parts to maximize component production per sheet, keeping material costs down. Single-head versatility reduces punching inventory by 30 percent.

Given its advantages in efficiency and equipment longevity, single-head punching  should be a priority for companies searching for a metal fabrication partner. At Mainstay, we have invested in this highly capable equipment in order to best serve our clients’ needs in component quality, efficiency and affordability.