As would be expected, as a quality and speed focused fabrication shop our laser cutter is the process of choice for most processing of flat sheet metal parts. However it's not our only option. While most shops have done away with their punch presses and stamping equipment, we maintain two CNC punching stations with a wide assortment of tooling.
Due to it's unique advantages for some operations, it can be considerably faster and cheaper, or the only choice in some cases. Many of our customers will have received quotes for volume production from other shops which only have a laser and standard fabrication equipment and are shocked when our quote comes back at a fraction of the price per unit. Because we have a 33,000sqf facility we have the space to maintain a variety of equipment which gives us the flexibility to take advantage of various manufacturing methods which in turn benefits our customers.
A punch press can do things a laser can't, such as pressing nice clean louvers and countersinks, eliminating the need to add these in down stream processes which can reduce overall labor costs. With custom tooling (which we produce in-house) a CNC press brake can also completely form many simple parts in a single hit. These qualities make a CNC Punch press a good choice for making high volumes of simple parts.
It's also generally more economical to use a punch press when you need to produce parts with numerous holes. When cutting a perforated pattern with the laser the entire circumference of each hole must be cut which quickly adds up to many linear feet of cutting. With a punch press it's possible to form many holes comparatively much quicker.
Some materials aren't economical or even possible to cut with a laser such as copper, brass, and thicker aluminum.