In the midst of rapid economic and technological progress, various sectors have made significant strides, particularly witnessing exponential growth in the online economy. This surge has fueled an escalating demand for network cabinets, server cabinets, and power cabinets. As a result, sheet metal and cabinet manufacturers are under increasing pressure to refine their production methods and explore innovative manufacturing processes that can meet the demands of high-quality, efficient, and automated cabinet production.
Traditional Sheet Metal Production Techniques
Currently, cabinets are predominantly manufactured by sheet metal or cabinet manufacturers. The processes of material cutting and stamping involve the following methods:
Conventional Punching Press Production:
This conventional approach involves manual feeding. Due to the diverse dimensions and stamping features of sheet metal components, multiple sets of hardware molds are often required to process a single sheet metal part across different punching presses. This method not only hampers achieving elevated production efficiency but also poses safety risks. It requires extensive collaboration among workers, resulting in significant labor intensity. Given the escalating labor costs due to our nation’s economic development, this production method is gradually being phased out.
CNC Punching Press Production:
The prevailing production method in today’s sheet metal industry is CNC punching presses. These presses utilize programmed stamping, allowing for the production of individual, small batch, and medium batch sheet metal parts. Furthermore, they have no specific material requirements, making them widely applicable. However, CNC punching press equipment is costly, necessitates skilled operators, and results in suboptimal material utilization, leading to moderate production efficiency and operational costs.
Laser Cutting Machine or Integrated Material Feeding Line Production:
This production method is rapidly evolving. The decreasing price of laser cutting machines has made them suitable for producing individual, small batch, and medium batch sheet metal parts. They are gradually replacing CNC punching presses in sheet metal production. However, challenges persist in terms of efficiency for medium-to-large batch production.
Flexible Sheet Metal Stamping Production Line:
At the heart of the flexible sheet metal stamping production line is a flexible flat plate feeding machine and pneumatic combination molds. This innovative, cost-effective stamping solution effectively addresses efficiency and cost concerns in medium and large batch sheet metal production. This approach has gained rapid traction.
The flexible sheet metal stamping production line incorporates a flexible flat plate CNC feeding machine (or flexible roller feeding machine), pneumatic combination molds, uncoiling and leveling machines, and regular punching presses, as illustrated in the diagram. The line operates by feeding the coiled sheet to the punching press through the feeding machine and pneumatic combination molds. This enables continuous stamping and forming of parts, significantly enhancing work efficiency. It’s particularly well-suited for processing medium and large batch sheet metal parts, including various network cabinets, power cabinets, large appliances, parcel lockers, mesh panels, and more.
The flexible flat plate CNC feeding machine serves as the core equipment of the stamping production line. It utilizes industrial motion control PLC for controlling feeding positioning, punching press motion, pneumatic combination mold switching, material coiling, and leveling machine discharge. By adopting CNC punching press clamp feeding, the machine efficiently feeds the flattened coiled material through flat plate feeding, effectively addressing material feeding precision issues. The comprehensive feeding tolerance can reach ±0.2mm, utilizing dual-axis alternating feeding to enhance feeding efficiency. While maintaining accuracy, punching press speed can reach up to 100 strokes per minute, with control over as many as 20 sets of punch heads, fully meeting the demands of sheet metal stamping.
Pneumatic combination molds play a vital role in the flexible sheet metal stamping production line. They break down various features of the intended sheet metal parts into individual punch heads arranged within a mold set. Each punch head is controlled by an independent cylinder and mechanism. When a specific punch head is needed for stamping, the cylinder and mechanism activate, pushing the punch head to stamp the corresponding feature during punching press operation. After completing the feature stamping, the punch head retracts, and other or multiple punch heads execute stamping as directed by the control system. The flexible control of pneumatic combination molds allows for compact mold size, using punch head combinations to stamp different parts. This approach reduces mold costs and significantly minimizes mold changeover time while enhancing stamping efficiency.
Advantages of the Flexible Sheet Metal Stamping Production Line:
- Time and Cost Savings: Continuous material feeding and CNC stamping result in processing speeds several times faster than CNC punching presses or laser cutting machines.
- Management Cost Savings: Simplified programming using spreadsheet-based coding eliminates the need for specialized personnel or engineers. Regular operators can perform programming and operations.
- Labor Cost Savings: One operator can manage multiple punching press feeding machines, significantly reducing the need for equipment and operators.
- Equipment Cost Savings: A single piece of equipment can replace multiple CNC punching presses, laser cutting machines, or regular punching presses.
- Mold Cost Savings: Versatility in mold use and flexible mold combinations lower mold expenses, substantially reducing mold changeover time.
- Material Cost Savings: Continuous material feeding saves on material purchasing and cutting costs, eliminates scrap, and significantly enhances material utilization.
The flexible sheet metal stamping production line stands as a vital technological approach for reducing sheet metal part processing costs. Its utilization significantly enhances the quality, efficiency, and automation of sheet metal part production, leading to improved material utilization and reduced labor intensity. These advantages translate into substantial profit augmentation for sheet metal manufacturers. As the demand for cabinets and sheet metal components continues to surge, embracing the flexible stamping solution is crucial for staying ahead in the competitive market.