In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some of the basics of the three most common forms of metal or steel material removal. Hole punching, notching and drilling are the designations covered here, each of which brings a few different qualities to the metal where material is being removed.
At Wasatch Steel, material removal is just one area of steel services we offer at incredibly high quality along with our numerous steel bar, pipe, tube and many other products. Now that you understand the basics of each of these methods, let’s dig into some specific benefits and drawbacks of each, plus the kinds of projects you might use – or avoid – each format for.
Hole punching is likely the most popular of these three methods, and the biggest reason why is speed and convenience. Hole punching presses all work very quickly compared to other formats, meaning cycle time is lower and more material can be passed through the process in a shorter period. Another major plus is the various hole types you can create – the tool doing the punching doesn’t necessarily have to be round, after all. Hole punching services can create squares, ovals, triangles, rectangles and virtually any other shape you can think of.
Now, hole punching does have some basic drawbacks as well. If tools used for the process are not well-maintained and are allowed to wear down, for instance, large burrs and improperly-shaped holes may show up. The other significant potential drawback is the limitation on material thickness – holy punching may be limited for extremely thick metals, depending on the metal type and hole diameter needed.
Based on the above, hole punching is generally used in the automotive world, for various decorative metals, and for airplane bodies.
Generally speaking, since the two processes are similar, many of the same pros and cons apply for notching as for hole punching. There will be some differences in thickness tolerances, but this is one of the only major changes. Notching is used for similar applications, plus for those where bending or mechanical forming is needed following material removal.
Drilling is a very different process than notching or hole-punching. It tends to lead to less part distortion due to the precision of the material removal, and the equipment required in drilling operations is often more affordable than the equipment for shearing. In addition, drilling can handle even the thickest metal types no matter the application, an area where shearing processes may have issues.
On the flip side, your options for hole shape are more limited with drilling due to the need for rotation. Drilling can only create circular holes, unlike shearing processes that can give you a variety of shapes. Drilling also builds up heat a bit faster. For this reason, drilling is used across numerous maintenance and large-scale manufacturing industries.
For more on material removal, or to learn about any of our steel products, speak to the staff at Wasatch Steel today.