Is It Time To Replace A Die In Your Punch Binding Machine?

If your company creates documents in-house, you know that your punching machine is an important piece of equipment. Any issues with your machine, especially when it comes to the punching dies, can mean a slow-down or total stoppage of document production – which can affect your bottom line.

Since it’s the punching dies in the machine that take the most punishment, they generally will need to be replaced during the life of the machine. Click below to get all the information on how to tell if your dies are wearing out and how to help them last!

You start to notice a decrease in punching performance, meaning you can punch smaller lifts of paper at a time, get good results but the holes have ragged edges. You might also see that the punch binding machine is working harder to create the holes. This is because the punch is designed to automatically apply as much pressure as needed to create clean holes and with worn out dies, more force is required for the pins to go all the way through your materials.

This can happen for a number of reasons:

  • stress from the type of materials being punched
  • punching the maximum quantity of sheets the punch can handle each time
  • not lubricating the die regularly

All of these can shorten the life of a die. Certain materials like laminates and cardboards require more pressure to punch through than plain paper. Likewise, the more sheets you punch at one time means greater pressure must be applied by the dies. Over time and with repeated high-pressure jobs, the edges of a die and die body will dull and be less effective at punching through your materials. Not preforming regular maintenance and oiling the die will also have adverse effects.

The punching dies in a binding machine consist of two parts: the punch pin and the die body. They work in tandem like the two blades on a pair of scissors and their edges can dull in the same way. The good thing is you can replace just the pin rather than the entire die. This will improve performance, in the short term but is not a long term solution. To return to “like new” punch quality, you must resurface or replace both the punch pin and die body at the same time. The type of punching die and the materials used in manufacturing, will determine if it can be re-sharpened or will need to be replaced. Spiral offers an Express Die Sharpening Service and our technicians can tell you if repair or replacement option will be the most cost effective solution.

Oiling your dies will help them last as long as possible. You would never run your car without proper lubrication so your punching dies should be the same way. Square and rectangular dies should be oiled after every eight hours of use, while round pins can be oiled for every week of usage. If you’re punching plastics, regular oiling prevents excess build-up on the pins that can increase their size and create larger holes than you need. Always oil your dies when starting the machine after a long period of inactivity.

The actual oiling process couldn’t be easier. Refer to your owner’s manual for the exact oiling procedure for your equipment and dies. Generally, 3-in-1 oil applied to a soft cloth that can be wrapped around your finger works great. Simply wipe the oil along the exposed punch pins on both sides of the die. After oiling, replace the die and run the punching machine through a few cycles without paper to distribute the oil and run it again with scrap paper to check for oil spots. Once the paper runs clean, you are ready to punch your jobs knowing your die is properly lubricated.


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