In sheet metal fabrication, there are blanking, punching, and piercing sets of operations. Each of these metalworking processes manipulates an entire piece of raw metal into a finished product.

These different processes are some of the most common sheet metal operations, and they may appear the same at first glance. Every single procedure involves using a machine to create a kind of hole in a large metal sheet. However, each process has its own purpose and different way to deliver a finished part for a final product.

Read on to learn about each operation and how it differs when manipulating sheet metal parts.

The Blanking Process

Blanking is a cutting operation that involves removing a portion of material from a strip of sheet metal and keeping the small removed piece. The larger piece is then discarded, and the smaller piece that had been cut out is the useful part.

Through the shearing process on the larger sheet, the final result after cutting is the desired product. The benefit of blanking is:

  • many different shapes can be extracted
  • the desired shape can be replicated many times on a single sheet to reduce material waste.

The versatility of products depends on the thickness of the stainless steel and the ability of the metal fabrication company to cut it. Automotive parts, gears, and many other kinds of exact pieces are made from blanking.

The Piercing Operation

Piercing, on the other hand, is the opposite of blanking. It may seem the same as blanking because shapes are cut out. Yet with piercing, the unwanted material is the smaller piece that’s cut out, and the larger piece is the useful part. To pierce the metal, a tool called the blanking punch is often used to create a circular hole.

The metal fabrication industry has a lot of different types of piercing operations. This includes perforating, notching, trimming, shaving, lancing, and more. Creating this hole or slot in the sheet metal is mainly done to enable screws to thread through.

The Punching Process

The process of punching resembles piercing fairly closely. Both remove scrap metal from a piece of sheet metal. You can even describe punching as one of the special types of piercing.

What distinguishes sheet metal punching is the punching tool known as punch presses. Punch presses use high shearing force to punch scrap metal out of metal. Punching can even be performed on other materials, such as plastic, fibers and paper.

The shapes created are either circular or rectangular. This is done by aligning the metal piece between the punch press and the die. Driving down the punching tool removes the same shape as the die from the piece of metal. This time, the larger metal parts remain and are the useful part. Therefore, punching is the typical process for making car body parts, enclosures, and cabinets.

Conclusion: Difference Between Blanking and Punching Operation

The blanking, piercing, and punching processes are all essential, common techniques at a metal fabrication facility. Here at Fox Valley Stamping, we specialize in the mass production of products made with these techniques and many more. When it comes to metal fabrication, Chicago, IL businesses can count on us.

Contact us or send an RFQ to hear how we can meet your metal piercing, punching, and blanking needs.

Read Next: Tips for Choosing Chicago Metal Fabricators (Chicago, IL)