This question is a dilemma that has confronted many fabricators over the years as they like the speed of punching but find it difficult to invest in a CNC plate processing center only to have to drill the thicker plates or those that cannot be punched. The problem is not only trying to justify the purchase of two different systems, but it is also the space that two lines would require in a plant facility.
Ficep identified this challenge over a decade ago with the development of a plate processing center that has the ability to punch and drill in the same system. Our Type B, which can accommodate plates up to 8 feet in width and over 60 feet in length, also incorporates an 14 position tool changer with each station able to punch up to 4" diameter holes. This capability permits the effective punching of plates up to 1" in thickness with unequalled productivity.
The Type B system can also be provided with a high performance drill head with a ball screw feed and a six position automatic tool changer. These two capabilities, in conjunction with the ability to cut with either plasma or oxy-fuel and mark finished parts, makes the Ficep Type B plate processing system a truly unique plate fabrication center with the capability that our competitors will now try to copy, but we have, again, the experience factor with a ten-year head start!
The flexibility of our Type B system permits you to purchase the system today just with the punching capability now and later simply retrofit the drill head option to the system at a later date.
Many of our customers have decided on our Type A system which has just drilling, but they use carbide tooling so they can now drill typical holes in 3-4 seconds which is not much different than punching from a speed standpoint.