Best Practices for Extending the Life of Your Punches

toothed vs. die cut punches offer different cutting solutions for packaging pouch manufacturers

Flexible packaging punches need to deliver crisp, clean cuts on tough material, time after time. Here are some tips to make sure your hole-making punches keep their edge.

6 Steps to Keep Your Industrial Punches Sharp

Repetitive clean cutting of the tougher films and laminates puts a lot of pressure on your punch tooling. Whether you’re cutting high-volume flexible packaging pouches, bags, vent holes for foodstuffs, or heavy-duty medical films, here are some industry best practices for keeping hole edges cleaner for longer and extending the life of your punch.

1. Buy Performance Punches

The sharp end of your business is no place to cut corners. Picking high-performance punches from the outset will pay off in the long run. Pearl Technologies’ premium fabricated toothed punches can last up to four times longer than standard toothed punches and feature:

  • Durable stainless steel construction
  • Double-beveled ground edges
  • Customization to any shape or size hole
  • Welded mountings (standard or metric thread)

Pearl Technology's Zero Clearance pouch-making punch unit uses laser technology for superior precision cutting.

For precision cutting surpassed only by laser technology, consider investing in Pearl’s Zero Clearance die cut solutions. Our premium Zero Clearance die cut punches are capable of delivering millions of ultra-clean cuts and can be resharpened two or more times to deliver unmatched quality over an extended life.

2. Pick the Right Punch for the Job

Sounds obvious, but selecting the right tool for the job is critical. Pearl Technologies can help you pick a long-lasting punch with the right tooth pitch for your flexible packaging application:

  • For high-quality holes in thicker materials, choose Pearl’s fabricated Barracuda punches
  • For thinner films, Pearl’s Piranha toother punches will keep cutting longer
  • Our ORKA unit offers a customized pneumatic solution with oversized teeth for cutting holes measuring 1.25 to 10 inches

3. Be Careful During Retooling

Take care when switching out tool and die sets. Not only can careless handling lead to cut injuries, but a dropped punch is almost certain to be damaged. Pearl’s Lightning punch units feature tool-free punch change-outs to reduce the chance of equipment damage, while our unique Safety Box feature eliminates punch handling altogether.

4. Store Punches Correctly

Taking the time to store punches properly will increase their life and keep your hole edges looking good. To avoid bending or blunting, punches should never be stored with the teeth downward.

Pearl recommends storing punches in a tube with wax, cotton, or foam to help keep the precision-ground edges of punches razor sharp.

5. Choose the Right Coating

Some Pearl punches feature Titanium nitride Tru-Kote coating to enhance durability and combat corrosion, but we also offer other FDA-approved specialist wear coatings to further extend use life. While our premium fabricated stainless steel punches offer unmatched durability, this can be supplemented with our Black Pearl coating to maximize durability.

6. Partner with a Punch Specialist

Pearl Technologies makes some of the finest industrial punches in the world. With more than 35 years of experience designing and building standard and custom high-speed machine attachments for punching holes, we know a lot about matching the right equipment to your application.

Talk to Pearl about what you’re cutting and we can recommend a stock or customized punch that will perform best to meet your needs. We’re able to make punches for most OEM equipment with specialized adapters for different lengths and threads.

We also offer our customers access to the Pearl Application Lab, where we can pre-test our punches on your materials. Simply send us a sample and we’ll run it on our line, matching your manufacturing environment. Our technical team will use the results to recommend the right Pearl punch for your application.

Pick Your Punches With Pearl

Flexible plastic pouches punched with Pearl Technologies pouch-making punch machines.

Handling the complex flexible pouch and bag packaging and composite laminated materials demanded by today’s consumers puts unprecedented pressure on converters and producers. Both OEMs and end-users are scrambling to produce superior quality products at ever greater scales.

At Pearl Technologies we know our products sit at the sharp end of your investment in flexible packaging equipment. Our punches are essential to ensuring the quality of your product and their durability and longevity has a direct impact on your bottom line.

While our precision-engineered, U.S.A-made fabricated punches may not be the cheapest option, paying a little more for quality and reliability offers clear benefits down the line, including:

  • Cleaner cuts
  • Longer use life
  • Less wear and tear on machinery
  • Reduces downtime

No one makes sharper, longer-lasting punches than Pearl. We also offer more punches in stock and more customization options than anyone else. Click below to learn more about how we can help your business punch above its weight.


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