In contrast, a CNC stamping machine can be ready to punch holes in the time it takes a designer to create a pattern on a software package such as Adobe Illustrator or Autocad.
The CNC machine has two moving heads with five electronically controlled spindles on each. The pins are interchangeable, come in five sizes, and are pulled into the leather similar to a fuel injector.
Changes to a design can be made very quickly. It is not as fast as traditional machines, but it can be used for small series.
For large runs, says leather designer Debra Choong, “we use it more as a sample and a prototyping tool, to test out different designs on their trims, but the intention would be for the skins to be produced on high-volume perforating machines. “.
In addition to design flexibility, the speed of the system allows customers to quickly check physical characteristics, such as whether a new design works with a seat’s air conditioning system.
“Traditionally, we might have had to work on every aspect behind the scenes before we got to the final tooling, whereas now we can prototype a model, try it out, see if it works with airflow or no and check that it passes the customer’s test criteria on our leather,” says Choong. “If we need to make changes, like if the holes are too big, too small, or close together, we can change it almost instantly. “