Monthly Archives: August 2011

CAD to CAM | 4 Best Practices Relaying Manufacturing Data

How to Manage Manufacturing Data | CAD to CAM

Relaying Information from CAD to CAM

Today we spoke to a manufacturer, who shared with us his process of taking geometries from AutoCad® to his nesting package.  It seems he exports them out of AutoCad, saves as DWG files segregated by material type, strips out all the non-cutting, non-tool path data by hand, and saves these edited files in another file for retrieval from the nesting software.

Maybe a piece or two of this cumbersome and frustration-ripe story resonates with your experiences or the experiences of another company you’ve heard about.  It strikes me that in this scenario, there can be a lot of opportunities for error in passing manufacturing data from CAD to CAM by missing a step, grabbing the wrong file, or processing parts based on incorrect information.  Ouch.  If this rings even a little true to you, allow me to suggest a few alternative ways of looking at this process that could save significant time, error, and frustration. Read more …

How CAM Software Adds Value to a Product

Improving Delivery Speed, Service with CAM Software

Adding Value with Service and Product Improvements from Optimation

Now that we’ve discussed initiating a Lean Manufacturing Project, we’ll turn to deconstructing the sometimes mysterious — often foreign — components of lean thinking as it relates to the CAD/CAM process.  With these tools you can leverage your own knowledge of your business to make improvements that will, in hindsight, seem obvious.

So, let’s get started.

What is Value?

The first concepts to tackle are “value” and the “value stream.”  Intuitively we know what value means for ourselves and our products.  We know we have value as a person, spouse, employee, committee member because we bring knowledge and talents to our relationships and roles.  And we know our products have value — equivalent to the purchase price — because our customers buy them for that price!  But what do the lean manufacturing experts mean by “value,” and how does it apply to CNC Nesting and the CAD/CAM world?  Read more …

CAD to CAM | 4 Ways to Manage Revisions

Optimation_CNC_Nesting_Revision_Management

Managing Part Revisions with Optimation CNC Nesting Software

Most manufacturers we encounter have to manage part revisions.  They know there will always be design changes.  And they know changes can be very disruptive to the production process, and changes are ripe for errors.

So, the question arises, how best to manage the inevitable change with minimal disruption and error when communicating designs from CAD to CAM.  Here are four ideas we like to recommend. Read more …

Lean Fabrication with CNC Nesting | Value & Value Stream

Optimation Adding Value Through CNC Nesting

Optimation Adding Measurable Value With Automatic CNC Nesting

Lean Idea #3 – Building on Nesting Successes | Creating Value & a Value Stream

Wouldn’t it be great to make a small, measureable fix here and a modest incremental change there and go home at the end of the day feeling satisfied you’ve handled the “fabrication crisis?”

Selecting a few ideas or solutions in the hopes of making great strides with small movements doesn’t address the whole picture, and it won’t work…in the long run.  Well, yes, you will see some changes, and maybe that will be all the solution necessary to fend off the immediate crisis – for the time being.  But Lean Manufacturing isn’t about isolated successes. Read more …

Nesting Software | Weighing Material Efficiency & Throughput

Balancing Nesting Priorities

Balancing Nesting Priorities

 

Balancing Priorities

When nesting, most manufacturers see a clear trade off between material efficiency and throughput.  They feel they must choose one or the other goal.  Sacrifice one “good” for the other.

And depending on the nature of the manufacturing operation, there may be only one, clear, obvious choice.  If you’re cutting expensive material, i.e. stainless steel, it would be common sense to save every last percent of material because waste is expensive and the cost only nominally retrievable. However, if you’re in a quick-turn-around shop where delivery is measured in hours, not days or weeks, you may be willing waste material just to meet the delivery requirements.  If the customer is satisfied with your responsiveness and offers more business or is willing to pay more for the fast turn around, the monetary loss in waste can be overcome.

However, most manufacturers don’t live in such a black-and-white world where there is only one, clear objective.

Read more …

Achieve Lean Fabrication Success with Small Nesting Changes

Achieving Lean Success with Nesting Software

Taking Lean Steps with Nesting Software

 

Imagine going into the boss’s office and announcing, “Boss, I have a great idea.  I can save the company thousands of dollars, and it will only take 10 years to see results.”  Maybe there is a manufacturer out there with that long-term vision or the margins to justify a protracted project and long-awaited results.

I’m here to tell you, that if you want your crisis solved or your idea for lean manufacturing techniques to succeed, nothing sells like success.

Small, incremental progress with real, tangible results will rule the day for any project to maintain momentum, insure ongoing commitment, and demonstrate viability.

Let’s look at what that means in manufacturing.

Read more …

What is Dynamic Nesting?

Optimation Dyanmic Nesting Software

Optimation Dyanmic Nesting Software

There are a lot of terms tossed around to describe types of nesting.  “Dynamic” is one of those terms, and, unfortunately, often its meaning gets lots in translation.

What is Nesting?

First, let’s be clear about what nesting is and is not.  Nesting in fabrication describes the laying out of multiple 2D or 1D-parts in a defined space to be cut from flat stock (sheet metal, composite material, etc.).  Typically, the nesting goals include material efficiency and/or response time / throughput.

Read more …

Starting Lean Fabrication Project with Nesting Software

Lean Manufacturing & Nesting Software

Lean Manufacturing & Nesting Software

In this era of economic turmoil, returning to – or maybe introducing – the concepts of lean manufacturing can serve us well in understanding the tools at hand with Optimation.  Over the next few posts we’ll look at “lean” from a number of perspectives, with the intent to understand what “lean” means and how Optimation can support its concepts.

Idea #1: Never Waste a Good Crisis

Does the idea of “launching a program” or “starting a new initiative” bring the terror of long meetings ending in inaction to mind?  Yes? Me, too. How many ideas – no matter how well intentioned – never get off the ground?  They get bogged down in bureaucracy, territorial disputes, budget crunches, or you name it.  So, how do “lean” initiatives get off the ground?

Read more …