Monthly Archives: September 2011

Does Mixing Shop Orders Make You Nervous?

Not Dynamic Nesting of Mixed Orders

Not Dynamic Nesting of Mixed Orders

Does the thought of mixing orders in a nest strike fear into your heart?  Or does it just feel better to keep your items separate, like food on a tray -  no mixing allowed.

This probably isn’t you, but maybe you’ve heard of others, who under penalty of death, will not mix orders when nesting.  It’s true.  We hear about it a lot.

Although I’m having a little fun with it here, some have very real concerns about mixing parts from different orders, jobs, customers on a single or series of nests.  And those concerns are probably based in real-world, nightmarish experiences.

Today, we’ll look at the challenges of mixing orders and some best practices and tools to address them.  Then we’ll consider why mixing orders would be beneficial when done right and with the right tools.  Finally, we’ll ask the questions you may be asking to determine if mixing sheet metal nesting orders is right for you.

Challenges in Mixing Orders When Nesting

Shop Floor Chaos

The biggest concern we hear about mixing orders, jobs, customers Read more …

Remnant Nesting

Irregular Sheet Metal Remnant Nesting

Irregular Sheet Metal Remnant Nesting

Nesting on irregular-shaped remnants can make a significant difference on material yield.  And if you are a manufacturer focused on reducing waste and improving yield, here’s a nesting strategy that could prove very helpful.

Manufacturers often have to create large, non-rectangular parts in small quantities.  These parts can and do fill the majority of the area on a metal sheet; however, they still leave a sizeable amount of usable space inside voids and around the exterior.  This usable space, or remnant, isn’t necessarily rectangular, as many remnants are.  The remnant naturally follows the negative contour of the single large part removed from the sheet.

Irregular-Shaped Remnant Nesting Challenges

When a programmer is faced with an odd-shaped, sheet metal remnant he is challenged with a couple problems Read more …

4 Nesting Strategies to Manage Cut Part Production

Optimation Nested Parts

Optimation Nested Parts

A nesting strategy – to be distinguished from nesting software – that is suitable for a job shop may not work for an OEM.  A made-to-order shop may need different nesting strategies than a shop that uses Kanban.  A nesting strategy perfect for a small shop, may be ill-suited for a multi-facility corporation.  Why?  Because each company has different resources and different production objectives, both factor into the choice of a nesting strategy.

Often, the manufacturing engineering team is challenged to determine which strategy – or strategies – is best suited to achieve their production goals.  When choosing a nesting strategy they must consider productivity, material efficiency, order cohesion, and most of all, the labor resources available.

Similarly, the team is challenged by resource constraints.  There are only so many programmers, a limited number of hours in the day, a material budget, storage space allocations, machine speed, etc.

Making the most of the resources to achieve the right goals through nesting with CNC nesting software is a nesting strategy.

What’s the best strategy to use?  Let’s look at several choices…

Read more …

Nesting Software | 4 Best Practices When Kit Nesting

Optimation Assembly Manager Nesting Software

Optimation Assembly Manager Nesting Software

Some manufacturers – maybe you – build products out of component parts.  Those completed products are kits or assemblies or units, depending on the term you use.  Some parts are sheet or plate metal; some are not.  Some parts involve extensive post-fabrication work (bending, forming, painting); some not.  But the one thing all kit parts have in common is that they belong together.  Kits are designed as a unit and need to be programmed together, nested together, cut or punched together, assembled together, and ultimately delivered together, which creates a rather difficult production challenge.

How do you keep the assembly parts together in a cohesive unit, while reducing the programming time, managing the material yield, and not slowing down machine productivity?  There are sheet metal software best practices to help.  Often times one or two of these goals are sacrificed to achieve another goal in what is seen as a zero-sum game.

It doesn’t have to be that way.  There are tools and practices that can help achieve all of these goals in concert and without sacrificing one good for another.  Let’s look at some of the day-to-day challenges kits present and some solutions to the problems. Read more …

How to Manage CNC Nesting Information | CAD/CAM

CAD/CAM Information Management

Best Practices for CAD/CAM Information Management

Effective communication is the lifeline of most businesses.  It couldn’t be more important in manufacturing, or specifically, to the CAD/CAM process.  Where there is lack of communication or miscommunication between CAD and CAM there is waste.  And we know intuitively waste from poor communication is costly and even more costly to fix.

CAD/CAM information management is all about creating and tracking an order and/or the part geometry from sale through delivery.  Let’s look at some of the CAD/CAM information management challenges and categorize them by the impact they have on delivering value to the customer.  Read more …

Optimation & Inventor Integration

Optimation & Inventor Automation & Integration

Optimation & Inventor | CAD/CAM Integration

Optimation® stands alone as a leading CAM or nesting automation specialist.  Optimation has focused its more than 30 years of research, development and expertise on developing best-in-class nesting automation. Similarly, AutoDesk® has become ubiquitous in the CAD design field by becoming the tool of choice upon which most designers learn.  Inventor is one of their flagship products charting new advancements in technology.

When acting independently, these tools can and do make significant transformations in the automation of a production environment.  Individually, they create a multiplier effect with the productivity of the resources – individuals, equipment, and raw materials – at hand. Integrated they can further leverage their individual impact. Read more …

CAD to CAM | Process Problem Solving

Solving Production Problems with CAD/CAM

Solving Production Problems with CAD/CAM

Is the boss concerned about waste?  Are you asked to make cuts?  If so, you’re not alone.  Many manufacturers are belt-tightening.  However, the challenge most run into is finding waste beyond the obvious pile of scrap material.

The good news for searchers is that waste is everywhere.

Today, we’ll look at the CAD/CAM process in light of the lean manufacturing concept of “value stream.”  With this approach we’ll find lots of waste to root out and lots of unsung value in our processes. Read more …

Pros & Cons of Single Part CNC Programming

Single Part Programming | Time vs Material

Single Part Programming | Time vs Material

We often hear from manufacturers that they are doing single part programming.  Some do it by design.  Some do it by default.  Either way it is a process that dramatically impacts how your fabrication operation works.  Therefore, it merits a discussion to better understand what it is and how it strongly influences throughput and material efficiency outcomes. Read more …

Six Ways to Eliminate Waste | Nesting Software

Stop Wasting Time & Material

Nesting Software Eliminates Time & Material Waste

There are a handful of practical ways to eliminate waste and add value to a product.  In order to best see their impact, we’ll put them in the context of the Lean Manufacturing concept of “value stream.” To do this we first have to understand how to add value,  and what is “waste.” The value stream is the set of all the specific actions required to bring a specific product to a customer.

Every time you add value to the product  you are contributing to the value stream and enhancing the worth of the product for the customer.  If you’re not enhancing the value, you are not adding to the value stream.

Value Stream in Manufacturing

The value stream is every process applied to your product that enhances the value to the customer.  Read more …