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.  For example, think about the journey one of your products takes from initial concept to your customer’s hands.  It certainly involves design and product engineering – these processes add value because they make the product better for the customer.  Maybe it will mean creating prototypes or samples – again adding value by testing the quality of the product and ensuring usability for the customer.  And once it is in production it will undergo everything from fabrication to welding, paint, assembly, shipping and delivery – all adding value to the product by improving the physical attributes of the product making is stronger, safer, easier, more accessible, etc..

Not in a Value Stream

The value stream doesn’t include every step or process extraneous to value-building.  This is the waste in the process. This is what forces costs higher and margins lower.  So, what does waste look like?  Waste is the time the product waits to go from one value-adding step to the next – design to engineering.  Waste is the time and energy spent transporting the raw materials or work-in-process goods from one spot to another – fork lift time. Wastes are inventories of finished goods or raw materials – sitting on the self — not adding value to the customer.  Waste is mistakes – incorrect parts, damaged parts – worthless to the customer.  Waste is material not turned into product. Raw material scrap or damaged inventory never benefits or has value to the customer.

Finally, waste can also be repetitive actions that can be automated.  There is no added value to the customer when an operation takes an unnecessary time to perform.  The customer doesn’t care how long it takes to manufacture the product – assuming it is delivered on time and at the agreed upon price.

Eliminating Waste.  Contributing to the Value Stream.

Now that we understand what a value stream is and how to contribute or subtract from it, let’s turn to putting this theory into practice.

How can manufacturers minimize the waste and concentrate efforts on contributing to the value stream?  What concrete steps can be put in place?

1.  Minimize raw material inventory

By reducing the raw material inventory, less assets are tied up and sit inactive.  Inventory doesn’t produce value for the customer.  So it is waste.  Here are a couple ways to put downward pressure on your inventory using the right nesting software.

Identifying the best sheet sizes

Estimating sheet sizes with “trial” nests; estimating material use.  If a better sheet size can accommodate more parts or the same parts with lest material used, then you can eliminate waste.  As a bonus, you may be able to gravitate toward more standard sized-sheets, especially if you’re ordering to size for single part programming.  Standard sheet sizes are less costly as a general rule.

Minimizing or eliminating the use of remnants

The best remnant is no remnant.  If you can eliminate remnants, you’re saving material.  And if you can’t eliminate a remnant, then with intelligent nesting software, you can add it to the material-sizes-available list and nest on it at the next opportunity.  Therefore, you are making effective use of the material and not wasting.

2. Minimize work in process inventory

Just-in-time nesting

Finished but unassembled parts (work-in-process) assets have no value to the customer.  They can’t use it.  These assets don’t contribute to the value stream.  So to minimize waste, we want to minimize or eliminate their time on the floor.  We can do that with JIT, and specifically JIT Nesting.  Produce the nest and the parts when and only when they are needed because of an order.  Quickly respond to change within one machine cycle.

3. Produce the right part

Use good revision management processes to avoid producing the wrong part

Making the wrong part is a clear example of waste.  It has no value to the customer, indeed it could be argued that it has a negative value because it increases costs without contributing to revenue.  Effective nesting software can contribute to reducing errors through intelligent revision management, and concurrent engineering.

4. Reduce the time from design to engineering

Concurrent engineering

As we’ve discussed previously, concurrent engineering is all about synergy between design and manufacturing engineering.  Instead of going from CAD to CAM and just hoping it will work or waiting for the knock on the door bearing bad news, the two teams work together to make sure it works the first time, every time.  Dynamic nesting software can quickly prove out the ability to manufacture in real time for testing well in advance of the part reaching the shop floor.

5. Reducing down stream wait time

Increasing machine up time or duty cycle with rapid nest creation.

If demand is such that your CNC cutting equipment can be running at a greater capacity than it currently is, but it is held back by delays in programming, that’s waste.  And it can be resolved with faster, more automatic CNC nesting software.

Now the thought of idle equipment is the fear that keeps most managers up at night.  So, where programming time is an issue, work-arounds are often in place.  Static nesting, single part programming, multiple programmers.  These are options – but not without costs which need to be seriously weighed.

6. Reducing material scrap

Material savings is one of the most real, tangible ways of controlling costs.  It can be easily quantified, measured, and monitored.  Further, the costs of reducing waste can equally be measured against the cost of the waste to determine a clear return on investment and breakeven point.

As clear cut as material savings is on the balance sheet, reducing scrap is equally apparent with the right nesting and programming tools.  Here are just a few.

Efficient nesting with AxiomVE

AxiomVE by Optimation creates a nest just like a human would – seeing the voids and sizing up the right parts to fill in those voids – if we had the luxury of the time to spend manually creating material efficient nests.

Nesting in the trim strip (nesting beneath the clamps)

Say “nest in the clamp zone” to most programmers and they hear the sound of “punching the clamp” in their heads.  Yes, there is sizeable material to be saved in the trim strip, but it’s only valuable when the downside isn’t a damaged piece of equipment.  Now there is a way to safely, and effectively nest beneath the clamps.

Common punching

Punching two parts simultaneously – eliminating the web between – would save material.  And it does, but programmers often shy away from this because of the huge amount of time involved in creating the program – picking the right parts, tooling, tabbing – it’s no mean feat.  What if you could save that material without spending the headache-inducing time?  You can with common punching in smart nesting software.

Common cutting

Common cutting has been around for years, but most manufacturers have a bad taste in their mouths over it because they’ve seen tip ups and collisions that we’re worth the grief of the material savings.  The “trick” to quality, reliable common edge cutting is intelligent collision avoidance.  The ability of the program to create a cut path that avoids loose parts.  It’s not so hard when the software knows how.

Effective use of filler parts

We just said inventory in any number of ways is bad.  And it is for most manufacturers.  But filler parts can be used to increase material efficiency without creating inventory.  Imagine nesting today’s parts, but when you run low on parts and your material efficiency starts to slide, intermingle tomorrow’s parts in the order mix.

How about you?

There are lots of creative solutions to eliminating waste.  What solutions have you discovered?  How are you putting downward pressure on costs?  Share your ideas.

Like the ideas above?  Contact Optimation for a one-on-one discussion.

Notice: This work is licensed under a BY-NC-SA. Permalink: Six Ways to Eliminate Waste | Nesting Software

One comment on “Six Ways to Eliminate Waste | Nesting Software

  1. Pingback: CNC Automatic Nesting Software | 4 Secrets to Profiting with CNC Nesting Programs | Optimation Blog

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