4 Secrets to Profiting with Nesting Software

4 Secrets to Profiting with CNC Nesting

4 Secrets to Profiting with CNC Nesting Programs

Why would a fabricator consider, let alone implement nesting program? What’s in it for the manager or the shop personnel to invest in a CNC nesting program? There’s got to be ways to profit from this investment, why else would someone go down this road.

Let’s be upfront. Changing or introducing new software into the work environment means, well, change.    And there are costs to making such a change.  Beyond the monetary investment there is the time and effort invested in the research and implementation.  So any sound reasoning would lead us to believe there must be a profit at the end of the process to make that experience worthwhile. There needs to be benefits for the whole team – managers and shop personnel – to justify not only the expense but the transition time and effort.

If you’ve ever thought about using – or upgrading to – an automatic, dynamic nesting program you may be asking yourself, “what’s in it for me?”  If so, some of the following secrets to profiting may ring true to you – or they may be the catalyst you are looking for to talk to the boss about nesting programs. If you’ve not considered automatic nesting program, look to the list below for a new idea that might spark a very interesting discussion.

Nesting Software | Financial Return through Nesting

1. Programming Time

An automatic, dynamic nesting program can and will cut programming time by up to 90% as compared to manual or interactive nesting and part programming processes. How? Truly automatic nesting program slashes repetitive actions commonly found in CNC programming. By eliminating the repetitive actions the programmer not only saves time but greatly reduces the opportunity for error. Let’s briefly review the three main areas of fabrication CNC programming that can be dramatically impacted by dynamic nesting and part programming.

CAD Input

With a manual or interactive process the programmer drags & drops or imports one part at a time. Every part needs to be reviewed for manufacturability. Every part needs to be touched. With automation – or batch input – these steps and more are eliminated. One to one thousand parts can be imported and reviewed along with their manufacturing attributes in seconds or minutes. Time Saved: hours.

Order Entry

How many production orders do you get each day? 5, 50, 500? Each one has to be communicated with the right parts, the right due date, and the right material and quantity to the nesting program. For most manufacturers this process takes time, and for some, a lot of time to complete accurately. With an automatic link between the nesting program and the order entry system, this manual process can be completely eliminated. There’s certainly no need to key some information into CAM software if it already exists electronically. Connect the two and save hours of repetitive work.


Orienting each part on a sheet to respect is required grain, optimize the material, avoid collisions, account for pierces, leads, trim, clamps, and on and on is hugely time-consuming – not to mention error-prone undertaking. One of the central tenants of advanced nesting program is the automation of this process. Intelligent software knows the variables for which to account, understands and even thinks through its options, weighs the various outcomes, and independently determines the optimal result. In seconds or minutes a nest program can create a workload for one or more cutting machines for an entire day’s work. Time Saved: hours.

2. Material Yield | Material Efficiency

Typically, manufacturers zero in on material savings when seeking to justify a nesting program purchase. It’s true. Automatic nesting program can save 5-15% in material, which in most cases can result in a 6-12 month payback on the investment. Where saving programming time may get the attention of the programmers and operators, material savings may be the easiest means to justification simply because it is so tangible. Why? Material savings are hard, real, highly visible costs. You can see the change in how much you’re purchasing or how much you’re sending to the scrap dealer each month. You can see how big – or small – the scrap pile or the scrap revenue is. Unlike saving programming time, which is typically consumed by another – hopefully more productive – task, there is a clearer, more concrete benefit with material savings.

How do you save material with automatic nesting program?  There many ways to save material through advanced nesting program. From more efficient nests, to part order strategies, to making fuller use of or eliminating remnants, to maximizing the trim space or space inside of part holes, the opportunities are only limited by the sophistication of the nesting algorithm. For a much more extensive discussion of material savings opportunities check out these resources:

Blog article:  Six Ways to Eliminate Waste | Nesting Programs

White PaperTen Ways to Cut Material Waste with Nesting Programs

3. Machine Efficiency | Throughput, Productivity

Throughput can point to either machine efficiency (uptime, duty cycle) or production efficiency (product production cycle time, time-to-delivery, order response time). Either way in most instances faster is better, more is good up to the point in which there are diminishing returns from human errors, production mistakes, broken equipment. The sweet spot for optimal throughput is that point at which all resources (human and equipment) are functioning at a level of near capacity while ensuring minimal mistakes.

Advanced nesting programs achieves that throughput sweet spot. By reducing the programming and nesting time and error through automation, and relieving engineers and operators to manage the process, troubleshoot, and plan, the whole production cycle can and will move more smoothly. Programs can be on the floor well in advance of the next machine cycle to avoid any downtime. Programs can be automatically checked for accuracy – head collision avoidance, grain constraint, tabbing, leads, etc. – to avoid machine downtime due to errors.

4. Schedule Demand | Order Cohesion; Order Management

We talked to a manufacturer of emergency vehicles awhile back. Solid, manageable order cohesion was paramount to their process. Every order was 100% custom, and all of the parts for that order needed to stay together for the duration of the production cycle. That’s a tall order if you’re doing it without nesting program capable of handling it.

Nesting software handling order priorities. This is a not-often considered upside of advanced nesting program. A true, advanced nesting program will be a manufacturing-production extension of your ERP/MRP, or order management software. It will following your instructions, keep the orders together that need to be together, prioritize orders based on your priorities – arbitrary or date driven – and manage build-to-inventory needs. It can keep kits or assemblies together. It can and will figuratively speaking juggle all of the balls of production orders and keep the system moving without stress.

Nesting Programs as a Financial Resource

In conclusion, nesting programs are more than a tool to achieve part production. They should be part of your cost management strategy and among your financial resources to gain production efficiency. As we’ve discussed here, there are multiple ways to leverage a nesting program to bring down costs and improve productivity. And those benefits are compounded when brought to bear through one advanced nesting solution. How that plays out in your production environment is a conversation well worth having.

What is your nesting program doing for you? Are you achieving the full payoff you’d hoped from this tool? What would you like to gain, but aren’t realizing? Comment to this blog post; let us know what’s working and what isn’t.

For more information on Optimation or to start a discussion, contact Optimation.

Notice: This work is licensed under a BY-NC-SA. Permalink: 4 Secrets to Profiting with Nesting Software

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