New Nesting Process Cut Delivery from 8 Days to 8 Hours

Cutting Delivery Time with Nesting Process

Cutting Delivery Time with Nesting Process

We recently met a manufacturer, who struggled to get product out in a timely fashion.  If that sounds familiar, read on.  Here is his story.

Before: Order to Delivery in About A Week

This manufacturer of large industrial equipment had an established shear-to-blank, then punch process that went something like this.

An order would come in for 50 of the same part.  The part blanks would be sheared from 10 very large sheets.  This means the shear operator would 1) make two trim cuts per large sheet to square the raw material, 2) measure and cut the first blank, 3) make sure it is square and accurate, 4) repeat four more times per large sheet.  Then he would move and stack the 50 small sheets beside the punch ready for punching the internal holes.  Are you seeing how this could be time consuming and slow delivery times?

Note that on each of the 10 sheets there was room for 5 part blanks.  What hasn’t been mentioned yet is that there was a large trim or salvage strip at the bottom of each of the 10 sheets.  That was discarded.  Scrap.

Next, the programmers would send down to the machine operator the single part program to finish the interior of the part. The machine operator would run that one single part program 50 times on the turret punch – once per part blank.  He would pick up the small sheet and load the punch 50 times – one sheet at a time.   Then he would unload each of the small parts from the punch 50 times.   On and off the punch over and over 50 times.

Because of all of the material handling and single part programming, product orders typically took about a week to make it from sales order to delivery.

Problem #1:  Changing the Nesting Process 

The problem this manufacturer faced was a time consuming process that slowed down delivery. The process involved too much material handling and a shearing process that was unnecessary.  Everyone from the programmers to the machine operators were asked to look at punching sheets a different way.

The solution included a process change.  They looked at the large raw material sheet as the basis for a nest as a means to handle that one sheet just one time.  Instead of shearing to size, then punching the blanks, the fabrication team decided to create a nest that punched the exterior and interior of each part in one streamlined operation.  This eliminates lots of time-consuming material handling of shearing then punching, and it sped up the process considerably.

Process change ultimately meant the programmers embraced automatic nesting, and the machine operators handled whole sheets and unloading nests instead of single parts, saving time and effort.

 Problem #2:  Changing the Nesting Paradigm 

The other problem this manufacturer faces was programming and punching one part at a time. Previously, the production mindset focused on individual part creation by single part programming and producing many of the same parts at once.  The solution also involved a paradigm shift.

If they could do all of the punching and shearing on the turret, then they could mix parts and part orders and use common edge punching.  And if they could do this, then they could – with automatic nesting software – create the nests of many parts at once quickly and keep production moving fast.

The programmers take a “order bucket” full of all of the parts needed for a particular material that are the highest priority or have the nearest due date, then use the automatic nesting software to create the nest, do the tooling, add the tabs and create the tool path.

The transition meant the programming time was cut significantly, and the parts and orders moved through the shop much faster.

After: Part Order to Delivery in 8 Hours

When the team turned to creating dynamic nests on full sheets using common edge punching, they doubled their throughput.  And their turnaround time was cut to one shift – 8 hours.

Solution #1: Less Programming

The programmers didn’t have to create individual part programs.  The automatic punch nesting software created “multiple” part programs all at one time and in just minutes.  It assigned the tooling, created the tool path, completed the common edge punching, and inserted tabs as needed – all quickly and without human intervention.

The programmers enjoyed creating automatic nests with a dynamic selection of parts instead of lots of individual part programs.  Their work was made easier.

Solution #2: Less Material Handling

Because of the nests with multiple parts per sheet, the machine operators touched each sheet and each part only once.  The shearing process was eliminated.  And the time the product was on the shop floor was cut significantly.

The machine operators realized the bonus of handling less material every day.  Their work was made easier.

In Conclusion…

The manufacturing facility made a conscious choice to change.  In the end they adopted a process change, a new way of programming, and new technology.  They gained better throughput for the company and a better quality of work life for the programmers and operators.

How about you?

Would change make a difference in your plant?  Could looking at the way things are done offer some insight that would prove helpful?  Let us know what you’re thinking.

If automatic nesting and the help of some engineers that are adept at process change might help you or someone you know, contact us.

Notice: This work is licensed under a BY-NC-SA. Permalink: New Nesting Process Cut Delivery from 8 Days to 8 Hours

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