What Problems Does Nesting Software Address?

Solving Process Issues with Nesting Software

Solving Process Issues with Nesting Software

Many times manufacturers are using an unsatisfactory nesting solution, and they think, “I know there must be a better way.”  And they are off to search for something better – sometimes not certain what that “something better” will do for them.

If you’ve had a similar discussion with yourself or associates, here are a few points to help frame your discussion internally and/or with potential suppliers.

Nesting Software Problems Solved

Nesting software tends to solve a multitude of problems, but they often fall into one or more of a few categories.

  1.  Creation of CNC Code – At the simplest level, nesting software generates NC code to drive a CNC machine – punch, laser, Waterjet, router, plasma.  The NC code communicates the X/Y coordinates for the cutting device to follow and in which order they should be cut.  Almost by definition, nesting software must do this to qualify as nesting software.
  2. Creation of a Nest – Again, almost by definition, nesting software should create a nest or a layout of parts on one or more sheets of material for a CNC machine to cut or punch out.  Where nesting software varies dramatically, however, is the means, method, and degree of sophistication involved in creating that nest.  From static nests to dynamic nests from batch to JIT there is a world of difference among the ways to create that nest.  What you need hinges completely on what you want your nesting software to do. (See the following points.)

Beyond the basic functionality, nesting software can solve a number of second and third level problems accumulating significant benefits.

  1. Material Efficiency – Nesting software is able to improve material efficiency by looking at viewing more orders, looking at more due dates, seeing more parts, and trying more part orientations – just to name a few options – than most humans can in a finite period of time.  Because of the ability to frankly make the math problem harder, the nest can be more efficient.  Then nesting software can add in additional cutting features like common edge cutting and nesting beneath the clamps to further gain efficiencies.
  2. Capacity or Throughput Improvements – Throughput can get bottlenecked at either programming or setup time at the machine.  Nesting software can unknot these problem spots by automating the order and geometry input, automating the nest creation, and automating the machine setup and changeover processes.
  3. Taming the Chaos – Nesting software can because if its speed and automation add tremendous flexibility to the production process.  If there are always “hot” parts or the schedule changes every 15 minutes, nesting software can respond immediately and the new priorities can be dealt with on the next nest.
  4. Reducing Programming Time – Some shops spend hours per day preparing a nest or series of nests just to keep the CNC machines going without operation.  Nesting software can cut that time to a fraction – often one-tenth – opening up valuable engineer time to manage other priorities.
  5. Keeping Orders/Kits Together – Order cohesion is a huge priority for some shops.  Whole assemblies must stay together throughout the process in order to be put together and shipped at one time.  Nesting software can automatically manage that order cohesion through the fabrication process.  No more sacrificing material efficiency or programming time just to keep kits, jobs, or orders together.

This brief list only scratches the surface of what you can expect from nesting software.  So, far from just creating code or getting a new CNC machine operational , there is indeed “something better” that can improve productivity, lower costs, and deliver better fabrication results.


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