How Good is Your Nest? | 8 Ways to Measure Quality

8 Ways to See Quality in a Nest

8 Ways to See Quality in a Nest

Manufacturers know there are countless production variables to be considered when fabricating parts on a punch, laser, plasma, waterjet or other fabrication machine.  How those variables factor into a nest is at the heart of an effective nesting strategy.

Consider these points when nesting:

1. CAN THE MACHINE TOOL PRODUCE THE NEST AS DESIGNED?

If the programmer does not take into consideration the machine requirements (reach, repositions, tooling stations, kerf allowances, etc.), the production may be stalled or halted to address unforeseen problems. Part quality may suffer. The machine may be damaged.  And certainly production time will be lost. Creating a quality nest means taking into consideration the ability to produce it.  Optimally, this consideration should happen at the time of design in a process called concurrent engineering.

2. DOES THE TOOL PATH CREATED RETAIN ENOUGH MATERIAL INTEGRITY TO HOLD THE SHEET TOGETHER THROUGHOUT THE DUTY CYCLE?

If the skeleton falls apart before the parts can be off loaded, a potential hazard is created.  What happens when parts fall through the slats? Parts or the machine may be damaged, or personal injury to the operator can occur. Ideally, the tool path should be intelligently programmed to accommodate whatever manner of off-loading with no risk.

3. DOES THE NEST REFLECT PART AND ORDER PRIORITIES?

Material efficiency is most often important. But sometimes, a “hot part” trumps material efficiency.  And even when material efficiency is the priority, are “hot parts” still effectively addressed in the nest? What about less-than-priority parts, such as parts for inventory?  Do they take a supporting role in the nest to obtain better material efficiency? Optimal nests consider the real world manufacturing environment with all of its often competing priorities.

 

 

 

4. ARE THE INDIVIDUAL PARTS WITHIN AN ORDER HELD TOGETHER IN THE SAME OR SUCCESSIVE NESTS?

Order cohesion can be critical to managing the downstream production flow. If parts in one order are spread over multiple nests, which could be cut hours apart, the opportunity for damaged or lost parts downstream increases. A nest should keep parts within orders together and have supporting documentation that identifies the status and location of each part and order.  Optimally the status of each part order relative to its completion should be identified in the supporting documentation.

5. DOES MANUFACTURING THE NEST CREATE ANY POTENTIAL HAZARDS?

Slugs. Loose parts. Floating Scrap. These are all machine operator nightmares and an invitation for machine downtime or worse. If the nest is not created to prevent their occurrence, any savings gained in material efficiency will be lost in rework and repair.  There are lots of tools and strategies to overcome this problem through intelligent nesting.

6. DID THE TIME SPENT PROGRAMMING THE NEST THE JUSTIFY RESULTS? WAS THE PROGRAMMER’S TIME OPTIMALLY SPENT?

The programmer’s time is valuable and comes at a cost.  It may not be as visible as the hard material cost, but it is as real. Is an extra hour or two creating or manipulating a nest worth the additional material savings? Depending on the cost of the material or other production factors it may be justified.  Often the work-around-solution is static nesting – creating one nest and running it many, many times.  The hidden cost there is flexibility and the ability to adapt to changing manufacturing requirements.  All in all it is important to weigh all costs when evaluating a nest.

7. IS THE NEST MEETING THE IDEAL BALANCE BETWEEN ALL  PRODUCTION REQUIREMENTS (MATERIAL EFFICIENCY, PROGRAMMING TIME, THROUGHPUT)?

When looking at the nest, it should reflect the priorities you have set for your production. Each manufacturer has unique requirements based on their competitive advantage and role in the marketplace. So the balance of requirements will be different for each company.  If material efficiency is the only criteria, then it should be the most material efficient nest possible. If programming or shop time, throughput, inventory management, or overhead are important, it should reflect these production demands as well.  It’s critical to sync up your requirements with the reality on the shop floor.  Intelligent nesting software can make that happen.

8. IS THE NEST MATERIAL EFFICIENT?

If material efficiency is an important criterion, does the nest make use of all material saving opportunities? Does the nest calculate part rotations at fixed angles (90, 180 degrees) or does it take full advantage of all angles, i.e. 123.574 degrees, to find the best part orientation. Does it create mirror parts, 180-degree pairs, or parts within holes? Does it take advantage of common cut or common punch situations to save material? Does it take advantage of trim strips through – in the case of punch – clamp repositioning? There are many ways to cut material costs using automatic nesting software.  It’s worth investigating because even a small percentage increase in material can return large savings.

How about you?

How are you evaluating your nests?  Where do they measure up?  Where is there room for improvement?  Share your ideas.  We’re listening.

About Optimation

If we can be of assistance in evaluating and improving your nests, give us a call.  We’d be glad to help.

Notice: This work is licensed under a BY-NC-SA. Permalink: How Good is Your Nest? | 8 Ways to Measure Quality

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