Monthly Archives: November 2013

The Difference Between Optimation’s Machine Interface and a Post Processor

Optimation supplies a “machine interface” with the nesting software to drive the individual machines.  Some may think it is a standard “post processor,” which generates the “g-code” for the machine.  In truth, it is much more.


The Machine Interface is a component of the overall knowledge base.   The Machine Interface is used in every step of the process from part programming to final output of the nest.   This technology obsoletes the prior concept of a post processer that is run after all other functions are complete.

The Machine Interface is a model of the machine that provides detailed information needed to perform part programming and nesting functions.   It also has a programming interface to allow for special functions and conditions during the creation of the machine code.   This programming interface is unique to Optimation’s Machine Interface technology and allows detailed intelligent code to be created for each machine as conditions require.

The following sections will provide more detail regarding the functions of the Machine Interface.

CAD Interface and Part Programming

The Machine Interface is first employed to convert CAD data into part programs usable for nesting and single part programs.   This function takes into account all machine capability and limitations.   Special programming is employed to handle complex issues for each part.   Examples for contour cutting are custom lead-ins, intelligent common cutting, cut path optimization, feed rate based upon geometry, part tabbing, marking and etching and many more programming practices.   Examples for tooling based machines like turret punch presses include tool management, optimal preferred tool selection, tabbing tool selection, common punching, repositioning, trap door and material handling, special tools and extrusions, high speed marking and punch marking and many more.

The Machine Interface is programmable.   This allows our application engineers to be creative in solving special needs during the programming process.   This power allows for automatic programming even when special circumstances are present.

The Machine Interface is a critical part of the Optimation’s technology which allows for automatic programming.   Automatic programming eliminates untold hours of mindless button pushing by highly skilled and highly paid people.   With automated programming, some of your most knowledgeable and talented people are set free to perform more important tasks.


The Machine Interface is heavily used during the nesting process.   Without knowledge of details of the machine during nesting, the nest will not be optimal.   Common cutting, tool path optimization, tool setup optimization, material efficiency and many more functions are decided during the nesting operation.   There are too many machine specific details that are considered during nesting to cover them all in this description.   A few examples include clamp placement, tool hit sequence, extrusion tool interference, number of torches, trap doors, tabbing and repositioning; there are many many more.

By using the Machine Interface during nesting, the nest results match the machine function and the nest is optimized for the machine.

Generation of Machine Code

The final step is to create machine code.   The Machine Interface obsoletes the concept of a post processor.   At output the Machine Interface accounts for every function of the machine.   The programmable interface allows Optimation’s application engineers to accommodate both standard and special circumstances.   This ability optimized machine performance and makes possible functions that post processors are incapable of performing.

The result is a system that creates optimal machine performance without compromise.   The intelligence of the Machine Interface eliminates the need to constantly interact with the nest.   This allows for advanced nesting strategies like batch and JIT Nesting without the need for human interaction.   These strategies create far more material efficient nests while responding in real time to hot parts and schedule changes.   Benchmarks have shown incremental savings from 5% to 16% in material efficiency.


The Machine Interface provides more automatic and better optimized programs for your machines.   It also makes possible advanced nesting technology that improves material efficiency.   This power is only offered by Optimation.   More integration, faster operation, optimal machine performance and greater material efficiency are the results of the Machine Interface.


What is JIT Nesting?

Optimation’s exclusive JIT (Just-in-Time) Nesting gives manufacturers the power to respond to change in one machine cycle.  Whether design revisions, reworked parts, order changes, or the inevitable rush order, change is constant.  Now with JIT Nesting, it doesn’t have to be disruptive.

The principle behind JIT Nesting is to make one nest at a time, just in time for the next machine cycle.  Because Optimation can produce a nest in far less time than it takes to produce the parts, the software can check the open order “bucket” within the MRP system, reconcile any new orders with libraried and programmed parts and the latest revisions; calculate the optimal nest and program the tool path before the operator is ready.

The “chaos” within new, hot parts and orders is absorbed back into the normal order flow and addressed with the next nesting process.

No Routine Programming

Because the nests are automatically created based on current order demand and part designs, there is simply no need for a dedicated programmer to handle routine nesting.  The machine operator can cue the system and generate a new nest when it is needed.

The programmer, otherwise dedicated to this operation, is freed to handle exceptions, manage the process, look for further improvements and coordinate activities among different upstream and downstream operations.

No Tail Off

With batch nesting, the batch inevitably runs out of parts as the orders are depleted and the final nests are naturally less efficient opening the opportunity for needless waste.  With JIT Nesting, the orders are always replenished based on current and updated demand and tail off is reduced or eliminated.

Want to learn more?  Contact Optimation for more information on this advanced nesting strategy.