Category Archives: CNC Nesting Benefits

What are the benefits of CNC Nesting?

Cut Material Waste with Nesting Software

One of the primary uses of dynamic, automatic nesting software is to improve material usage and reduce waste.  Effective nesting software does far more than create nests and generate g-code.  Effective nesting software cuts material costs, improves programming efficiency, improves productivity, and enables an all around better production control.

This blog has periodically focused on material efficiency, since it is one of the most tangible, first line benefits of nesting software.  Today’s post will serve as a launching point to access prior posts on this subject.

From sheet sizes to remnants to case studies, here you have some of the best ideas on material efficiency and scrap reduction with nesting software.
Know that while material efficiency is a great first level benefit – and often the one most manufacturers use to justify nesting software purchases – that truly automatic nesting software can deliver many more second-  and third-level benefits.
For more information about Optimation, visit our website – www.optinest.com. To learn more about how automatic nesting software can transform your operation, contact us at http://www.optinest.com/contact_us.asp

Nesting Software Increases Productivity 320 Fold

Vac-U-Max Productivity U-Turn

Vac-U-Max Productivity U-Turn

We talk to manufacturers every day.  Each story is unique.  Some are in need of material savings.  Some are struggling with the slow task of programming.  Some want to better manage orders.  Finally, some are looking for a better way to connect engineering design, scheduling, and the shop floor.

Vac-U-Max from Bellevelle, NJ, was hampered by the manual nature of their programming and nesting operation.  Programming created a massive shop bottleneck.  It  took multiple hours per day and held up the laser operation.  The laser, not to mention all downstream operations, was “impatiently” waiting on programs every day.

Not good.

Fortunately, Vac-U-Max reached out to Optimation for help.  The result was a dramatic turn-around in productivity.  The laser didn’t need to wait – it could be running not 4 hours per day, but 10 hours per day as more work was brought in and the fabrication operation scaled up.  Vac-U-Max slashed the time from design to nest from  a ratio of 4 hours of programming to 4 hours of cutting to 15 minutes of programming for 20 hours of cutting.  A 320-fold increase.  The positive results were very apparent from “Day 1.”

Excellent!

Read more about the turn-around success story the partnership between Vac-U-Max and Optimation create here.

 

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.)

Read more …

How Big Shop Nesting Software Can Benefit Small Shops

Big Shop Nesting Software for Small Shops

Big Shop Nesting Software for Small Shops

There was a time – 10, 20 years ago – when only very large manufacturers like Caterpillar or Siemens could afford advanced nesting technology.

Conventional wisdom had it that because these manufacturers were large and had deep pockets only they could benefit from the advantages of automatic part programming and automatic nesting.  Further, the thinking has been that the “big guys” could use this technology to support lean manufacturing, demand-pull, and other revolutionary, cost-cutting initiatives.  Therefore, only they could benefit from tools that afforded less programming time, less material waste, better order cohesion, improved throughput and all of the gains gotten from advanced nesting. Read more …

How to Optimize Sheet Metal Sizes and Quantities with Nesting Software

Optimizing Sheet Metal Sizes and Inventory

Optimizing Sheet Metal Sizes and Inventory

Managing sheet inventory is one of the many ongoing challenges for fabricators.  They don’t want to consume their cash flow and floor space with too much inventory.  Likewise, no one wants to impede production by not having what is needed readily available.

Specifically, the first challenge is to have sufficient sheet quantity on hand.  The second challenge is to have the right sizes available.  The right size is defined as sheets sufficient in area to meet the need, but not too large or ill shaped that there is excessive scrap.

Engineers and programmers have struggled with this problem since the dawn of fabrication.  And there isn’t an easy solution to it, unless or until you turn to nesting automation to provide the answers.

The Case of the Shipbuilders

The right-sized sheet problem plays out on a very large scale for builders of ocean-going vessels.  Here’s the challenge they face.  Read more …

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? Read more …

An Easier Way to Get 95% Nesting Material Efficiency

Material Waste - Programming Time - Inventory Expenses

Material Waste - Programming Time - Inventory Expenses

I recently heard about a manufacturer, who had an extraordinary material efficiency.  They consistently got 90-95% material efficiency on every sheet they ran.  Further, this was achieved with exceptionally complicated patterned/grained material.  It was an amazing feat!

First I’ll tell you how they did this and the problems they encountered.  Then I’ll walk through an easier solution.

How did they get the material efficiency?

The first question is, naturally, how did they do it?  They could be doing manual nesting and spending a great deal of time on each nest, but that’s only half the equation, they still need the right part selection to make a highly efficient nest.  They could be running lots and lots of the same or rectangular parts which lend themselves to static nests with high efficiency.  Or they could be making very large sheet-sized parts that have very little waste. Read more …

10 Ways to Cut Sheet Metal Waste

10 Ways to Cut Material Waste with Nesting Software

10 Ways to Cut Material Waste with Nesting Software

Nothing cuts into cash flow or is a profit drain like wasted raw material.  And nothing is more frustrating than seeing huge piles of scrap go out the door.  It is these real, tangible costs that, with some foresight and creative thinking, can be turned into rewards.

Here are a few tips to start you down the road toward material savings.

1. KNOW YOUR MATERIAL USE RATE

It is surprising in this age of technology how many manufacturers don’t know their material use rate. They cannot easily answer the question, “How much of each sheet of material is used for parts?” or “What percentage of your raw material is scrap?” In some cases they need to grab a pencil and paper and do some quick estimates.  And that’s fine if that’s where you are.  At least it is a start. The best place to start when reigning in your material waste is getting a handle on what kind of scrap rate you currently have. When calculating, be sure to look at a large enough production sample to extrapolate use over six months or a year to get a truer picture of reality.  Remember you can’t change what you can’t measure…at least when it comes to material waste. Read more …

Nesting Software | 8 Best Practices to Gain Productivity

Does the nest meet all production requirements?

Does the nest meet all production requirements?

When sheet metal nesting every parameter, machine setting, order sequence, or part layout choice impacts nesting productivity – time & material.

There are countless sheet metal fabrication requirements to be considered when placing parts on a CNC punch, laser, plasma, waterjet or router.  The design, the fabrication requirements, and the order sequence can have a significant impact on the quality of the nest.  How well those requirements are respected when compiling a  nest is at the heart of an effective sheet metal nesting strategy.

Let’s look some of the real world demands that these requirements place on a programmer when nesting, and more significantly, the tools and techiques available improve your numbers today. Read more …

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. Read more …

CAD to CAM | 4 Best Practices Relaying Manufacturing Data

How to Manage Manufacturing Data | CAD to CAM

Relaying Information from CAD to CAM

Today we spoke to a manufacturer, who shared with us his process of taking geometries from AutoCad® to his nesting package.  It seems he exports them out of AutoCad, saves as DWG files segregated by material type, strips out all the non-cutting, non-tool path data by hand, and saves these edited files in another file for retrieval from the nesting software.

Maybe a piece or two of this cumbersome and frustration-ripe story resonates with your experiences or the experiences of another company you’ve heard about.  It strikes me that in this scenario, there can be a lot of opportunities for error in passing manufacturing data from CAD to CAM by missing a step, grabbing the wrong file, or processing parts based on incorrect information.  Ouch.  If this rings even a little true to you, allow me to suggest a few alternative ways of looking at this process that could save significant time, error, and frustration. Read more …

Nesting Software | Weighing Material Efficiency & Throughput

Balancing Nesting Priorities

Balancing Nesting Priorities

 

Balancing Priorities

When nesting, most manufacturers see a clear trade off between material efficiency and throughput.  They feel they must choose one or the other goal.  Sacrifice one “good” for the other.

And depending on the nature of the manufacturing operation, there may be only one, clear, obvious choice.  If you’re cutting expensive material, i.e. stainless steel, it would be common sense to save every last percent of material because waste is expensive and the cost only nominally retrievable. However, if you’re in a quick-turn-around shop where delivery is measured in hours, not days or weeks, you may be willing waste material just to meet the delivery requirements.  If the customer is satisfied with your responsiveness and offers more business or is willing to pay more for the fast turn around, the monetary loss in waste can be overcome.

However, most manufacturers don’t live in such a black-and-white world where there is only one, clear objective.

Read more …