Tag Archives: cnc nesting software

What is Nesting Software?

What is Nesting Software?

What is Nesting Software?

That may be a self-evident question to some, but surprisingly, there are misperceptions about what really is “nesting software,” or, more to the point, what functionality actually defines nesting software.

In this discussion, I’ll outline what basic functions are most commonly found in nesting software, and I’ll parse out what functions you can additionally find in more advanced nesting software.

  1. The Nesting Algorithm (engine)– At the heart of every automated nesting software package is a nesting algorithm (formula) that looks at some quantity of parts then orients them to fit one or more sheets of material.  Interactive nesting seeks to achieve the same goal of putting parts on a sheet of material; however, the user is left to drag and drop or interactively do the thinking that automated software does.  With more automated nesting software, the user can use different nesting strategies such as just in time nesting, kit nesting or batch nesting to gain second and third level benefits (material efficiency, reduced programming time, etc.) Read more …

How long does it take to research new nesting software?

Researching Nesting Software

Researching Nesting Software

Don’t you just hate it when you ask a seemingly straight-forward question, and you get a waffle-y answer like “it depends?”  I think that’s frustrating, too.  But as we know life isn’t always black and white.  And as to the question, how long does it take to research nesting software, the answer really is, “it depends.”

I will cut to the chase and give you a time frame of three to nine  months up front.  But in all fairness to manufacturers, the vendors, and the process, I need to flesh this answer out a bit to make it more constructive for everyone.

There are a number of factors that strongly influence the amount of time it takes to research and purchase nesting software.  Let’s take a look at a few, and you can use this as a checklist to plan accordingly when and if you should take on a nesting software research project.

Read more …

Automatic Nesting and Automated Nesting – Smart Shoppers Know the Difference

Automated Nesting v. Automatic Nesting

Automated Nesting v. Automatic Nesting

To the uninitiated manufacturing professional the two terms “automatic” and “automated” as they apply to nesting and nesting software can whiz by undifferentiated in a conversation.  That’s perfectly understandable because our everyday experiences afford us no reason to assume there is much difference between the two terms.

Ah, but it is in that distinction where an important mistake is made when it comes to looking at nesting processes and nesting software.  Read more …

How well is your part ordering system working? | Part 3 of 4

How to Evaluate the Nesting Process

Steps to Evaluate the Nesting Process

In the last two blog posts we’ve first laid a foundation for evaluating a process, then applied that foundation to the CAD to CAM process or geometry acquisition and data cleaning and storage steps.  As you know the nesting process takes input from two areas – design and scheduling.  Now we’ll turn to the other side of the equation (parts + orders = nests), and evaluate the order entry and order communication process as it relates to nesting.

Every manufacturer has a capturing and communicating order information approach.  It can be a paper-based system with travelers and making use of the “sneaker-net” to transfer the information.  It can be an Excel spreadsheet with a list of customer orders and associated parts, or it can be a sophisticated MRP/ERP system which is updated in real time.  Regardless of the tools in place, there are fundamental process requirements that can be described, evaluated, and compared to alternatives.

Here we go. Read more …

How to Evaluate Your Sheet Metal Nesting Process | Part 1 of 4

How to Evaluate the Nesting Process

Steps to Evaluate the Nesting Process

Most would agree that sheet metal nesting is process.  There are steps; some sequential, some parallel. The activities flow; sometimes well, sometimes not so well. Decisions are made, information is shared, and actions are taken.  The sum of which is a process.

Even though there is significant value to looking critically at the process, most manufacturers rarely review the it unless there is a mandate to begin a Lean Initiative, a major problem, or an alternative sheet metal software solution is under consideration, which is sometimes indicative of a major problem.   Why? Because the day to day management of the process is all consuming. Read more …

JIT Nesting Software Helps You Respond to Changes in One Machine Cycle

JIT Nesting Software Helps Respond to Change

JIT Nesting Software Helps Respond to Change

We often hear from programmers and engineers  about the hours upon hours they spend librarying parts, creating programs, and optimizing tool paths.  Then they hope nothing changes in the schedule to disrupt their much-labored-over work.  And you know how the story ends.  Something happens – it always does – that throws the schedule into a tailspin, the nests are scrambled, the work starts over, and someone loses their lunch break just to keep the ball rolling.  Meanwhile that equipment is still waiting; waiting impatiently with its metaphorical metronome ticking – loudly.

The solution to this time-and-time-again proven problem is simple.  Just wait until the very last minute – seconds – before the laser, punch or other fabrication equipment has completed the current nest and the operator has unloaded it to create the next nest.  That very next nest would reflect precisely current demand – orders, order quantities, part revisions, and material inventory – and prevent the dreaded last minute scramble to accommodate any and all changes.

It’s possible to do this.  Really.   Allow me to introduce you to “Just-in-Time Nesting.” Read more …

Does Mixing Shop Orders Make You Nervous?

Not Dynamic Nesting of Mixed Orders

Not Dynamic Nesting of Mixed Orders

Does the thought of mixing orders in a nest strike fear into your heart?  Or does it just feel better to keep your items separate, like food on a tray -  no mixing allowed.

This probably isn’t you, but maybe you’ve heard of others, who under penalty of death, will not mix orders when nesting.  It’s true.  We hear about it a lot.

Although I’m having a little fun with it here, some have very real concerns about mixing parts from different orders, jobs, customers on a single or series of nests.  And those concerns are probably based in real-world, nightmarish experiences.

Today, we’ll look at the challenges of mixing orders and some best practices and tools to address them.  Then we’ll consider why mixing orders would be beneficial when done right and with the right tools.  Finally, we’ll ask the questions you may be asking to determine if mixing sheet metal nesting orders is right for you.

Challenges in Mixing Orders When Nesting

Shop Floor Chaos

The biggest concern we hear about mixing orders, jobs, customers Read more …

Remnant Nesting

Irregular Sheet Metal Remnant Nesting

Irregular Sheet Metal Remnant Nesting

Nesting on irregular-shaped remnants can make a significant difference on material yield.  And if you are a manufacturer focused on reducing waste and improving yield, here’s a nesting strategy that could prove very helpful.

Manufacturers often have to create large, non-rectangular parts in small quantities.  These parts can and do fill the majority of the area on a metal sheet; however, they still leave a sizeable amount of usable space inside voids and around the exterior.  This usable space, or remnant, isn’t necessarily rectangular, as many remnants are.  The remnant naturally follows the negative contour of the single large part removed from the sheet.

Irregular-Shaped Remnant Nesting Challenges

When a programmer is faced with an odd-shaped, sheet metal remnant he is challenged with a couple problems Read more …

How to Manage CNC Nesting Information | CAD/CAM

CAD/CAM Information Management

Best Practices for CAD/CAM Information Management

Effective communication is the lifeline of most businesses.  It couldn’t be more important in manufacturing, or specifically, to the CAD/CAM process.  Where there is lack of communication or miscommunication between CAD and CAM there is waste.  And we know intuitively waste from poor communication is costly and even more costly to fix.

CAD/CAM information management is all about creating and tracking an order and/or the part geometry from sale through delivery.  Let’s look at some of the CAD/CAM information management challenges and categorize them by the impact they have on delivering value to the customer.  Read more …

Optimation & Inventor Integration

Optimation & Inventor Automation & Integration

Optimation & Inventor | CAD/CAM Integration

Optimation® stands alone as a leading CAM or nesting automation specialist.  Optimation has focused its more than 30 years of research, development and expertise on developing best-in-class nesting automation. Similarly, AutoDesk® has become ubiquitous in the CAD design field by becoming the tool of choice upon which most designers learn.  Inventor is one of their flagship products charting new advancements in technology.

When acting independently, these tools can and do make significant transformations in the automation of a production environment.  Individually, they create a multiplier effect with the productivity of the resources – individuals, equipment, and raw materials – at hand. Integrated they can further leverage their individual impact. Read more …

CAD to CAM | Process Problem Solving

Solving Production Problems with CAD/CAM

Solving Production Problems with CAD/CAM

Is the boss concerned about waste?  Are you asked to make cuts?  If so, you’re not alone.  Many manufacturers are belt-tightening.  However, the challenge most run into is finding waste beyond the obvious pile of scrap material.

The good news for searchers is that waste is everywhere.

Today, we’ll look at the CAD/CAM process in light of the lean manufacturing concept of “value stream.”  With this approach we’ll find lots of waste to root out and lots of unsung value in our processes. Read more …

How CAM Software Adds Value to a Product

Improving Delivery Speed, Service with CAM Software

Adding Value with Service and Product Improvements from Optimation

Now that we’ve discussed initiating a Lean Manufacturing Project, we’ll turn to deconstructing the sometimes mysterious — often foreign — components of lean thinking as it relates to the CAD/CAM process.  With these tools you can leverage your own knowledge of your business to make improvements that will, in hindsight, seem obvious.

So, let’s get started.

What is Value?

The first concepts to tackle are “value” and the “value stream.”  Intuitively we know what value means for ourselves and our products.  We know we have value as a person, spouse, employee, committee member because we bring knowledge and talents to our relationships and roles.  And we know our products have value — equivalent to the purchase price — because our customers buy them for that price!  But what do the lean manufacturing experts mean by “value,” and how does it apply to CNC Nesting and the CAD/CAM world?  Read more …

CAD to CAM | 4 Ways to Manage Revisions

Optimation_CNC_Nesting_Revision_Management

Managing Part Revisions with Optimation CNC Nesting Software

Most manufacturers we encounter have to manage part revisions.  They know there will always be design changes.  And they know changes can be very disruptive to the production process, and changes are ripe for errors.

So, the question arises, how best to manage the inevitable change with minimal disruption and error when communicating designs from CAD to CAM.  Here are four ideas we like to recommend. Read more …

Lean Fabrication with CNC Nesting | Value & Value Stream

Optimation Adding Value Through CNC Nesting

Optimation Adding Measurable Value With Automatic CNC Nesting

Lean Idea #3 – Building on Nesting Successes | Creating Value & a Value Stream

Wouldn’t it be great to make a small, measureable fix here and a modest incremental change there and go home at the end of the day feeling satisfied you’ve handled the “fabrication crisis?”

Selecting a few ideas or solutions in the hopes of making great strides with small movements doesn’t address the whole picture, and it won’t work…in the long run.  Well, yes, you will see some changes, and maybe that will be all the solution necessary to fend off the immediate crisis – for the time being.  But Lean Manufacturing isn’t about isolated successes. 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 …

Achieve Lean Fabrication Success with Small Nesting Changes

Achieving Lean Success with Nesting Software

Taking Lean Steps with Nesting Software

 

Imagine going into the boss’s office and announcing, “Boss, I have a great idea.  I can save the company thousands of dollars, and it will only take 10 years to see results.”  Maybe there is a manufacturer out there with that long-term vision or the margins to justify a protracted project and long-awaited results.

I’m here to tell you, that if you want your crisis solved or your idea for lean manufacturing techniques to succeed, nothing sells like success.

Small, incremental progress with real, tangible results will rule the day for any project to maintain momentum, insure ongoing commitment, and demonstrate viability.

Let’s look at what that means in manufacturing.

Read more …

What is Dynamic Nesting?

Optimation Dyanmic Nesting Software

Optimation Dyanmic Nesting Software

There are a lot of terms tossed around to describe types of nesting.  “Dynamic” is one of those terms, and, unfortunately, often its meaning gets lots in translation.

What is Nesting?

First, let’s be clear about what nesting is and is not.  Nesting in fabrication describes the laying out of multiple 2D or 1D-parts in a defined space to be cut from flat stock (sheet metal, composite material, etc.).  Typically, the nesting goals include material efficiency and/or response time / throughput.

Read more …

Starting Lean Fabrication Project with Nesting Software

Lean Manufacturing & Nesting Software

Lean Manufacturing & Nesting Software

In this era of economic turmoil, returning to – or maybe introducing – the concepts of lean manufacturing can serve us well in understanding the tools at hand with Optimation.  Over the next few posts we’ll look at “lean” from a number of perspectives, with the intent to understand what “lean” means and how Optimation can support its concepts.

Idea #1: Never Waste a Good Crisis

Does the idea of “launching a program” or “starting a new initiative” bring the terror of long meetings ending in inaction to mind?  Yes? Me, too. How many ideas – no matter how well intentioned – never get off the ground?  They get bogged down in bureaucracy, territorial disputes, budget crunches, or you name it.  So, how do “lean” initiatives get off the ground?

Read more …

Optimation Launches Blog

Optimation Launches Blog about Nesting Software

Optimation Launches Blog about Nesting Software

Optimation launches new blog featuring news and information on CNC automatic nesting software.

This blog is for you –

Manufacturing Engineers & Programmers

This blog will highlight tools, techniques, and best practices to enpower manufacturing engineers and programmers to create the optimal nest in the shortest period of time. We’ll answer the questions you are asking: What’s the best strategy? How do I do this? Is there a better way? What tools are available to help?

Fabrication Managers

We know nesting and nesting software can have a direct impact on the bottom line of a fabrication business. This blog will look at nesting from the perspective of the financial impact, too. How does it drive material savings? Where can I find programming savings? Is it possible to improve throughput? How do I keep projects, orders, and parts together (order cohesion)? What role does “lean manufacturing” play?

There’s a lot to talk about and a terrific discussion to be had.

So let’s get started…