Tag Archives: nesting process

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 …

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 …

4 Levels of Order Entry & Nesting Software Integration

Increasing Nesting Software Integration Over Time

Increasing Nesting Software Integration Over Time

One of the advantages of automatic nesting software is the ability to integrate with the existing order management or scheduling system (MRP/ERP) creating a seamless upstream and downstream information flow.

One of the concerns some manufacturing engineers have is what does this functionality mean to me if I’m not using an MRP/ERP system.  Is it more than I need? Or can I start with a simpler method and work up to something more sophisticated with full integration and/or JIT?

The Four Automation Levels of MRP/ERP and Automatic Nesting Integration

The good news for all manufacturing engineers is that order entry integration with automatic nesting isn’t an on/off switch.  There are levels of integration that you can dial up or down to suit your needs.  Further, as your operation gains sophistication, you can keep up with it without making software changes.  Automatic nesting software with MRP integration is a scalable tool that can grow with you and your needs.

Read more …

Evaluating the Sheet Metal Nesting Process | Part 4 of 4

How to Evaluate the Nesting Process

Steps to Evaluate the Nesting Process

This post concludes our series on evaluating the nesting process.  We’ve established a foundation for a process review, reviewed the CAD to CAM process, and looked at the order entry side of the equation.  Now we’ll turn to the heart of the nesting process, the actual creation of nests and output of tool paths to the equipment.  This is often the make-or-break element in the process that determines efficiency (material and time), throughput and the overall effectiveness of the sheet metal fabrication process.

Again, we’ll follow our method of first describing the status quo, evaluating it critically, then looking for alternatives.

Creation of the nest and tool path 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 …

Best Sheet Metal Nesting Process Questions | CAD to CAM | Part 2 of 4

How to Evaluate the Nesting Process

Steps to Evaluate the Nesting Process

In the last blog post we laid out an architecture by which we can critically evaluate a nesting process.  To review, our evaluation process starts with a clear and detailed description of the nesting process, they we ask “why” about each of those defined steps, finally we look for constructive alternatives. Our goals in sum are identifying challenges, means to improve the process, and overall opportunities for efficiencies.

Today we’ll apply our evaluation architecture or system to the processes we’re most familiar with in nesting – collection of part geometry and creation of the part program.

We start at the beginning of the nesting process for most manufacturers, which is creating, identifying, moving, cleaning, and all around getting the geometry from where it is to a place – literally and figuratively – where it can be manufactured.  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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …