Tag Archives: nesting strategy

Nesting Algorithm Differences You Need to Know

5 Generations of Nesting Software

5 Generations of Nesting Software

When researching nesting software, it is very common for project managers to see all nesting software – even dynamic nesting – as the same.  However, the nesting software marketplace reality is very different.

As you might expect with all software, nesting software has evolved tremendously over the last thirty years.  What you need to know is that it has gone through five generations of evolution, and all five generations are still on the market today.  What you need to know is how to identify each generation, what each generation does and doesn’t do for you, and how each would solve your nesting needs.  It is the only way to make an informed, wise purchasing decision.

The generations are distinguished by the approach to nesting – how the algorithm addresses each part, optimizes for efficencies, and ultimately creates the nest.

First Generation - Rectangular Nesting

What is it? Rectangular Nesting “draws” a rectangle around the part at the largest height and width. It treats the part geometry as the rectangle, not the real shape of the part when placing the part on a nest.

Advantages. Rectangular Nesting is satisfactory if and when your parts are primarily rectangular in shape. Read more …

What Makes Dynamic Nesting “Dynamic?”

What Makes Dynamic Nesting "Dynamic?"

What Makes Dynamic Nesting "Dynamic?"

Dynamic Nesting is one of those ubiquitous terms that often has different meanings depending on who you are talking to and what their previous experiences have been. The term “dynamic” can point to three different attributes of the nesting process – 1) the shape and variety of parts, 2) the management of due dates and priorities, and/or 3) the mixing of  orders.

Mixed Part Shapes
Most commonly, dynamic nesting is distinguished from static nesting by the ability to nest many parts of different sizes and shapes.  There may be ten, twenty, or fifty parts on a sheet or nest, but there may be up to an equal number of different parts.  “Dynamic” in this case means the combining of large and small, round, rectangle, obround, and any other shaped part in one sheet of material to achieve an optimum fit.  The user in this scenario is focusing on optimizing material efficiency. For more on mixing parts and how it differs from static nesting, check out this blog post. 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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

4 Nesting Strategies to Manage Cut Part Production

Optimation Nested Parts

Optimation Nested Parts

A nesting strategy – to be distinguished from nesting software – that is suitable for a job shop may not work for an OEM.  A made-to-order shop may need different nesting strategies than a shop that uses Kanban.  A nesting strategy perfect for a small shop, may be ill-suited for a multi-facility corporation.  Why?  Because each company has different resources and different production objectives, both factor into the choice of a nesting strategy.

Often, the manufacturing engineering team is challenged to determine which strategy – or strategies – is best suited to achieve their production goals.  When choosing a nesting strategy they must consider productivity, material efficiency, order cohesion, and most of all, the labor resources available.

Similarly, the team is challenged by resource constraints.  There are only so many programmers, a limited number of hours in the day, a material budget, storage space allocations, machine speed, etc.

Making the most of the resources to achieve the right goals through nesting with CNC nesting software is a nesting strategy.

What’s the best strategy to use?  Let’s look at several choices…

Read more …

Nesting Software | 4 Best Practices When Kit Nesting

Optimation Assembly Manager Nesting Software

Optimation Assembly Manager Nesting Software

Some manufacturers – maybe you – build products out of component parts.  Those completed products are kits or assemblies or units, depending on the term you use.  Some parts are sheet or plate metal; some are not.  Some parts involve extensive post-fabrication work (bending, forming, painting); some not.  But the one thing all kit parts have in common is that they belong together.  Kits are designed as a unit and need to be programmed together, nested together, cut or punched together, assembled together, and ultimately delivered together, which creates a rather difficult production challenge.

How do you keep the assembly parts together in a cohesive unit, while reducing the programming time, managing the material yield, and not slowing down machine productivity?  There are sheet metal software best practices to help.  Often times one or two of these goals are sacrificed to achieve another goal in what is seen as a zero-sum game.

It doesn’t have to be that way.  There are tools and practices that can help achieve all of these goals in concert and without sacrificing one good for another.  Let’s look at some of the day-to-day challenges kits present and some solutions to the problems. Read more …

Pros & Cons of Single Part CNC Programming

Single Part Programming | Time vs Material

Single Part Programming | Time vs Material

We often hear from manufacturers that they are doing single part programming.  Some do it by design.  Some do it by default.  Either way it is a process that dramatically impacts how your fabrication operation works.  Therefore, it merits a discussion to better understand what it is and how it strongly influences throughput and material efficiency outcomes. 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 …