Nesting is a computer-aided manufacturing application (CAD) application where cut profiles are laid out in the most optimal way to minimise raw material wastage. Nesting software commercially available today also can also be integrated with enterprise resource planning (ERP) and material requirements planning (MRP) software, allowing for even greater flexibility.
Q: What are the benefits of using nesting software, and how do they translate into the shop floor?
Amey Save (AS):Nesting software comes with unique and smart nesting algorithms that optimise the cutting sheet with parts. For instance, it can allow the end user to optimise the metal sheet with different cut parts, while keeping sufficient gaps between each part for good cut quality and heat affected zone, so that all parts nested will have good cut dimensions and cut quality.
In general, the benefits can be translated to the shop floor in the following ways:
•Optimisation of metal sheet with cutting parts: Saving of scrap material results in cost savings for the company.
•Users can select from a series of tested and verified parameters within the software: This results in faster cutting with good cut quality: Saving time and money on secondary work.
•Users can apply machine and process defined for lead-ins and lead-outs: This helps to achieve good cut quality and also reduces machine maintenance. Ultimately, this leads to less downtime and higher production.
•Compatibility with ERP/MRP software: Provides integration with the entire operating process.
Certain software comes with proprietary technologies that have additional benefits. For example, Hypertherm’s nesting software includes True Bevel technology that reduces trial and error in bevel-cutting jobs for mild steel.
Q: Are there any overlooked features that manufacturers can do with nesting technology that turns into improved productivity?
AS: In addition to its core function, advanced nesting software usually comes equipped with certain optional modules, some of which are specific to improving productivity. Some optional modules include:
- Productivity modules.
- Enterprise modules.
- 3D process modules.
- Machine interface modules.
Our productivity modules contain auto nesting, common line, chain, and bridge cutting functions, which enable users to optimise the nesting layout.
A common problem that many companies encounter is having to keep track of remnant (leftover) metal sheet. With an inventory module, this information will be stored in the database and can be used when required.
Q: Nesting software is not “magic”; physical limitations of the machine have to be taken into account. Is there any common consideration and advice that you’d like to give to users?
AS: I would encourage all users to explore and utilise the optional modules that come with the nesting software. With these optional modules, users have the flexibility to create a customised nesting software (by adding modules as per their requirements) that is suited to their unique needs.
Q: Any common misconceptions about nesting software that you would like to clear up?
AS: We have encountered many nesting CAM software users who think that they can perform plate optimisation manually better than utilising auto nesting. In a way they are right, as nesting software cannot be compared with the human brain nesting logic. That said, nesting software is capable of generating layouts in a much shorter time, as opposed to manual nesting by a user, which helps to save time and increase productivity.
Q: At its heart, nesting software is driven by algorithms in order to reduce material wastage. With technology advancing at a breakneck pace, has there been any advancement in that respect, or to nesting software in general?
AS: Definitely, there’s still room for innovation and improvement in nesting software. For instance, nesting software can come with different modes: Auto Nesting, Manual Nesting, and Hybrid nesting which allows auto and manual nesting both can be used by user. This gives users more control over their nesting layout.
Q: Any other thoughts you would like to share with our readers?
AS: In today’s world, having a powerful vehicle is not sufficient. The vehicle needs to come with features that can be adapted to different road conditions, and offer users flexibility and ease of use.
The same applies to cutting machines as well. Having a big cutting machine alone is not enough. It needs to be complemented by powerful nesting CAM software for optimisation of metal sheet, machine space, shop floor, and human resources, in order for users to reap the most benefits and achieve maximum efficiency and productivity.
APMEN Metrology & Design, May/June 2017