ESAB Knowledge center.

What is a nesting system and why do you need one?

June 16, 2013

Traditional Nesting Software

Traditionally, a nesting system has been considered as a numerical control (NC) programming tool, wherein two-dimensional models of components generated in CAD software are used to generate G-code to drive computer numerically controlled (CNC) machines. Let’s think of a nesting system as part of a CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing) system.

Automatic nesting maximizes plate utilization, but is just the tip of the iceberg for software productivity enhancement - Click for larger viewAs with other “Computer-Aided” technologies, CAM does not eliminate the need for skilled professionals such as manufacturing engineers, NC programmers, or machinists. CAM, in fact, leverages both the value of the most skilled manufacturing professionals through advanced productivity tools, while building the skills of new professionals through visualization, simulation and optimization tools.

Modern Programming System Capabilities

Today’s high-end nesting software is capable of doing much more than that and runs on a desktop PC. It streamlines the workflow of your cutting workshop beginning with automated import of orders and parts, including their CAD geometry from your business system, plate inventory management, up to the automated nesting and NC program generation, for a variety of tools and machines.

Setting up the software for a new machine configuration is quick and easy - Click for larger viewThe automated nesting procedure is only one, but critical part in a programming software for CNC shape cutting machines. A variety of different machine technologies and tools have to be considered by the nesting algorithm. It must be capable of multi-tool nesting and technologies like “n:m marking”. Imagine cutting with 4 oxy-fuel torches and marking the parts ahead with 2 arc markers or one inkjet printer. Imagine cutting one part with several tools, for instance outer contour with plasma, inner contour with oxy-fuel. If this happens by the click of a button you increase your productivity significantly.

It assists in applying the correct machine and tool technology to every part or even every single tool-path. Maximum productivity can be reached even with automated multi-pass bevel programming for plasma Y, X, and K bevels.

A parts database can store all information about every part, including shape, material, thickness, cutting process, and edge bevel geometry - Click for larger viewAlso the usage of material has to be considered. If a nesting system is capable of tracing every part and plate used back to its original order or even unique serial number, you can combine several order parts to use one plate. So also the planning capability increases your productivity and even margin on a part through better material usage. The ability to manage and organize your remnant plate stock based on their actual shape is crucial to be as cost effective as possible.

This also works across several different machines. So one central planning system makes a cutting workshop as effective as possible. Only if you have access to the complete order planning information of all your work and all of your plate inventory can you plan and nest most efficiently.

Getting the Most From Your Nesting System

As a complete nesting system offers you all this functionality, you certainly have to know how to use it to be as effective as possible. So not only the knowledge about your workflow and your machine technology influences your productivity, also the level of training the users of a CAM system have.

It also can measure the planned and real productivity of your machines by calculating and monitoring production data automatically delivered by the machines. If you can measure it, you can manage it.

So a nesting system is all about efficiency and productivity.

As a complete nesting system offers you all this functionality, you certainly have to know how to use it to be as effective as possible. So not only the knowledge about your workflow and your machine technology influences your productivity, also the level of training the users of a CAM system have.

It also can measure the planned and real productivity of your machines by calculating and monitoring production data automatically delivered by the machines. If you can measure it, you can manage it.

So a nesting system is all about efficiency and productivity. 

 

Posted in Cutting Systems , Tagged with Nesting, Software

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