Conceptually, nesting has been around for a long time in the manufacturing industry. With advancements in CAD software, material optimization became an increasingly important consideration in any sort of machining or manufacturing environment. However, it wasn’t until the advent of dedicated nesting software that custom material optimization really gained traction and established its place in the manufacturing industry. So what is nesting, how does it work, and why is it so important to the industry?
Nesting, in simple terms, involves creating layouts for custom machining components so that the manufacturer can make the most of the materials. Perhaps the best way to explain material optimization is through the use of some basic images.
The L-Shaped pieces above need to be cut from a material such as sheet metal. Materials are often cut with custom off-line blanking dies, but more modern manufacturers will use plasma or water jet.
In the image above, you can see the amount of extra metal (represented here in gray) is pretty significant. Without nesting, this generates a lot of waste, as this metal is no longer useable. Let’s take a look at what this looks like with nesting:
In our second image here, the L-shaped components have been arranged in a way that allows for more parts to be created from the same amount of raw material. In this case, the original piece of raw material produced 8 L-shaped components, but this layout allows for the creation of 12 L-shaped components.
Our third image here gives an idea of how modern custom nesting works. Here, this layout allows for the creation of 12 L-shaped components and 12 oval-shaped components. You can see how little metal remains, as compared to the first image. These images are simple, so let’s take a look at how nesting really works in the manufacturing industry:
This is an example of a cutting layout that has been created with nesting software. Note that the product layout is optimized so that a wide variety of parts can be cut at the same time, and from the same piece of material. You’ll also notice how little raw material (white) is wasted.
Custom nesting software is important in this case because components created are of many different sizes and shapes. Though a skilled CAD specialist could, in theory, recreate an effective layout for their product components, there are definitely human limitations at play that make this inefficient and ineffective. Obviously, a designer’s spatial reasoning would be called to task here. The designer would need, of course, to be paid for the time spent developing the design, and the designs of all other components that need to be nested, and then cut.
Custom material optimization software uses complicated algorithms to automate the nesting design process to meet any machining product requirements, including all new versions of the product to be released. This eliminates the need for CAD specialists to spend countless hours designing new die templates, and thus saves money on payroll, as well as substantial time savings, which can help avoid product rollout delays.
Aside from the human resources financial burden, custom material optimization using nesting software ensures that every square inch of raw material is being used, whenever possible, thus cutting product waste down by a very significant figure. Less custom dies will be required, which is an effective way to cut down on costs. Additionally, the time saved by cutting as many components as possible using the same piece of raw material saves countless hours of factory labor payroll, and allows for final products to be assembled, packaged, and sold at a much faster rate. There are also environmental considerations at play. Many companies are joining the “green wave” to use sustainable products and minimize waste. It’s no secret that manufacturing waste contributes substantially to our world’s pollution problem. Customers, too, are increasingly recognizing, valuing, and buying from companies that actively do their part to help the environment.
Investing in custom material optimization software created by a dedicated nesting software firm such as Cleveland software development company Tornado Technologies will save your company untold amounts of time and money on your production line and push your efficiency to the maximum.