Nesting Software - The Smart Fabricators Automation Tool

By Eric St. James
January 21, 2021
CAM Software

The metal fabrication industry has come a long way thanks to technology and innovation. From advancements in machine tools to software, metal fabrication shops are enjoying higher productivity and efficiencies in many aspects of the business – including the nesting process.

What is automated nesting software and why do we need it?

Nesting is the process of organizing parts on flat material to achieve the best material utilization. In the past, this was a predominately manual process.

Now, automatic nesting software has taken the guess work out, employing algorithms to create the most efficient nests automatically.  They use intelligent space-saving techniques, altered based on your production variables including material type, thickness and more. The goal is providing the optimal cutting paths and pierces to produce the best finished product while saving you money and reducing waste.

How can automated nesting software save you money?

Nesting systems save you money in two ways:

  1. Material and machine efficiency, and;
  2. Labor requirements, for higher productivity.

Let’s talk material and machine efficiency, first.

The main purpose of nesting programming tools is to optimize your parts layout so you can get your preferred parts in the quantities you need at the lowest possible cost.

Quality nesting of cut parts is critical. If you’re not careful, you can easily double your consumption of raw materials. Poor nesting can not only increase costs, but also produce more waste, consume more energy, and cause a serious productivity lag.

Automatic nesting systems prioritize material utilization reducing material waste and excessive inventory. The intelligent algorithms also determine the most efficient way of producing the parts while allowing users to manage specific situations to guarantee optimum execution of the programming.

The added cost-saving benefit of nesting CAM software through lower labour requirements.

While it doesn’t eliminate the need for skilled programming professionals completely, it leverages their skills through advanced productivity tools to reduce hours on the shop floor. It can calculate optimal approaches for nesting much faster, while reducing the chance for human error. Plus, many systems can also track inventory and work orders, saving time for your team.

Create efficiencies with new automated nesting software integrations

CAM software has evolved. New innovations allow it to integrate fully with modern ERP systems to make production more efficient and finish jobs faster.  By automating multiple activities and linking software models, you can convert what was once a week-long process into a seamless, overnight job. You can learn more about leveraging technology to increase productivity in your shop here.

How to make the most of automated nesting software:

  • Find the right system for your shop
  • Understand the workflow and productivity needs in your shop
  • Get proper training and support

Like any investment, it’s important to make sure you choose the right tool for your needs.

Software choices are mission-specific: consider your type and volume of work. Understand the workflow in your shop and what features you need from a productivity tool.

What we love about AlmaCAM’s software is that they have a full suite of products that let you program a variety of machine functions. All shops are unique, but you can be sure AlmaCAM will have the right tool for you – with the opportunity for the technology to grow with you. Plus, with over 40 years of experience and a proprietary algorithm, they are true masters of nesting.

While some shops will opt for the full AlmaCAM Cut software package, depending on your business, you might consider Nest & Cut, AlmaCAM’s cloud-based web application. This option allows you to leverage Alma’s advanced nesting know-how for a low subscription fee, without needing to license the full software. Plus, because it’s cloud-based, you can use it anywhere.

Nest & Cut is also a good choice if you already use a different CAM software and need something just for nesting. Upload your CAD part files to the cloud, then Alma creates the nest and exports it as another DXF file. Import this DXF nest into your existing CAM software and create the G-code necessary for your particular machine-tool. Many shops find this is a great way to actively benchmark the Alma nesting technology against their current programs by measuring improvements in material utilization.

Proper training and support is key

To make the most of any tool, you need to know how to make it work for you. That’s where training comes into play. The higher level of training your team receives for a software tool, the more efficiencies you’ll enjoy. Customer support is another thing to consider. You’ll want to make sure support is available when you need it. It will help you get the most benefit out of the technology, and fast trouble-shooting support will cut down on any productivity losses.

Ready to take advantage of automatic nesting systems? Make the move today.


About Author
Eric St. James

Eric St. James is a President and part owner of Paramount for over 20 years. Strong business development professional with a Graduate focused in Mechanical Engineering Tech. from Dawson College.


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