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Breaking down the barriers of nesting efficiency in composite cutting

News International-French

4 Aug 2014

Nesting software differs from one another by their ability to nest complex shapes in the most efficient and practical way.

However, with the advances in nesting research, the nesting product category has reached a maximum level of efficiency, and the various competing products differ from each other by fractions of yield improvement.

Regardless of how good these nesting software solutions are, they are all limited by design to a given quantity of product on predefined material of a specific length and width. Thus, nesting software cannot and does not consider other relevant factors driven by the manufacturing reality, such as the material's expiration date, the remnants available in the warehouse and other incoming orders.

The Solution
Breaking down the barriers of nesting efficiency requires a new approach: a transition from a 'point solution' to an 'enterprise level' solution, which is able to generate comprehensive production plans on the fly, while considering all relevant information at once. This includes: customer orders and requirements, material availability, machine capability and availability as well as- product design.
Production Optimization Software that implements such a holistic approach requires dynamic and creative optimization techniques to address production inefficiencies and to generate new levels of savings, beyond material only.

The following examples will discuss some of these techniques showing the savings from an ‘enterprise level’ solution;

Remnant Utilization:
While nesting software can create the most efficient nest, the machine operator will still need to provide enough material for that particular nest. In such cases, any shorter rolls left in stock may not be used and will eventually expire. Taking a broader approach, and using an ‘enterprise level’ solution, which considers the actual material available in the freezer and nests a single kit over multiple rolls, allows utilization of the short rolls in stock before they expire.

Chart 1 below shows an example where a single-kit is now nested over two partial rolls. Initially 5.24 meters of new material were used and now 5.10 meters are used. So the yield is improved by 2.7 percent, and two rolls which would total a little more than 10 percent of a 50 meter roll are used instead of being discarded.

Chart 1 – Remnant Utilization

Nesting Multiples
Often, two orders requiring the same material are cut from two different rolls simply due to lack of communication between the orders platform and the cutting platform. A holistic approach integrates the production floor with the CAD and ERP systems, enabling the nesting of multiple kits together.

Charts 2a and 2b describe two different examples of nesting two kits together. In the first instance (2a) the kits are mixed, thus maximizing the material yield. Instead of producing 2 separate kits each using 5.24 meters of material, the kits are mixed into a single nest and use 9.88 meters as opposed to 10.48 meters. This results in a further yield improvement of 5.7 percent.

Chart 2a –Multi-Kit Nesting (combined nest)

In the second example (2b), the two orders are nested back to back, still improving yield but making the kits a little easier to pick from the cutting table. However, just like in the Kit Mixing example, since the role only has to be thawed once, it results in reduced labor and setup time, as well as increased out- time on the roll.

Chart 2b –Multi-Kit Nesting (back to back)

Switching from the concept of ‘point solution’ for nesting software, to an ‘enterprise-level solution’ that broadly looks at the whole cutting process, is today’s only option for manufacturers looking to break down the savings barriers reached by traditional nesting solutions.

Using Production Optimization Solutions, raw material savings are increased by dynamic nesting, better use of remnants and mixing orders. Further savings are reached from an automated and more efficient process, including reduced set-up time, increased shelf-life, reduced human errors, improved quality and faster time to market.