Mary Sciana from Shop Metalworking Technology magazine spoke with some of the top names in CNC nesting software, including SAi and Shopdata, to determine 3 key factors you should be considering when choosing a nesting software. We’ve summarized her findings below but you can read the full article here: http://www.shopmetaltech-digitalmagazine.com/shopmetaltech/june_2016?pg=60#pg60
Nesting software is an essential component in creating fabricating efficiencies. This might seem obvious but it’s important to keep in mind that not all nesting software are created equally.
Outside of the basic functions that a fabricator needs, such as true shape nesting, a vital part of your nesting software is its ability to keep up with the constantly changing technological advancements that are allowing your machines to cut faster and create more intricate parts. Here are the top three elements that every nesting software program should include according to nesting software suppliers.
A nesting software with limited flexibility restricts your ability to work with different machines and their associated software. That is why it is imperative to have flexible software, as it will allow your system to work with different brands of machines and with different cutting processes. Flexibility is also important in terms of the functions a software package offers. Some questions to consider according to senior applications engineer and new business development manager of Geometric Americas Marc Bissell, include the following. “Does the software have the ability to nest individual parts with multiple components and multiple geometries? Does the software have the ability to unfold 3D parts and create flat patterns ready for nesting?” One final aspect of flexibility you should consider is the number of algorithms that a nesting software goes through to optimize the nest.
The goal of nesting software is to optimize the nest, which can be a problem given the skills trades gap in our industry. It is important to have a user friendly software in which these less skilled workers can operate. Suppliers in the industry all agree that automation is a key attribute that should be a part of today’s nesting software. Automated functions could include the ability to automatically identify the type of material and thickness of parts and assemblies, automatic part-in-part testing and automatic nesting based on type and thickness.
In this day in age, nesting software needs to be able to integrate easily with ERP and MRP systems, have the ability to read and integrate different CAD formats into your CAM system, and have software with the capability to integrate and manage data in the cloud.
Obtaining nesting software with these 3 key elements is sure to help increase your bottom line, but remember to not get too caught up in the features’ details. At the end of the day, focus on getting accurate and efficient CNC programs that will successfully drive your machines.