Project nesting speeds up laser cutting
Radan's nesting software has increased UK subcontractor's speed, efficiency, and control working with sheet metal fabrication.
Suffolk, UK - Hemings Engineering has been using Radan’s project nesting software to increase its efficiency and control in manufacturing parts for industry sectors such as commercial, automotive, and medical. A family-run business formed in 1998, Hemings specializes in precision sheet metal and fabrication work.
"I’d been waiting for something like this for years," says Andrew Hemings, managing director of Hemings Engineering, that started using the powerful project nester as soon as it was released. "It’s unbelievably fast and efficient. I can nest three days of work for the laser in an hour."
The company no longer has to run existing nests on its punch press. Previously, the LVD turret punch used to run saved nests, purely for speed, even if they were not totally efficient for the particular job, as company workers had to manually log every part while creating new nests, which Hemings says was time consuming.
"Project nesting means we’re not producing extra parts that aren’t needed. It’s more efficient and cost effective to create new nests every time now rather than use old ones," says Hemings.
He says project nesting has many advantages. "I simply pick a part, nest it and fill the sheet, and if I’ve got parts left over, I put them in another nest and fill the rest of the sheet with different parts." The same thing works in reverse, for example, the ongoing production of 6 mm steel brackets for a medical contract. "We can often slip a number of those on to other nests, so it’s helping us become more efficient and increase profits.
"Previously, we used to nest just one product or one kit of parts on a sheet and all for the same customer. We hardly used to mix and match at all. Now we might have five sheets comprising different nests of different parts for different customers."
That is a huge benefit as the company can be manufacturing parts for customers across a range of industrial sectors at any one time, including medical, commercial vehicles, leisure, electronics and agricultural.
Medical contracts include frameworks for adjustable treatment couches, cabinets and bins, along with parts for MRI scanners produced on their Amada Alpha laser. Components for commercial vehicles range from a single angle bracket to a complete set of brackets and framework for bolting adjustable aerodynamic mouldings to lorry cabs. The company also manufactures components for a range of golf machinery, and produces control cabinets and guards for the electronics industry.
"We’re getting a lot more work now, and Radan helps us do it without having to put in extra hours. The business couldn’t operate without it. We simply couldn’t program online at the machines for the sort of components we make. And because we’re a small company I’m often on the shop floor, so if I had to be in the office nesting slowly, I’d have to employ a full time designer/draughtsman/nester."
Hemings says project nesting puts him totally in control over every aspect of the operation. With most jobs needing to be turned around in three days, he’ll take customers' orders once or twice a week and put them into a project. Small batches are laser cut, and generally they only punch higher volumes and all aluminium components.
Hemings recommends project nesting especially for those companies that do "something different every day" because "it really increases efficiency, improves material utilization, and, at the end of the day, increases profits."
Part of the Vero Software Group, Radan is a leading provider of PC-based CAD/CAM solutions for the sheet metal industries. It offers a combination of applications for profiling, punching and bending, along with design and production management capabilities.