Scrap material is unavoidable when you cut a part. No matter what method you use to cut it, there’s going to be some scrap material left over. However, there are some ways you can significantly minimize that amount of scrap material, and one of the best ways of doing that is through a process called nesting.
Nesting is most simply defined as packing a number of parts into a fixed sheet size—getting as many onto that sheet as possible. The goal is to leave as little leftover material as you can. Some shapes of parts result in less waste than others. For example, if you have a large rectangular sheet and the parts you are cutting are squares, your usage of the material will be nearly 100 percent.
However, in almost every application, parts are not made to these convenient sizes, and it will require a little bit of creativity in your nesting methods to maximize the amount of material you use, thereby minimizing waste.
Here’s a bit of information about nesting that you can employ during water jet cutting in San Francisco, CA.
The array nesting process
Array nesting is a subtype of nesting in which you have a single part and need to cut out multiple copies of that part. This is the simplest version of nesting. Depending on the shape in which that part has been designed, you stand to have the highest material usage rate and therefore the lowest amount of wasted material.
What makes array nesting especially useful for factories is that you don’t need any dedicated nesting software to make it happen. All you need is to copy and paste each part’s design at specified distances apart from the original, repeating vertically and horizontally as needed until you have covered as much of the material as possible. In some cases, you can get a tighter nest by offsetting every other row of parts. This, of course, depends on the shape of the part in question, but it is a commonly used method to maximize material usage.
The automated nesting process
Automated nesting allows you to make many different shapes and sizes of parts and rotate them all individually on a single piece of material while still maximizing the usage of the material. This process is more difficult than array nesting simply because you’re not repeating the same shape and size over and over again.
You will need third-party software to accomplish high-quality automated nesting, because there are some difficult calculations that require a great deal of accuracy. However, the results are fantastic, and that software will pay for itself over time with the amount of material you save. You’ll be able to cut out hundreds of different parts at once from a single sheet, minimizing waste and maximizing your overall production.
For more information about the various methods of nesting and the benefits they provide manufacturers in all types of industries, we encourage you to contact Mach 1 Waterjet, Inc. today and we will be happy to answer your questions about water jet cutting in San Francisco, CA.