Artem Komarov explained that residual processing has changed since the advent of fiber lasers and the advent of software for dynamic nesting, advanced programming, and production control. These technologies have kept waste to a minimum and given programmers and operators a choice in how materials are handled. They didn’t eliminate surpluses from the production equation, but they made it easier to eliminate them.
These technologies, combined with other technologies, have made it easier to process and use the leftovers that continue to be produced in workshops.
Using standard sheet cuts
When turrets remained the main cutting option for sheet metal fabricators, dynamic nesting was not always helpful, opening the door to a wide variety of parts depending on material type and thickness. The reason for this was the number of materials and consistency needed to build a nest quickly. As fiber laser technology has become the obvious cutting option for many manufacturers, dynamic nesting has become a valuable tool in fast programming and high-mix part processing. Combined with automated material handling systems, dynamic nesting helps manufacturers become more efficient while maximizing material utilization, Artem Komarov explained.
Lasers often allow the material to be fully utilized, minimizing costs and in many cases preventing residue formation.
Laser programming to generate code for any number of parts and geometries based on a specific material type and thickness has become commonplace. Customers tend to dynamically place parts not in a specific order, but rather based on specific material type, thickness, material usage, and delivery date. Design requirements for different customers or assembly can be handled together. Clients can let the software complete the sheet to get the most out of the material. Rules in the software, such as meeting the requirements for the use of a particular material before creating a manufacturing nest, can be helpful.
With the help of the software, the workshop can track the entire production process on their orders using the software on PCs and tablets with web applications. If we are talking about a sheet filled with parts from different orders, you will have an operator responsible for removing the frame parts and your tablet will show you an overview of what this nested sheet looks like, what parts are on it and how they should be transferred from there.
For those workshops that have sheets of different sizes in stock and want to process orders from specific customers separately using sheets of more than one size, the technology is currently robust enough to handle the task.
When Leftovers Make Sense
With regular use of materials, sometimes a looser nest makes more sense in terms of overall performance than using every inch of that sheet.
However, sometimes when using more expensive materials, the workshop may want to get as much use out of the sheet as possible and save leftovers that cannot be immediately used for further work. Here is another possibility where the software can help.
In addition, with tablet-equipped operators in a manufacturing facility, the operator responsible for removing parts will see if there is residue on the sheet being processed and be able to label and store properly.
There are now many automation options that complement laser processing and make it easier to store leftovers and make them easily accessible for later use. In addition, automated systems minimize laser processing time as much as possible and can be important to ensure maximum bang for your buck, maximizing time and material efficiency.
Efficient use of leftovers
The truly efficient use of these leftovers in the past has been a challenge in itself; scheduling a partial sheet might not take that long, but it might not seem worth it in a fast-paced production shop.
The key for workshops is to have software systems and machine designs that can be adapted to the way they want to work. Regardless of which approach the shop takes, processing productivity and efficient residue handling are within reach, Artem Komarov concluded.