Original Date: 09/15/2003
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Optimation Nesting Process
For small- or medium-sized companies to modernize, existing capital equipment must often be upgraded rather than replaced. United Defense, L.P. Ground Systems Division Aiken upgraded its cutting and punching operations by engineering modern efficiencies into existing machines with the implementation of its Optimation Nesting Process.
Streamlining the movement of fabrication from the drawing to the actual part has been a goal of United Defense, L.P. Ground Systems Division (UDLP GSD) Aiken. Previously, programming numerical control (NC) machines for repetitive cutting and stamping operations required tedious steps. G code had to be created detailing x and y-axis positioning, and after they were created, the procedure for input required NC tape production and storage of paper copies in shop books. In many cases, the set-up for a run could take many hours to configure, and complex geometry was not always feasible. Upgrading to a costly “turn key” solution could not be supported due to the business plan cost structure. UDLP GSD Aiken chose to upgrade its existing machines with Optimation Nesting Software.
Interfacing the Optimation Nesting Software to cutting and punching machines made a significant impact on productivity and efficiency. Operations have been reduced by 50%, with an 80% set-up time reduction. Optimation software personnel supported the interface to UDLP GSD Aiken’s Alabama 3000 Watt Laser and the Whitney Punch/Plasma machine, accomplishing the goal of streamlining. The Whitney Punch/Plasma machine was once an Optimation-capable machine. Reconverting the interface to Optimation generated the idea that similar efficiencies could be realized if the Alabama Laser machine was also converted. Although the Whitney machine proved to be a straightforward conversion, the configuration of the Alabama laser machine required a six-week trial-and-error period to attain satisfaction with the output. The experience gained through the Whitney Punch/Plasma machine’s transition facilitated the process. Key to the success of the Optimation Nesting Process was the teaming, where vendors were available 24 hours a day and project engineers were assigned for direct support including travel to the site.
UDLP GSD Aiken realized many efficiencies by implementing the Optimation Nesting Process including: Run files are workstation-created via CAD files or MasterCam import
Parts library or nest files are supported
Run files are directly downloaded from the network simplifying reuse of recurring nests
Remnants are automatically recorded and catalogued for future needs
Numerical file call-up errors are low
Entire week of nested runs can be programmed in10 to12 hours per week
Tolerance errors are limited to and identified at the workstation
One-day turnaround on prototypes and special orders
Up to five programs can be queued at a time eliminating programming stoppage
99% accuracies on the first part run; 80% reduction in set-up time
Operator process simplification
Low software/interface downtime
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