Optimally Nest Components for Manufacturing

Article by Sawyer Gara updated April 27, 2023


One of the biggest challenges many machine shops face is increasing efficiency of cutting programs and reducing the amount of scrap generated from those same cutting programs. Finding a way to reduce the amount of scrap has a direct impact on the costs coming from the machine shop and can make the cutting programs more profitable.

One of the ways to reduce scrap is to nest components to get the most out of a sheet of material. Typically, this process is done manually and is very time-consuming. Starting with the 2023 update to the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform we now have built-in nesting capabilities that integrate directly with our CNC Programming tools. What’s even better? Every DELMIA CAM role includes these nesting capabilities at no extra cost!

Selecting Parts

The first option I get prompted with when creating a new nest manufacturing program is to select the individual parts for the nest. This can be done on individual components open in the window, but I can also pick an entire assembly. Selecting the top-level assembly has a couple of benefits:

  1. I don’t need to select individual components
  2. It keeps track of the quantity for each component
  3. Shows better design intent.
Creating a new nest is to select the individual parts for the nest

Creating a new nest is to select the individual parts for the nest

The components get put into a list and will give information about each part. If the thicknesses were different across component, that information would be shown here as well as the bounding box area for each piece. For pieces being cut out of grained material, we have options to specify grain direction to ensure the parts are nested how we would manually.

Stock Information

The next tab available is all about our stock. This tab is going to show all the different material thicknesses needed based on the parts being nested. If we had parts with thicknesses of ½ inch, ¾ inch, and a full inch the nesting software will sort the correct components on the correctly sized sheet. Additionally, we can specify the size length and width of the sheet being used. If we normally cut our parts from a 4ft x 8ft sheet of material, we would specify that here to ensure we fit the correct number of components on the sheet.

Different material thicknesses needed based on the parts being nested

Different material thicknesses needed based on the parts being nested

Additional Options

The last page lets us dive deeper into the optimization side of our nest. There are two options for the type of nesting done: Real Contour and Bounding Box. Bounding box does what the name implies and nests by way of a rectangular bounding box around the parts. The Real Contour option uses the outline of the parts to optimally nest together. Regardless of the option chosen, the next options determine how the components will be rotated around in order to get the most optimal nest and sets the spacing between the nested parts.

Nesting Location - nest components for manufacturing

Nesting Location

With all the options set the nest can be calculated. If the set quantity of components spill over the size of the sheet then multiple nested sheets will be calculated. At this point the different nested sheets can be cycled through. If something doesn’t look quite right, it’s not a problem! The current nest can be cancelled and then regenerated with a new batch of settings. Regardless, these new nested sheets can be used downstream in our manufacturing applications!

Calculate nest

Calculate nest

With any tool being implemented the goal is to always increase process efficiency and reduce costs of a process. One of the easiest ways to do that is to automate and optimize existing processes. If you currently struggle with optimally nesting manufacturing components and are looking for a way to reduce scrap on the shop floor, please contact us today!

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Sawyer Gara

Sawyer is a SOLIDWORKS certified Elite Application Engineer working out of Bedminster, New Jersey. He received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from New Jersey Institute of Technology and has almost a decade of experience in the SOLIDWORKS and 3DEXPERIENCE Design Ecosystem.