The choice of using cutting optimization software or nesting software will depend on your material, your cutting facilities and the manufacturing process that you are using.
Glass, Textiles and Steel Sheets Optimization
For instance, if you are cutting glass, this material requires that you cut in straight lines that completely cross any given part, so the material itself imposes the use of 2D cutting software.
On the other hand, if you are cutting textiles on a laser cutter, the laser will be able to move in all directions, start and stop a cut in the middle of the material and therefore a nesting application would be more appropriate for cutting textiles.
The same would be true if you are cutting steel sheets on a CNC plasma cutter.
Some materials can be cut both ways, this is true for manufacturing products out of wooden sheet materials.
In the case of building cabinets and furniture out of manufactured sheet material, the choice of using 2D cutting software or nesting software will depend on your manufacturing method.
Globally for the manufacturing of cabinets and furniture, there are two manufacturing methods:
- Cutting to machining (using cutting optimization software)
- Cutting and machining (using nesting software)
Cutting to machining (OptiCut)
If for example your manufacturing method is organised around dowel or cam assembly, it will be necessary to drill into the edges of your parts. In this case, each individual part will need to be machined separately and cut beforehand. Therefore, cutting optimizer software would be far more adapted to your manufacturing method than a nesting program.
The cutting to machining approach is well adapted to businesses that:
- Use expensive raw materials, where the reuse of offcuts is important
- Focus on projects that are more ‘unique’ and require specific details
- Have a CNC router equipped with vacuum pods (for machining each panel following cutting)
The advantages of a cutting to machining approach will be:
- Better management of offcuts
- Greater versatility in the choice of assembly and joint details
- Greater versatility in the possibility of edge shaping with angles etc
- The possibility of edge banding before drilling
- The possibility of creating detailing on parts that would be impossible with nesting
The disadvantage of cutting to machining is the extra time necessary to cut the material, manipulate and organise the separate parts.
Note that OptiCut will reduce enormously this time and also manage and optimize stock and offcuts.
Cutting and machining (OptiNest)
But if your priority is fast turnaround for standardised production, it can often be more profitable to use a nesting based manufacturing method. In this case, it is possible to put the sheet material directly on a CNC router with a vacuum table and cut the parts and machine assembly details without moving the original sheet. This method minimises the labour and time required for the manipulation of individual parts.
However, it becomes impossible to drill into the edges of the parts and the assembly details of the cabinets must be adjusted in consequence.
Other disadvantages of the nesting based manufacturing process are the greater difficulty of managing and reusing offcuts and the impossibility of edge banding panels before drilling.
This makes a nested approach interesting when priority is given to time and labour cost. This would be the case in the industrial production of standard cabinets with materials that are low cost and the time required for stock and off cut management outweighs the economy of saved materials.
So you can see that the choice of using cutting optimizing software like OptiCut or nesting software like OptiNest will depend on a number of factors that are specific to your business.
In certain cases, to fully optimize a manufacturing process it may even be necessary to use both OptiCut and OptiNest, according to the type of product you are manufacturing for specific projects.
If you need more information on how to choose the manufacturing process most adapted to your business, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Certainly though, if you need cutting optimization software, OptiCut will perform exceptionally for both 2D sheet optimization, and 1D bar and profiles optimization. Click here for more details or download our demo software.
Alternatively, click here for more details on OptiNest.