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Best Nest – Modern plate processing equipment, nesting software, improves shop efficiency

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Turning a profit as a fabricator means controlling waste. This is especially true on burn tables and plate processing equipment, where efficient part nesting can make the difference between a winner job and one you’d just as soon forget. Whether your plate remnants look like fine spider webs or chunky blocks of Swiss cheese depends on good nesting technology and no small amount of expertise at the keyboard.

Nesting software works by taking pre-defined part shapes and fitting them onto a steel sheet in the most efficient manner possible. Imagine you’re designing a super-rugged steel toy box for your kid’s playroom. You’d draw out the ends, the back, front, top and bottom, import them into the nesting software and click the process icon. The chances for a well-nested sheet in this case are high—all the parts are similar in size, and have simple geometries.

Add some internal supports to that toy box, however—a few corner braces, support girders and a reinforced back plate—then nest again. If your software’s not up to snuff, that once neat jigsaw of parts is now a construct of inefficient leftovers and stranded islands of material. Build a toy box the size of a cargo container and you might end up wasting some serious cash on material remnants.

Good nesting is important, but making a buck at steel fabrication also requires top-notch plate processing equipment. Automated handling and efficient cutting processes are two ways to improve the bottom line on this important manufacturing step.
These are some of the reasons why Ocean Steel & Construction Ltd.,
Saint John, NB, recently expanded its cutting capabilities with the purchase of an HSFDB 2500 CNC plate processing machine Peddinghaus Corp., Bradley, IL.

The HSFDB handles plate stock to 76 mm (3 in.) thick, in sizes 2400 mm (96 in.) wide x 6000 mm (240 in.) long. Ocean Steel’s inventory control supervisor Deb Flewelling said the machine is fully automated, and cuts with either plasma or oxy-fuel. When the HSFDB isn’t burning, its 48-hp milling spindle equipped with an eight-tool changer can drill, scribe, countersink, mill or tap.

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