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by Mary Scianna

Standardizing nesting for multiple cutting processes leads to big savings

When Metal Bernard, Saint-Lambert de Lauzon, QC, adopted Lean principles for its fabricating operation, owners Louis Veilleux and Mario Ferland examined every aspect of the business, right down to the nesting software for its sheet metal cutting operations.

The two owners were keen to get on the right track to become more competitive in the fiercely competitive job shop business.

“When we purchased Metal Bernard eight years ago, the family-run business had already been using SigmaTEK software,” explains Veilleux. “It was an older version, but we thought it was good and when we purchased another fabricating facility, Normadin, two years ago, we wanted to have the same nesting software for both facilities,” and for the different equipment in each facility–laser cutting, punching, oxyfuel, plasma and waterjet cutting processes.

Metal Bernard and Normadin are the two sheet metal businesses in a group of companies that operate under the Mundial Group, an industrial manufacturing outsourcing business, of which Veilleux is CEO and Ferland is president. The other companies in the group include BCI, a rubber/silicone/polystyrene moulding company; CDMB, a machining and welding facility; and UCB, a machining and mouldmaking shop.

Metal Bernard’s fabrication shop includes laser cutting (four machines from Bystronic and three from TRUMPF), punching (TRUMPF), as well as bending (Amada, Bystronic, Cincinnati, TRUMPF and Warcom Futura), and rolling (Davi and Akyapak). 

The Normadin fabricating shop houses five TRUMPF laser cutting machines and one Bystronic machine, a Messer-Brand HD plasma cutter, waterjet and oxyfuel cutting, bending (TRUMPF) and welding equipment.

“The OEMs make good nesting software, but we wanted the freedom to choose any company of fabricating machinery so it made sense for us to go with software that could be used on all of our machines now and those we buy in the future,” explains Veilleux.

Metal Bernard wanted to standardize nesting for its laser and punching machines “between the two companies so one programmer from one plant could help in the second plant; so standardization of nesting software was important for us. Standardization is also a lean principle, which is something we have adopted.”

Metal Bernard and sister company Normadin use SigmaTEK’s SigmaNEST Version 9.1. One feature Veilleux likes is how it works seamlessly with its ERP system and how well it fits into Lean practices.

“We purchased the inventory module, which is great. Because of our Lean practices [the company doesn’t keep anything on the shop floor longer than two weeks] we need to know the status of our inventory at any time of the day. Remnants are part of our inventory and the SigmaTEK software enables us to be on top of traceability and prioritize remnants.”

Veilleux estimates the shop has cut waste by 50 per cent, “because we’re reusing remnants to make parts. At the end of each month we audit our inventory and we have 100 per cent score in our audit on traceability of our materials. Using SigmaTEK software helped us achieve that.”

James Lindsey, product manager for SigmaTEK Systems LLC, Cincinnati, OH, says a nesting program is the best way to track remnants and catalogue material because "you can store true scrap geometry and reuse it in future programs. “Single source software can relate remnants from a nesting program into a shop's inventory control program. This helps create a more lean environment.” SMT

Metal Bernard

SigmaTEK Systems

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