Maximize Efficiency in MEP Fabrication with Nested Cut Lists
May 22, 2024
Written by PypeServer

Maximizing Efficiency in MEP Fabrication: The Power of Nesting

In Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing (MEP) fabrication, efficiency is paramount. One of the most effective strategies to reduce labor hours and material waste is nesting. Nesting involves organizing and optimizing the layout of various parts to be cut from raw materials, such as sheet metal, piping, or other fabrication materials. This approach aims to minimize waste, maximize efficiency, and ensure accuracy in the cutting process. Whether you are working with copper, PVC, cast iron, all-thread, channel, pipe, or even lumber, PypeServer offers a purpose-built solution that lets you use advanced nested algorithms to increase productivity and profitability.

Why Advanced Nesting is Crucial in MEP Fabrication

People have been nesting parts by hand for years. Typically, the longest part in a cut list is cut first and then the machine operator will search the list for the next longest part that’ll fit on the remaining stock. This process is repeated until the piece of stock is used up and then repeated for each new piece of stock until the cut list is completed. This manual procedure works reasonably well but it gets cumbersome with larger cut lists and it’s very challenging to do with bundled stock.

With the supply chain issues and a steady increase in material pricing that MEP contractors have experienced over the last few years, it’s essential to optimize the use of stock material as much as possible. With computerized nesting algorithms and automatic label printing, larger cut lists that contain a more diverse mix of part lengths can be processed, leading to material savings of at least 5% versus manual nesting. However, the benefits of advanced nesting extend beyond material savings to include increased fabrication speed and accuracy, enabling fabrication shops to construct assemblies more efficiently.

Benefits of Advanced Nesting

  1. More Parts per Stick: Computerized nesting gets more parts from each piece of stock and reduces scrap, thereby saving costs and reducing waste.
  2. Easier Re-Use of Drops: Leftover stock of usable length can be labeled and more easily used for subsequent cutting jobs, saving even more material.
  3. Bundled Nesting: Bundled nesting allows the cutting multiple parts of at the same time from a bundle of stock, such as for hanger fabrication, and saves a tremendous amount of time.
  4. Speed: Computerized nesting algorithms run almost instantly, reducing the burden on machine operators and speeding up the fabrication process.
  5. Accuracy: By eliminating paper cut lists, the opportunity for cut length errors and double cutting are reduced. This saves labor, materials, and ensures a smoother assembly process downstream.

How PypeServer Enhances Nesting and Bundling Cuts

PypeServer makes nesting and bundling cuts easier by generating cut lists directly from your BIM or CAD models. These cut lists are then sent to machines on the shop floor via PypeServer Cloud, where PypeServer Enterprise or Lyte perform the nesting and run the machines.

Bundled Nesting: One Cut, Multiple Parts

If you have numerous parts of the same length to cut, such as hanger rods, PypeServer Lyte’s bundled nesting feature can save you considerable time and material waste. By bundling stock, multiple parts of the same length can be produced with a single cut.

Lyte can bundle stock in two ways:

  1. Manual Bundling: You specify how many sticks of stock can be bundled at a time, and the program generates a nesting plan accordingly. For instance, if your machine can handle four sticks at once, Lyte will nest parts in multiples of four, as well as three and two. Once all groups of four are cut, Lyte will prompt the operator to remove one or more sticks to cut the remaining multiples before proceeding with individual part cuts.
  2. Automatic Bundling Optimizer: With a click of a button, Lyte analyzes your entire cut list and determines the optimal bundling to minimize material waste. The operator is then informed of how many sticks to load at each stage of the cutting job.
Easily Label Drops for Later Use

PypeServer minimizes wasted material by leaving the shortest possible end cutoffs. However, if your cut job doesn’t use up an entire stick, you might have a sizable drop left over. To ensure these drops are not wasted, PypeServer can automatically generate a label for any drop longer than a threshold you set. This label includes all necessary information to efficiently store, identify, and reuse the drops later.

Defect Handling

All building materials can have defects, either from the manufacturing process or damage during transit. PypeServer Lyte allows machine operators to specify where defects occur and their size. The software then automatically nests parts around the defects to minimize waste. For example, if a 12-foot stick of copper pipe has a 1-inch defect at the 24-inch mark, the software could nest a 23-inch and 120-inch part from the cut list, working around the defect.

Saving Time and Reducing Material Waste to Increase the Bottom Line

PypeServer Enterprise is our software for pipe profilers and employs a nesting algorithm that can fit miters and saddles together tightly, rotates parts to stagger the lead-in and lead-out cuts, and nest parts right up to the machine’s chuck or ground to effectively eliminate the machine’s cutting “dead zone”.

PypeServer Lyte brings advanced nesting machine automation to smaller tools such as TigerStop, RazorGage, Scotchman, Kentucky Gauge, and manual tools at an affordable price. It features bundled nesting and other advanced features for linear cutting tasks.

In conclusion, nesting is a critical strategy in MEP fabrication that optimizes material use, enhances accuracy, and speeds up the production process. With tools like PypeServer’s suite of fabrication workflow software, fabricators can achieve significant cost savings and improve their overall operational efficiency.

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