A Switch in Time
Switching to ProNest? nesting software has increased Chungyong's productivity.

To efficiently manufacture parts from flat raw material, companies often use nesting software to analyse parts for production. A user-friendly software that requires minimal operator intervention is ideal but for companies, it sometimes takes switching from one brand to another to find a perfect fit. This was the case for Chungyong Ind Co, which replaced its previous nesting programme with Hypertherm?s MTC ProNest? and instantly started enjoying higher productivity and reduced material wastage.

Chungyong is a Korean manufacturer of parts used in shipbuilding. The company has two factories that produce ducts, gas pipes and hatch doors for shipyards like Samsung and Daewoo, who are their major customers.

Lee Seung-Ho, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Chungyong said, ?Of our two production facilities, one focuses on cutting and the other on welding. The nesting software is utilised in the first facility, together with our plasma cutting systems.?

Since 2007, Chungyong had been using a nesting software from Germany. However, Chungyong?s operators were not satisfied with the software programme, as it was not easy to use and did not have auto nesting modules. Although the software came with a Korean user manual, this proved to be of little help because the instructions were difficult to understand.

In late 2010, MTC Korea contacted Chungyong to introduce ProNest?, and highlighted the features of the software, which struck a chord with Chungyong. After a satisfactory three-month trial, Chungyong proceeded to purchase the full version in January 2011.

Lee explained, ?There was little difficulty in adopting ProNest as the programme was straightforward and had many functions that required minimal operator intervention. Troubleshooting was also not a problem. MTC provided
a Korean manual with simplified instructions, and post-purchase support was readily available.?

Because the software was simple to use and very effective, operators saved a lot of time and increased their productivity. It took the engineers just one day to get acquainted with the various features of ProNest, and they only needed to be familiar with one product for all of Chungyong?s cutting systems.

?The previous programme was more difficult to adapt to,? Lee shared. ?Our operators took three days to understand how to use it. With ProNest, the engineers only needed one day, and they were able to pass the information easily to their colleagues. Also, the software is compatible with different types of cutting equipment, so we don?t need to purchase other programmes.?

Once operators were accustomed to ProNest, they benefitted from the many features that increased production efficiency. One such function is the auto nesting module, where the desired cut parts are nested automatically with the simple click of a mouse, thereby minimising waste within a given material. Another feature is the Bridge Cutting capability that links cut profiles together, so there is no need to pierce each new part profile. This led to time savings and consumables lasting longer. With reduced production time, Chungyong increased throughput and turnover.

The company is now also able to maximise the use of its existing material inventory. The software?s Material & Inventory Optimisation function reduces scrap parts by viewing and avoiding material defects. The module also allows parts from different jobs to be nested and cut using the same piece of material, thus improving utilisation and reducing material wastage. Another feature of the software fills voids by nesting parts within parts, thereby maximising the use of materials. These have led to lower material costs, and in turn reduced production costs.

Another benefit derived from switching nesting software is that the nesting process now requires fewer operators. Chungyong uses a computer-aided design (CAD) programme to create irregular shapes. When the files are transferred to ProNest, the software is able to correct errors automatically, if there are any. It can also extract information related to the material, thickness, class and customer from the Bill of Materials (BOM) layer in the CAD file so that operators do not have to key in the information again. The software can also unfold and flatten 3D SolidWorks files and import them for nesting, eliminating the need for manual manipulation. As a result, nesting became less labour intensive, and Chungyong was able to transfer three employees to another department.

?Nesting is easier and faster now, and we have become more productive,? Lee shared. ?We now spend less on materials and production, and are able to optimise our staff strength. On top of that, we have received business from construction companies, expanding our scope to beyond shipbuilding.?

Certain ProNest functions have been useful for projects within the construction industry. The PIPE Parametric Fittings feature automatically generates flat-plate developments for pipe joints and transitions, and allows users to nest pipes of various shapes and with tee branches of different shapes. This is especially useful in the manufacturing of air-conditioning system ducts for buildings.

Lee commented, ?It is every company?s hope that its business will expand with every key equipment procurement decision made, and I am delighted that we have achieved this with the help of ProNest, amongst other factors. We look forward to utilising the many functions of the software when we venture into other industries.?

The company is pleased with the benefits achieved with using ProNest?, and will apply the software for their third factory. ?Our engineers are satisfied with ProNest, so we want to continue using the programme. It is user friendly and easy to use, and we will definitely recommend the software to our OEM suppliers as well,? Lee concludes.

The software?s Material & Inventory Optimisation function reduces scrap parts by viewing and avoiding material defects. The module also allows parts from different jobs to be nested and cut using the same piece of material.