• New parts can be added to existing nests with
an easy cut-and-paste of information from one file
to another. The new part numbers don’t have to be
Carroll said the software has added new ease and
efficiency to the task of creating job orders. Now
Hi-Tec personnel can take an MS Excel spreadsheet
that comes from a customer; copy the part numbers
from the spreadsheet and paste them into the software, which calls up the most recent versions of the
part numbers if they are stored in the system; fill in
the appropriate quantities for the jobs; hit the nest
button; and start with the nest generation.
He said that, based on what the company was
seeing in improved material utilization, he believes the shop paid for the software in a matter of
months. Just the ability to combine nests efficiently
and tighter and easily program nesting for remnants
helped to drive down scrap waste from 35 percent
to 12 percent, Carroll added.
According to Geoff Prince, national sales manager, PEP Technology, the new software delivered
material savings that approached $750,000, when
compared to the amount of carbon steel, stainless
steel, and aluminum that was once needed to produce the same amount of parts. But Prince warned
that this was only part of the story.
“A great question that fabricators can ask [soft-ware developers] is, Will your software allow us to
run at the manufacturer’s recommended speed for
all material thicknesses?” Prince said.
More specifically, Prince said this pertains to what
the software does to determine the most efficient
1. The software has a CAD converter tool that fixes
poorly drawn DXF and DWG files to produce an optimal cutting path. As a result, this cutting path does
not have to deal with design flaws such as short line
tangents to form an arc, gaps, overlaps, and orphan
2. The software maximizes laser cutting without
interruptions. For example, as a laser cutting head
comes to a 90-degree angle, the software instructs
it to take a very small radius in that corner so that
the head can keeping moving as the angle is cut, all
while maintaining the specified tolerance. Typically,
the laser cutting head has to come to a stop at the
corner and then speed up again.
3. The software optimizes lead-in assignments for
the laser cutting head so that travel across the nest
is minimized and heat distortion is reduced. The laser cutting head avoids unnecessary torch raising,
which can last for a full second.
Prince puts the annual equipment savings, related to a smaller number of jobs being run to produce
the same number of parts before the software was
implemented, at more than $900,000.
Carroll is sure that the software has allowed them
to keep up with business following a recent business acquisition, which netted them three more lasers in addition to the three that they already had.
Hi-Tec was already running three shifts, seven days
per week, and it was able to incorporate the other
company’s business into its own without too much
difficulty. Carroll said that he brought over one
parts programmer from the newly acquired company, giving him four full-time programmers.
“Out of the recession and into this time, it’s been
crazy,” Carroll said. “We could not put out what we
are doing if we didn’t have this software.”
Buoyed by its success with nesting, Hi-Tec has
ugraded its servers so it can implement the WIP
module of PEP Technology’s software. This will be
the first big step in helping to modernize the creation and flow of work orders.
When fully implemented, the module will take information from the metal fabricator’s orders in the
shop management system and seamlessly create
the subsequent work orders and nests. The company no longer will have to worry about two sets of
data entry: one in the front office and the other in
the programming office. Carroll said that the WIP
module also will give them a real-time look at manufacturing operations, such as available capacity on
machines and material availability.
“This software upgrade will ensure that the customer is happy with us,” he said. “We are a privately
owned company, and our deal is that we service the
customer. Whatever the customer wants, we try to
“When we say that this is the delivery date, that’s
what we need to do,” Carroll continued. “So now we
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Hi-Tec Profiles not only creates new nests quickly
and efficiently with the new software, but also makes
changes to existing nesting jobs without having to
spend additional effort manually inputting part numbers and other job information.
can contact a customer and let them know that we
are ahead of the game or running late, and we can
reschedule the delivery in either case. Or we’d be
able to see if we could find a customer who may not
need his order right away, so that we can take a rush
order. This will allow us to be less reactive and more
Editor-in-Chief Dan Davis can be reached at dand@
Hi-Tec Profiles Inc., 306-721-3800, www.hitecprofiles.com
PEP Technology Inc., 562-682-6507, www.peptechnology.com
“This software upgrade will ensure
that the customer is happy with us.
We are a privately owned company,
and our deal is that we service the
customer. Whatever the customer
wants, we try to do it.”
—Darren Carroll, Hi-Tec Profiles Inc.