Manufacturing Glossary of Terms

Glossary of terms covering CAD, CAM, Nesting and general manufacturing.





A part of a curve. Often a part of the circumference of a circle.



Bump Nesting

Also referred to as 'drag and drop' nesting. The process of dragging components from a predetermined list onto the sheet using the mouse. This method is useful when automatic nesting has been used and there is space remaining. Alternatively, 'filler parts' can be specified during nesting to automatically use any remaining space with frequently manufactured components.


Big Data

Extremely large data sets which can be analysed to reveal patterns and trends. For example, JETCAM's CrossTrack system relies on MS SQL Server database structure. A user could review years worth of nests, spanning different machine types to identify patterns of material efficiency, machine performance, etc.


Back to back nesting

See Progressive Nesting.




Computer Aided Design.



Computer Aided Manufacturing.



Computer Numeric Control. Refers to the computer integrated into a machine such as punch or laser to receive and process instructions.


Common Cutting

The process of separating two components on a nest with a single cut, rather than leaving a 'skeleton' of material between the two. Common cutting it not only faster to perform, but as the distance between parts is only the width of the tool in use it also saves material.


Common Punching

The process of common cutting on a CNC Punch press, whereby a single line of tool hits is used to separate parts on the sheet rather than leaving a skeleton between the two.


Construction Line

Signified by a dark blue line. A construction line is a line used when drawing a component in JETCAM Expert to assist with creating Final Lines e.g. the final geometry shape of the component. For example, you may create two or more construction lines in order to position an arc or place a point at their intersection.


Curve Blending

Curve blending allows you to 'fix' gaps or simplify geometry within specified tolerances. This can significantly reduce the complexity of the component's geometry, which can also reduce the generated NC code - useful for older machines with low memory.




Direct Numerical Control. The process of transferring NC code from a PC to a CNC via RS232 serial communications.



Drawing eXchange Format. A file extension for a graphic image format typically used with products such as AutoCAD.



Short for 'Drawing'. A proprietary binary file format, native to several CAD packages including DraftSight, AutoCAD, IntelliCAD, Caddie and Open Design Alliance compliant applications.


DXF Nest

A single file in DXF format that contains a number of geometrical shapes. Sometimes subcontractors will receive a DXF nest of required parts, which then need to be run through a DXF splitter.




Electronic Data Interchange. The process of electronically transferring business information between companies using a standardised format.



Enterprise Resource Planning. Includes all of the functionality of MRP plus two of five additional disciplines, covering areas such as data warehousing, accounts, CRM and HR.



Filler Part

A part that is designated to be added to a nest if there is space remaining in order to use up space that might otherwise go to waste.



Free Form Automatic Nesting, also referred to as True Shape Nesting.


Fly Cutting

The process of optimising the cutting path when cutting areas such as grids of holes, usually with a CNC laser. Instead of cutting each individual hole (which requires the axis to stop when changing direction) the machine will cut a single line and then return in the opposite direction to cut the line below, continuing until all horizontal cuts have been completed in the array. It will then continue to make the vertical cuts. A radius will often be placed on each turn, meaning that the machine does not have to stop in one axis to start movement in the other. This can drastically reduce the cutting time of parts with large grids of holes. Also referred to as Grid Cutting. JETCAM's implementation is referred to as JET-Cut, and is applied fully automatically.



See HPN.


Final Line

Signified by a light blue line. The final geometry shape of the component. See also: Construction Line.




Common name for NC Code.



The measure of thickness of a given material - usually referring to metal. There are standard gauges, such as the United States Standard Gauge (USS) and Galvanized Sheet Gauge (GSG).




High Performance Nesting. Can relate to JETCAM's HP-RAN (High Performance Rectangular Automatic Nesting), which is included with the standard rectangular nesting module, or FFHPN (Free Form High Performance Nesting), available as a separate option. The algorithm for both HP-RAN and FFHPN is time-based, constantly trying different patterns for the best material yield.


Hybrid Progressive Nesting

Kits are sent for nesting one at a time, but a user-defined variable is set to allow smaller plies of later nested kits to be nested up to a pre-determined distance away from the rest of the plies. A hybrid progressive nest may not be as efficient as a standard progressive nest, but the difference in efficiency is likely to be small and it will be easier to unload and kit a hybrid progressive nest, as all plies of a give kit can be grouped closer together.




Initial Graphics Exchange Specification. Vendor-neutral CAD file format.


Industry 4.0

The 'fourth industrial revolution'. Also relates to 'the Internet of Things' (IoT). Refers to a network of physical devices (such as CNC machines) that can connect and exchange data over the internet. An example is JETCAM's Line Commander, which can take information from CNC lasers such as the machine's current status and automatically report this back to staff, or to control other machinery to work in tandem (such as loading/unloading material).



Internet of Things. See Industry 4.0.



Industrial Internet of Things. A part of the Internet of Things concept, but focused on the acquisition, accessibility and analysis of large amounts of data generated through the manufacturing process. For example, predictive maintenance can reduce down-time, and connecting people and processes can further streamline the factory floor while also providing management with trends that allow them to make informed decisions. JETCAM products such as CrossTrack and Line Commander achieve this by logging and collating information from both staff and machines. Also referred to as Industry 4.0.



Lean Manufacturing

A systematic method for minimising waste within manufacturing without the sacrificing of productivity. This also refers to waste that might be caused due to fluctuations on customer demand.



Used with profiling machines such as CNC lasers. The process of starting a cut away from the component's geometry in order to ensure quality.




Materials Requirement Planning. In relation to JETCAM Expert, this refers to lists of orders of components to be cut and lists of materials in stock. JETCAM Expert's Nesting Interface stores these items in a database, or can be fed externally from an existing MRP system.



Materials and Orders Databases.



The process of leaving a part connected to the sheet with a small piece of metal e.g. not completely cutting the part loose. This is useful for when a part cannot be unloaded, either through a part chute or through an unloading device.




A collection of geometry shapes laid out on a sheet or roll in the most efficient pattern, so as to minimise material waste.



Numerical Control. The code generated by a CADCAM system such as JETCAM Expert would be NC code, used to program a CNC cutting machine.




A shape consisting of two semicircles connected by parallel lines tangent to their endpoints.



Parametric programming

The ability to create component files automatically using pre-determined 'parametric programs' based on variables, rather than manually designing a component. A good example would be a door or window manufacturer, where components are generally the same, but certain entities, such as holes, always appear in specific locations. More information on parametric programming of sheet metal components.



Product Lifecycle Management. The process of managing the entire lifecycle of a product from inception, engineering design through to manufacturing, service and finally disposal of manufactured products.



Product Data management. Often linked to PLM (Product Lifecycle Management). Related to the management and publication of product data. Also referred to as version control.



Often referred to as cutting machines. Examples include lasers, waterjets or knife cutter that cut using a single point of contact with the material.



Plural: Plies. Refers to a single layer of material used in the manufacture of composite components. In sheet metal terminology this would be considered a 'part', but in composite manufacturing the part is the finished component, made up of numerous plies.



Used to modify generic NC code to work for a specific machine. JETCAM has different postprocessors for the many CNC punch, laser, plasma, oxyfuel, waterjet and knife cutting machines that it can drive.


Progressive Nesting

Used to describe building a nest 'progressively', with items grouped together. For example, you might nest one assembly of components/plies first, and then nest the next one immediately afterwards. An alternative would be grouping of orders. There will be a reduction in material efficiency, but the benefit is that unloading the cutting table will be faster (by hand) as relevant items will be grouped together. Also referred to as 'back to back' nesting.



Punching multiple holes, round or otherwise, often arranged in a layout pattern such as a grid.



Term given to the 'instruction manual', often paper-based, used to instruct operators the operations required to lay up a composite component into a form tool.




Remote Control Programming. A scripting language that allows JETCAM Expert to be used by external applications to perform tasks such as CAD import or nesting.



Rectangular Automatic Nesting.



Right Angle Shear.



The remaining part of a sheet or roll of material after a nest has been cut. JETCAM can be configured to place remnants greater than a predetermined size back into its materials database as usable stock. It can also specify that remnants should be used first, wherever possible.




Single Component Automatic Processing. The ability to either automatically import CAD files, creating component files that are tooled for one or more machines, or to automatically create a nest of a single component.



The area of material remaining after a nest has been cut on a machine.



Structured Query Language. Standard computer language for relational database management and data manipulation. Microsoft SQL Server is one such product that uses this.



A continuous curve constructed to pass through a set of points and have a certain number of continuous derivatives.



Single Component Automatic Nesting. The process of taking a CAD file (such as DXF), importing it, applying cutting information (such as tooling or profiling) and then nesting as many as possible on a single sheet. This feature is available in JETCAM Expert 1, Expert Premium and Premium Connected Automation.



Tool Teach

The ability for a CAM system to be 'taught' how to automatically place punch tooling on an area of geometry, which can then be automatically applied on other similar components in the future.




Extensible Markup Language defines a set of rules for creating documents in a format that is both human and machine-readable.

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