I'm a long-time SolidWorks user, but new to SolidWorks CAM Professional. We are using SW CAM to generate 2.5 Axis code on our routers - nothing special or complex here! As a company, we've decided to add all machining operations to every part file. We cut replacement parts on an as-needed basis and believe capturing the CAM data in every part to be helpful. The ability to Import Part Data in an assembly was a selling point (having moved from SmartCAM where we dealt only in 2D), so we've implemented NestingWorks to generate sheet layouts/assemblies. Here's where things seem to go sideways.
Once a nested assembly has been generated in NestingWorks (a program which still needs some work...), I "Import Part Data," bringing in each part's machining information/setup/operations/etc. The order of operations is fairly critical when dealing with large/small parts all nested together on a sheet of MDF, for instance. Vacuum tables only have so much holding force available and we generally cut all holes, pockets, engraving, etc. and then make our way to part profiles, cutting small parts first (Perimeter Boss features). I've played with the Feature orders by sorting/drag-dropping in the CAM Feature Manager and then again in the CAM Operations Manager. I believe the Operations Manager ought to control the overall scheme and how the toolpath is generated (tool selection & order of operations). Dragging/dropping operations is hit and miss at best. Layer in multiple instances of a few parts and I don't have a chance of achieving something worthwhile.
Any thoughts or suggestions? My VAR has been very helpful, but their assembly machining background hadn't taken the same approach we have. They prefer programming in the assembly. Is there a "Best of Both Worlds" scenario somewhere here? I should also mention, we are currently running SolidWorks 2019 (that's another topic...).