The software AutoPanelSizer identifies optimized cutting layouts for the production of rectangular parts from rectangular stock material and minimizes the waste. It only generates layouts that can be produced with so-called guillotine cuts. These are cuts that dissect the sheet – or later the remainder of the sheet – by a cut at right-angles to the workpiece and thus separate it into two rectangles (see examples part 1). Thereby, the software models a common technology for cutting rectangular parts, applied in particular for the machining of wood but also in the glass, metal, and plastics manufacturing industries.
In industrial manufacturing, typically interlinked saws are used. For example, a first saw cuts the sheet into stripes, while a second saw then cuts these stripes into parts with cuts that are perpendicular to the cutting direction of the first saw. Each saw in the combined system forms a so-called stage. Such a design of sawing facilities leads to additional restrictions for the cutting layout, because there are only as many stages possible as saws available. AutoPanelSizer takes into account restrictions on the number of stages.
Furthermore, AutoPanelSizer can compute layouts with trim cuts after the last stage and head cuts in the first stage (see examples part 2, 2 and 3, respectively). The software also incorporates miscellaneous constraints such as that are given by the machine or material properties. The available rest pieces can be included in the optimization as can different sizes of stock material sheets. In addition, the software can account for manufacturing costs for expensive processes, such as head cuts, or the storage of rest pieces after cutting on the basis of adjustable parameters.
Anticipatory production by differentiation of required and optional demand
IIn AutoPanelSizer, parts can be declared as required (compulsory) or optional. The first have to be placed on the cutting layouts, the last are only placed if they fit well and improve the yield. For example, parts that are needed the next day can be declared as required, while parts that are needed later can be declared as optional. By this anticipatory production the efficiency of the cutting layouts can be improved and thus the overall usage of material is reduced further.