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AutoPanelSizer

AutoPanelSizer provides an answer to the question of how to place rectangular parts on rectangular plates as efficiently as possible.

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.

Benefits:

  • Waste prevention
  • Reduction of production costs
  • Reduction of production time
  • Anticipatory planning
  • Regulation of residual stocks
  • Numerous customization options

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.

Impact on production

By combining identical cutting plans into packages, they can be cut simultaneously thereby reducing production time. AutoPanelSizer offers various possibilities to control the generation of such packages. In addition, the software can account for production costs by weighing expensive processes, such as head cuts or the storage of remainders, against more efficient material use based on adjustable parameters. Furthermore, each part to be produced may be assigned to a parts group. This allows for destacking restrictions as well as requests regarding a production sequence to be taken into account. In connection with parts groups, the optimization can also be carried out across different material types.

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.

Guillotine sections

This layout can be cut with guillotine cuts.
This layout can be cut with guillotine cuts, too.
This layout cannot be cut with guillotine cuts.

Methods

  • Machine
    • Generation of guillotine cutting layouts
    • Limitation on the number of stages
    • Minimum and maximum lengths of cuts and saw feeds 
      • for stripes, parts, identical stripes and end sections
      • for mapping restrictions caused by machine widths, transport devices, suction cups, grippers, pressure beams, etc.
    • Setting the shift direction
    • Consideration of the saw blade thickness (kerf)
    • Trimming at the sheet edges 
      • individually adjustable for each side
      • Trims for head cuts
  • Material
    • Length and width
    • Individual availability
    • Marking as remainders
    • Consideration of grain
    • Optimization considering multiple materials
  • Parts
    • Required and optional demand
    • Consideration of grain
    • Parts groups
      • for specifying a production sequence
      • to model destacking restrictions
  • Remainders
    • Minimum and maximum size
    • Weighing up against yield and optional parts
    • Separate settings for head and main plans
    • Preferred use of existing remainders
  • Head Cuts
    • Sizes of the sectional plans
    • Weighing against yield
  • Trim Cuts
    • Maximimum length of trim cuts
    • Restriction of trim cuts to one side of the part (length or width)
  • Package Cuts
    • Maximum number of sheets
    • Weighing against yield

Example: Cutting steel beams

Cutting layout with two stages. The light parts are required and the blue ones are optional.
Cutting layout with trim cuts. In the second stripe from the top, the two parts on the right side do not have the proper size after cutting the stripe. They require trim cuts. The offcut is the grey region within the stripe.
Cutting layout with head cut. The area framed in orange is theso-called main plan, the other part(on the right) is called the head plan. When cutting, the five stripeson the head plan are separated first. Then the main plan is rotatedby 90 degrees and can also be cutwith complete cuts.

Software

AutoPanelSizer is distributed as executable. It can be embedded into other applications, e.g. systemcontrol or ERP-systems, through an XML-interface. It is available for all current Microsoft WindowsPC operating systems. Based on the latest research results, Fraunhofer SCAI constantly improves and enhances AutoPanelSizer. AutoPanelSizer developments thus profit from our long-standing experience and wide-ranging knowledge of optimization algorithms.



Contact

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Schloss Birlinghoven
53754 Sankt Augustin, Germany

Phone +49 2241 14-2820
Fax +49 2241 14-2817

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