New features for Optimalon’s free online cutting-optimization software


downloadOne year after its first release, the new version of Optimalon‘s free online cutting-optimization application offers several improvements. The web application uses a guillotine-cutting method that is more difficult to optimize than the nesting method. However, guillotine-cutting is simpler to use in real life cutting, since all cuts are done from one edge of the material to another. This method is used for glass, stone and plywood cutting, and it is the only method available for small shops where all operations are done manually without expensive CNC cutting machines.

Guillotine cutting requires all cutting operations to be performed in a strict order, which in turn requires a 90-degree rotation of the panels for the next cuts. The web application now provides an option, “Minimize panels rotations,” that modifies cutting sequences and effectively minimizes the number of rotation operations. Optimalon Software test cases showed reduction of rotations from 5-6 to 2-3 per panel. That results in more than 50 percent reduction of the manual job for the cutting operator. A new quality control option has been implemented to show the location of each guillotine cut on the result graphical layout. The user can select a cut from the list of all available cuts for this particular layout, and the web-page will display the cut in red and provide information about the cut length, start and end points. The order of the cuts in the list defines the actual cutting sequence that produces all required parts from a stock panel.

The cutting layout of the last used stock panel has also been improved. The new version of the online cutting-optimization tool minimizes the total area of the last panel and produces more usable waste parts for future jobs. It also minimizes the total cutting length, thus reducing tool wear. The web-application has been providing layout minimization functionality that is very important for wood cutting, allowing the operator to load several panels into the cutting machine and process them at once. This new version introduces an option “Maximum Layout Size” to define the maximum number of panels allowed in one layout. This function is critical when the cutting machine’s hardware limits the number of panels it can process simultaneously.

In addition to Excel exporting the new version introduces printing to PDF file. The user can choose printing of summary report, parts layouts, cutting sequence and detailed list of all cutting operations in one document. The generated PDF file provides the sizes (widths and lengths) of all big and small parts and cut-offs by scaling text size. It helps the cutting operator to identify the sizes of all parts from one print-out, without going back and forth to a computer.