It’s great when a piece of software comes along that can easily and simply help your business and isn’t a massive up front investment either.
Cutting optimization software can be just that.
If you’re manufacturing sheet material or bars, material costs are going to be a significant part of your direct costs. Having an effective way to cut your parts quickly and with minimum waste is only going to boost your profits.
Here are a few cutting optimization tips for you to take on board when planning out how to incorporate the right software into your workflow…
1. Processing Time versus Waste Minimization
If you’re a relatively small business, the time the software takes to process the actual optimization isn’t an issue at all. You can just get on with something else whilst it is running.
But if you’re business is cutting all day long, down time during the processing can become a very real cost.
In general, you’ll find that the processing time is longer, the better the optimization and the lower the waste. Consider software that allows you to balance or prioritize these two elements to suit your working environment.
2. An Effective Cutting Optimization Algorithm
This is at the heart of any software of this type. There’s a fair bit of software out there that will do an optimization job for you, but how well?
A smaller business that uses cheap materials isn’t perhaps going to care about an extra few % in optimization performance.
However, if you are working with expensive materials, some woods and glass for example, or are dealing in high volumes, the absolute cost savings of a soon add up if your software performs better.
3. Neatly adding your New Software to your Workflow
However good a stand alone piece of software is on paper, if it’s a pain to integrate into your working practices, the benefits quickly become less impressive.
Try to make sure the right options are available for importing your cutting lists into the software, whether that by manual input, via a spreadsheet or by direct integration with your design software.
At the other end, ensure you can easily output printed cutting optimization schedules, or interface with your CNC directly.
4. Extra Features
Well, depending on your circumstances, these will be more or less important. Incorporating a margin for edge banding is a useful addition for many, or the ability to ensure cutting takes into account the grain direction of wooden or veneered panels.
Another great option is to integrate some kind of stock management system, and ideally one that adds usable off cuts from every optimization back into your inventory. The same kind of issues as in point 1 above apply again.
If you’re a small shop, or your material is very cheap, these features may be less important. But if your throughput is higher, or your materials more costly, keeping a closer eye on your stock and making sure you get the most out of every single panel, profile or bar will have a large impact on profitability.
5. Support when you need it
A lot of the software is fairly simple to use, but even so, time is scarce for any business. It’s important you can get help when you need it to build any cutting optimization into your workflow as efficiently as possible. And if you have a problem further down the line, or need help fine tuning your settings further down the line, you’ve got expert advice you can count on.
These are some of the key issues to consider as you decide on the best solution for your business. If you have any queries about this advice on any other cutting optimization issues, please get in touch.
If you’d like to try out a free demo of OptiCut, which ticks a lot of the boxes you need, please fill in the form in the right sidebar to download it. Thanks for reading.