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Developments in panel optimization.


For every part cut from a panel, a portion of that panel is thrown away as waste. The challenge at the panel sizing station is to quickly generate cutlists that will help increase material yield and reduce this waste. The high-tech solution lies in the variety of optimization software programs available today.

Many industry experts believe that all shops, regardless of size, can benefit from these programs which run from $1,000 to $10,000 and up. Other experts caution that smaller shops need to carefully evaluate the benefits to justify their cost and use.

Estimates of increased yield with optimization programs generally range from 3 to 10 percent with some going as high as 20 percent. This is dependent upon the end product, importance of yield over time and a host of other factors.

Cost justification

A big proponent of optimizing is Bob Gowen of Pattern Systems International. Gowen, a pioneer in the field, estimates that optimization programs save companies at least 3 percent of the cost of their material.

"If you spend $200,000 per year on wood and you save 3 percent that equals $6,000," Gowen said. "The program and computer will pay for itself quickly."

It is easier to cost justify an investment in software if you look farther down the road and not just the next "ten minutes," said Gianni Cavassa, of Biesse America. He said cost justification should be based on a three-year payback period, not one year as is often the case. This is a rule of thumb he strongly encourages manufacturers to adhere to.

"I try to tell people as strongly as I can that it is time for the woodworking industry to buy good solid technology, justifying it in a period of three years or five years," Cavassa said.

The 3 percent estimate Gowen cited is lower than some estimates which ranged as high as 20 percent but all agree the larger the volume the greater the yield. Obviously, increased yield potential depends on each company's waste experience.

"The best optimization is when it is for a mixed bag of parts consolidated into the sizing operation," said Gary Kaminski of Tekna Machinery Inc. "If you consolidate a number of jobs and use labels to keep track of the parts, you maximize the yield from the material."

Rusty Denson of SCMI Corp., who said he sees increases of yield from between 8 and 10 percent, agreed, "If you're cutting large volumes of board you will definitely get a better yield." "Typically, the people who see the most improvement are those custom cutting on a large volume. In the past these shops would just cut as the job came up."

Cutting as each job comes up is definitely a wood, time, flexibility and money waster, according to Randy Jamison of Stiles Machinery Inc. "Manual optimizations start with the largest part first, then fill in the blanks. A computer looks at combinations that may not ever be humanly considered. This is a factor of time. It is not humanly possible to evaluate all of the possibilities for a given job as fast as a computer can."

Increasing yields, and therefore reducing wood waste, is probably the single biggest advantage of optimizing. But control is also a very important factor. "If you are purchasing $200,000 worth of wood," said Gowen. optimizing you are basically giving "Fred Operator" control over what happens to that $200,000 worth of wood," said Gowen. "So optimization not only reduces waste, but it controls productivity and establishes central control."

This makes the operator and the saw more productive because the operator is not "standing still trying to figure out best way to cut a board," Gowen added. "It allows operators to solely concentrate on running the saw. Because of that they will do it faster and better than if cluttered with other stuff."

Freeing the operator of generating manual cutlists eliminates wasted time and errors, said Werner Deuring, of Schelling America. "You try to take away as much responsibility and burden as possible away from the operator" With computer optimization the operator is being graphically led through the cutting pattern so they can really concentrate on the saw."

Inventory control

One of the biggest advantages of optimization programs is the ability to control materials for shops, said Jeffrey A. Welge of Cabnetware.

"Most people don't know what to order for a job. But by using optimization software you how much material to order exactly," he said.

Kaminski added, "This is an advantage early on when purchasing materials. There is a cost savings because you are not buying materials that will be sitting around unused."

This not only saves in material and inventory costs but it opens up floor space for other uses, said Bill Pitt, vice president of Holzma.

Designing to cost

A great advantage of optimization programs is what Pitt calss the "Designing to Cost Concept." Using this idea a project can be designed using the software and crucial information such as cost per part and cost per product can be quickly determined. If these costs are too great then there is time to do something about it before the product goes into production.

"It starts back at the foundation of whatever product the company manufacturers," Pitt said. "When a company is bringing a product to the market the company needs to know at what cost they are doing so. With these programs you are given an opportunity to design to cost. A customer can review the design, and modify it to bring the cost in line."

Is a new saw needed

Software programs can even be useful to a company with a non-computerized panel saw. "It doesn't even mean you have to purchase a new panel saw if yours does not have a on-board computer," said Gowen. "Just run the program, get the cutting instructions and follow the directions."

However, just because you are using an optimization program doesn't mean you shouldn't use your brain. "Always adopt what a computer provides with a temperance of sense," said Gowen. Cavassa, on the other hand, said while it is possible to get benefits on a crude machine from optimization programs the company is only going to get half the possibilities. "If you have a crude saw and want to stay in business you have to buy a better one," he said. "People in our industry buy a car in three or five years, but only replace production equipment every 15 or 20 years."

Industry experts generally agree that there is no magical number of board or board feet that will tell you whether or not you should invest in optimization software.

Kevin Walsh of Richard T. Byrnes and Scott Broughton of HendrickSaw are not as certain that optimization is needed by every company. Both men feel that optimization is sometimes oversold.

"In some cases I don't think there is that great a need for that expenditure," Walsh said. He suggested that a shop looking into purchasing a software program put together a week's worth of work, send it to the software supplier and have the information run on its optimization package. Then, compare those results with the yield the company would have gotten by manually optimizing the board.

Broughton said, "It depends on the size of the shop. I don't think a lot of medium size to small shops require an optimization program. In some small shops it sometimes takes less time to set up manually than to download. You have to have the numbers."

Some of the features a potential purchaser should look for in a program include: speed, flexibility to input many parameters, a mouse or menu type system for easy use; report generation, accuracy, label printing capabilities and software support.

"Personally, I think speed is not given enough priority when evaluating an optimizer," Jamison said. "Imagine waiting 10 minutes for the results of a given job only to find out that some fine tuning of the parameters is required. Then, after the change is made you have to wait another 10 minutes to see the results. If the system is slow the operator is more likely to accept the first results, which may not be the best."

Saws and software

The following is a roundup of panel saws, vertical saws, table saws and optimization software programs. For more information circle the corresponding number on the Reader's Service Card. Also, consult the 1991 WOOD & WOOD PRODUCTS RED BOOK chapter 5 on Panel Sizing, Boring & Edging and chapter 12 on Computer Systems.

Panel saws

The Giben Prismatic panel sizing system from Stiles Machinery Inc. features quick cycle cutting, variable-speed traverse saw and a programming unit. Other features include: a new postform attachment and quick blade changeover. 277

The Stemac Easy Cut panel saw from the Stefani Group America Inc. comes in three models. Model M comes with a manual and pneumatic stop holder; the Model A comes with pushing device by N.C. for longitudinal cuts; and, Model E with catch clamps pushing device by N.C. for longitudinal and transversal cuts. All Easy Cut machines have the saw-blade connected with an independent scoring unit, and the sliding systems of the bladeholder carriage running on hardened and ground steel for greater cutting accuracy, the company says. 278

The Z32D automatic clamp panel saw from SCMI Corp. features a master computer with downloading capacity to a personal computer. It features a fully automatic rip and crosscut cycle. It has a 126 in. cutting length and 120 in. depth, and panels can be stacked and cut to a depth of 3 1/2 in. 279

The HPP91 panel saw from Holzma U.S. features: a monorail saw carriage guide system; clamping system for positioning accuracy; electronic trimming systems with special clamping arrangement for panels with project substrates; side pressure device for cross cutting; postforming system; grooving attachment; micro-processor, and Holzma Topmatic for 500 different cutting dimensions. 280

The Scheer Model FM 16 DNC panel saw from Richard T. Byrnes Co. Inc. has a multi-microcomputer with unlimited memory. It can graphically display cut plans and panels. Optional software has linking capabilities with several CAD systems. It has a solid cast iron frame that is mounted to a horizontal plane providing weight distribution that makes the guiding of the carriage easier and prolongs the life of the components, the company says. 281

The CP range of panel saws from Wadkin USA comes in five models capable of handling panels from 4 feet by 8 feet up to 12 feet by 12 feet. A 9 hp motor is standard allowing for operations such as deep ripping, bevel cutting and mitering. Each saws comes with a 16-in. wide aluminum sliding table, and Tufnol guides set 7 in. apart for maximum stability, the company says. The machines take a main blade up to 16 in. in diameter, for a 5-in. cut, and can accommodate 4-in. scoring blades. 282

The Midwest/Panhans model 3270 panel saw from Midwest Automation Inc. handles work up to 10 ft long and 3 in. thick, with one-man operation. CNC controls provide graphic display of the cutting pattern, with optimization software available to maximize yield, with download capability. Precision cuts eliminate secondary clean-up operations on laminated boards, plywood, MDF, plastics and solid surfacing materials, the company says. 283

The Gabbiani Class PC 3800 single line beam saw from Tekna Machinery Inc. is an automatic, programmable panel saw. Some of the standard features include: double pressure beam; independent main saw and scoring saw blade motors; the patented quick set/release flanges for quick replacement of the blades; and air flotation tables. Available options include: loading tables; postforming scoring unit; and electronic options. 284

The Selco panel sizing center from Biesse America features: a saw blade which can be changed in second, the Digiset electronic scoring saw setting, double pressure beam, powered and electronically controlled multi-rollers side squaring device, cutting speed from 0 - 100 m/min. The angular system increases productivity and flexibility, the company says. 285

The MacMazza MCS-P 4500 heavy duty panel saw from Quattro Tech is equipped with a hold-down pressure beam plus auxiliary set of hold-down cylinders. The saw carriage runs on two accurate machined guides by means of wear proof "Turcite" pads. Tables are covered with phenolic material (anti-scratching) to receive gripper type pusher clamps. Standard features include: air flotation table, automatic loading platform, electronic programmer equipped to control all moving parts. 286

Schelling America's Model FW horizontal panel saw offers high-volume, high accuracy, chip-free cutting. The modular built FW features automatic loading, patented turntable, operator guiding control, download capability for optimization programs and label and bar code printing, the company says. 287

The anThon industrial panel saw available from Eurohansa Inc. range in size from semi-manual, CNC controlled, single axis saws to fully automated CNC controlled angular systems. Emphasis is on accuracy at high cutting speeds with increased yield. Options available range from its patented turn table to various forms of vacuum feeding and destacking. 288

The model MR-21 panel rip saw from Multiscore reportedly minimizes cutting labor by single-pass ripping an entire panel, even into narrow strips and simultaneous sawing and grooving. Available modifications include: topside or both top and bottom sawing arbors; jam-nut arbor/system for close blade spacing; jump-arbor for non-continuous slotting; combination saw/groover cutting heads; and a 10-ft width capacity. 289

The Euromac Viva '93 panel saw from PAL. Woodworking Machinery Inc. features a double beam saw, DC pusher motor and a saw carriage controlled by an inverter reaching the speed of 200 fpm. Other features include the Esa Tria 4000 computer with optimization system on board and automatic trouble shooting, a special system for quick change of the saw blades, air flotation tables, steel construction, self lubricated tracks and General Electric PLC. 290

The K-424 panel saw from Kett Tool Co. cuts a variety of soft or rigid sheet materials including plywood, laminate, honeycomb panels, hardboard, pressed board, siding, signs, PVC and mild steel. The saw can cut plastic 3/8 in. thick and wood products to its full depth of 1 in. using the standard 3 3/8 in diameter saw blade. 291

The ergonomically engineered Super-Slide panel saw from Holz-Her U.S. Inc. is named for the easy-gliding precision of its sliding table mechanism which is achieved with rodways and fixed and floating long-life bearings. It features: adjustable table height; conveniently located controls and tools; single-lever scorer adjustment on the operators side of the machine; digital displays; and scales that don't change when its aluminum rip-fence is quickly reversed for safely cutting narrower workpieces. 292

Vertical panel saws

The Striebig panel saw from the Colonial Saw Co. Inc. provides the same square accuracy, cut quality in double-face panels and production capacity as machines that costs several times as much, the company says. The space saving panel saw utilizes the two-axis Digitron measuring system which reduces off-loading and reloading of horizontally cut strips. Cuts can be made directly from one cut to the next, automatically allowing for saw kerf, and only the finished parts need to be removed. The system converts instantly between inches and millimeters, the company says. 293

The Prov-V series of vertical panel saws from HendrickSaw Inc. are accurate within +/-0.005 in. Saws are fully automatic, feature a full length hold-down bar designed to firmly clamp stacked panels while enclosing the blade. The saws can cut anything from 1/2 in. squares to 5 ft by 10 ft sheets, the company says. It offers a single blade scoring saw and three cutting modes: conventional top to bottom, scoring and reciprocating. 294

The Model 7400 panel saw from Safety Speed Cut Manufacturing Co. Inc. features cutting accuracy and carbide knife scoring systems needed by the furniture industry for the sizing of cabinet and furniture component parts, the company says. The machine is manually operated. 295

SL Woodworking Machinery Inc. offers the SL VS200 and SL VS250 vertical panels saws that are suitable for rip and cross cutting of large panels and occupy very limited space, the company says. Sizing of panels is possible by using fixed cutting positions placed throughout the length of the machines. Adjustable mechanical stops are present for vertical and horizontal cuts. Equal repetitive cuts can be made without adjustments by using the copying device. A saw guide is mounted on the blade group. An optional dust collector is available. 296

Table saws

The Model SC/1 Griggio panel saw from Atlantic Machinery Corp. has a anodized aluminum table, external scoring adjustment, adjustable scales and a support arm extending 48 in. from left of blade. It also features: raising and tilting hand wheels; fully adjustable fence; three speed 9 hp main motor and 3/4hp scoring motor; 3,400mm sliding table with telescopic extension; and, holddown, mitre gauge with fence and stop. 297

Unique Machine & Tool Co. offers overhead panel saws designed for a variety of applications. The standard table is 4 feet by 8 feet with a 48-in. cut length. Custom table sizes and cut lengths are available from the company. The carriage fitted with ball bearing bushings, rides along the beam on hardened steel shafts. 298

The Martin T-72 ultra precision tablesaw from Eric Riebling Co. Inc. is equipped with a scoring saw attachment. The saw is constructed of a composite of steel and concrete creating a distortion-free and stable machine frame with low noise emission, according to the company. The machine is equipped with hydraulic tilting and raising and lowering arbor. Some features include: digital display; standard 7.5-hp motor; and, adjustable guideways. The scoring saw is adjustable both vertically and horizontally from outside of the machine. Four carriage sizes are available as well as an optional 10-hp motor and digital display for the rip-fence. 299

Delta International Corp.'s DE-40 3.2 Meter Panel/Scoring Saws cuts chip-board, surface-finished veneer, core panels coated with synthetics or aluminum, plastic sheets, plexiglass, PVC and wood of all types and hardness up to 5 in. thick. A sliding table facilitates cuts up to 120 in. in a single stroke, the company says. The machine comes with a 9 hp motor and 3/4 hp scoring unit, sizing fence, separate miter fence and two-position rip fence. 300

The TKR-45 sliding table saw from Altendorf America is compact and includes a 52 in. sliding table and pre-scoring unit. The TKR series is primarily used for cross cutting material in both large and small plants and is available in tilt arbor and non-tilt arbor versions. 301

Adwood Corp.'s new sliding table saw has a capacity of 10 ft 6 in. The machine weighs 2,000 lbs, eliminating vibration and chips, but can still be moved on its steel castors. It features a central lubrication system located on the outside of the machine. It has 45 [degrees] tiltable arbor with optional hydraulic adjustment and its scoring blade with mechanical adjustment produces consistent accuracy and adjusts in seconds, the company says. 302

The Mini-Max S250-S sliding table scoring saw from SCMI's Mini-Max Div. can cut double-faced panels easily, the company says. It has a 4-ft crosscut and ripping capacity. 303

Fortis Machinery Corp. sliding table saw is designed for cross and rip cutting of lumber, laminate and plain boards and plastics. The saw spindle is powered by a 10-hp motor that is dynamically balanced and rotates on precision ball bearings. 304

Optimization programs

The Cut Planner panel optimizer from Pattern Systems International cuts wood waste by up to 50%, the company says. NC link is available for most major saws. Materials are sorted so parts of mixed materials can be entered. A single sheet stock file permits selection of available material, including drop. The program provides reports on costs, yields, material usage, overage/underage, and more. It is mouse driven with on-screen help. 305

The Optisave panel optimization program available from Stiles Machinery Co. generates accurate and efficient cutting patterns based on part requirements, the company says. The program, run on an IBM PC or compatible computer, features a menu driven system and a highly flexible format, the company says. 306

Software from Integrated Solutions integrates Pattern Systems Cut Planner software to many panel saw controllers which eliminates the need to manually enter patterns at the saw. Each software package features easy to use menu screens and is configured to meet unique saw requirements. 307

The MacMazza Optimizer available through Quattro Tech calculates the optimum number of cuts and can figure "real optimization," the company says. By inputting the cost of raw material as a determining factor the program can calculate the least expensive cutting schemes. 308

Force Machinery Co., distributor of Mayer panel saws, offers a new controller that will link almost any PC, with an ASCII format, to the panel saws. A direct link from the PC to the Mayer PC 2000 allows the Mayer program to select cutting lists and down loads them into the saw. On board storage in the PC 2000 is suitable for 1,000 cutting steps which is 70 to 80 normal cutting pictures, the company says. 309

The panel optimization software available from Cabnetware is fully integrated with the company's Detailer cabinet design and cutting list program. After designing the job, parts can be fed directly into the program. The program allows for optimization of labor or yield. The system automatically allows for saw ker, trim cuts, multiple re-rips, stacked sheet and for stock cabinet parts. 310

The Optimizer/2001 from Keytrix Systems Corp. utilizes a sophisticated numerical technique to compute and display cutting layouts which minimize flat sheet waste. The software is fully integrated with the company's comprehensive Estimating/ Detailing packaging, Woodwork/2001. It also can be interfaced to Giben, Holzma, Sheer and other panel saws. The Optimizer /2001 can process cutlists of up to 100 part sizes from up to 10 sheet sizes. The company also reports that it plans to release an upgrade featuring major performance and capacity improvements, during the third quarter of this year. 311

Panel Vision is the optimization software offered by Cabinet Vision Inc. that will calculate the cut pattern of sheet stock for best use of material or labor. It allows for edge trim and saw cut thickness, grain direction, inches or metric, cutlist, editing and odd size panels. It reports optimization results, percentage of waste, cabinet number and part identification to screen, disk or printer. 312

Cut-Rite Plus and Cut-Rite Custom are two optimization and production control programs from Holzma U.S. Inc. Cut-Rite plus has a product library and parts library and can be linked to bill of materials programs. Capacity is up to 120 different parts per run and 20 different board sizes. Batch processing of up to 15 different runs per set up. Cut-Rite Custom is an optimization package designed specifically for the custom shop. 313

PHOTO : Guides on the MacMazza panel saw (Quattro-Tech) feature wear-proof pads.

PHOTO : The Scheer Model FM 16 DNC saw from Richard T. Byrnes Co. has a multi-microcomputer with unlimited memory that can graphically display cut plans and panels.

PHOTO : Cutlists can be downloaded directly into the Schelling Model FW panel saw and called up via the controller, inset.

PHOTO : Anthon panel saws, left, from Eurohansa range from semi-manual to fully automated CNC angular systems. The Striebig saw (Colonial Saw) uses a 2-axis Digitron measuring system to reduce off-loading and reloading of horizontally cut strips.

PHOTO : The Super-Slide is the first horizontal sliding table saw manufactured by Holz-Her.

PHOTO : HendrickSaws' Pro-V series of vertical panel saws are accurate to within [+ or -]0.005 in.

PHOTO : The new Mayer controller from Force Machinery can link a panel saw to almost any PC.

PHOTO : The Mini Max S250-S sliding table scoring saw from SCMI's Mini Max Div. has a 4-ft crosscut and ripping capacity.

PHOTO : The Giben Prismatic panel sizing system from Stiles Machinery has a programming unit, quick cycle cutting, and variable-speed.

PHOTO : The Gabbiani Class PC 3800 programmable beam saw from Tekna Machinery features double pressure beam, independent and scoring saws.
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Title Annotation:includes related article
Author:Adams, Larry
Publication:Wood & Wood Products
Date:Jul 1, 1991
Previous Article:Trendway increases panel output.
Next Article:Machinery groups to meet at one convention.

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