Pre-Purchase FAQs

What are the system requirements for SECANT?

SECANT will run on most modern PCs – whilst making use of higher specifications to improve performance. The minimum specification required is:

  • Operating system: Windows XP or higher
  • Processor: 2.4GHz. The system will make use of multi processors if available.
  • RAM: 2GB
  • Storage: The application itself is under 150MB in size whilst archived jobs require around 1MB for each 10 jobs.

What operating system will I need?

SECANT will run on any operating system from Windows XP through to Windows 10.

How much will SECANT cost me?

The modular nature of SECANT pricing means you only pay for the functionality you require. Prices for bar/pipe optimization start at £1600, with sheet optimization available from £2800. A full price list can be found HERE.

Which version do I need?

If you are cutting bar/section/pipe into pieces of differing length only then SECANT Bar is the product you require. For simple single material sheet cutting where yield is the only consideration then SECANT Lite will fulfil your requirements. If you require a cutting optimizer which balances speed of production against yield, generates multiple results for different scenarios, intelligently uses and produces offcuts, and can control work in progress then you should be looking at SECANT Desktop. All systems have the ability to import data from Excel/CSV files and have unlimited cut piece and stock quantity values.

Can I test the software?

A 30-day trial version of SECANT Lite (which includes the functionality of SECANT Bar) is available for download HERE. To trial the functionality of SECANT Desktop please get in contact.

What is included in the support contract?

A support contract provides for telephone, email and remote online support to help with identifying and resolving any problems you may encounter with the use of SECANT. It also includes the replacement of any damaged hardware security key.  Users with a current support agreement are entitled to free upgrades to the latest version of the system for the course of the agreement and discounted prices for any extensions or additions.

I’ve already got a cutting optimizer – why should I look at SECANT?

All cutting optimizers are not equal and it may be that your software package is no longer giving the best yields available in the industry – or perhaps the benefits of those yields are being lost due to overly complicated cutting patterns? Perhaps your warehouse is becoming full of offcuts which are not being utilised by your optimizer, or you have a large number of different items in production at one time which is causing marshalling or storage problems. SECANT can help you to solve these and many other issues.

Can SECANT handle grained material?

The orientation of a cut part can be fully controlled within SECANT to align the part with some feature of the material such as pattern or finish. If  cut strips are processed by an edgebander before being cut into finished pieces then the orientation of a part within a strip is also important. SECANT will handle this.

I receive orders for a range of cut pieces of different materials. Can I mix these in one SECANT job?

SECANT Desktop can accept a cutting list made up of pieces of different materials. When the user generates the cutting patterns the cutting list is sorted by material and cross referenced with the stocks of raw materials that are available. Each material is then cut planned and a single report produced showing the cutting patterns for each material in turn.

How many different parts can I optimize in one SECANT job?

There is no limit to the total quantity of parts, the requirement for an individual part or the number of different parts in a SECANT cutting list.

How many different sheets sizes or offcuts can I give SECANT to choose from?

There is no limit to the size of your stock list.

Can SECANT import data from spreadsheets or third-party applications?

All versions of SECANT can import cutting requirement and stock data directly from Comma Separated Variable files generated from Excel. SECANT Desktop can be fully customised to integrated directly with third party applications.

I want to mix different cutting lists together, but need to make sure I meet my delivery dates, can SECANT handle this?

SECANT allows you to control production priority and “look ahead” to make the most of yield benefits through mixing of jobs, whilst allowing you to control the sequence in which parts are produced and the levels of work in progress.

I have a shop floor full of offcuts. Can SECANT be used to reduce the capital tied up in offcuts without unnecessary wastage?

Certainly. SECANT can be told to write down offcuts so that they are used in preference to new stock provided the impact on yield is acceptable.  SECANT will also take into account the balance between yield and the undesirability of creating new offcuts.

Sometimes I need to cut an urgent order very quickly even if the yield suffers. Other times I want to maximise yield even if the patterns are complicated. How can SECANT handle this?

SECANT can be configured to produce a ‘family’ of plans for each cutting list. Each plan represents a different view of cutting cost per minute, acceptable pattern complexity, off-cut valuation etc. The user then selects the plan most appropriate for his current priorities.

Can SECANT download patterns directly to my saw?

SECANT can produce interface files in the standard PTX and CPOUT formats as well as in the native formats of a wide range of saw manufacturers including Anthon, Mayer, Schelling, Holzma and Giben. Automatic download saves time and the possibility of errors due to re-keying of data.

My saw can cut multiple sheets at the same time in one book – can SECANT take this into account?

SECANT can consider both minimum and maximum book height when planning patterns and will attempt to minimise the number of patterns which are repeated for fewer than the maximum book height and therefore represent an inefficient use of a machine cycle. SECANT is able to balance the number of books cut against both pattern yield and part overproduction as required by the user.

I don’t want to have a large number of orders that are partially complete at any stage as I have limited storage and piece handling facilities. Can SECANT take this into account?

SECANT has a number of different facilities to address these issues. Limits can be placed on the number of different pieces in progress at any time or on the marshalling areas available for different customers. Where automatic de-stacking equipment is being used SECANT will ensure that the pattern content and sequence is compatible with that equipment.

I believe our requirement is too specific for any general purpose optimiser. Is there a SECANT Bespoke?

SECANT has been providing cut optimising solutions now for many years . Contact us and you may be surprised at what facilities are already available. However we accept that there is always something new and are happy to tailor a system to a particular requirement.

Any cutting optimiser must be closely integrated with our existing order taking, stock control and production planning software. How can SECANT do this?

Versions of SECANT for close integration with existing systems are available in a number of forms. SECANT is available as a DLL for direct integration or as a black box Windows executable. Alternatively SECANT QMAN can be used to provide a background service automatically processing a queue of cutting jobs provided by other software.

Unsure of the best solution for you?

Existing Users FAQs

I get the message “The user does not have the correct access permissions” whenever I run SECANT. What does it mean?

The SECANT user should have full access to the folder in which SECANT is installed and all sub-folders. This is particularly important if the installation is on a network. Ask the network supervisor to restore full access permissions.

I get the message “No default printer” when I try to view a report. Why does it say this when I am not trying to print?

SECANT needs a driver for a printer to be installed so it can calculate page layout. Add a printer driver to your system and select it as the default printer. The printer does not need to be attached.

I get a blank page when I try to view or print a report. Why does this happen?

Check the printer you have selected for reports using the Configuration option of the main SECANT menu. Is the selected printer correct? Reselect it from the pull down list. Update your printer driver to the latest available version and try again.

I get the message “Security key missing” when I try to generate the patterns for a job. Is the key damaged?

Very occasionally a key may become damaged but more often the key is fine but SECANT is having difficulty accessing it. Check that the key is firmly installed in a USB port. If possible try a different port. Reinstall the drivers for the security key by running the latest Sentinel Protection Installer (please contact info@pslopt.co.uk for further details). If you are using a network key then your computer must be able to access that key. Is the network available? Is the computer to which the key is attached switched on? If the system has suddenly stopped working then check with your IT department for any changes, (changes in access rights, firewalls, etc) that would cause the key to have become inaccessible.

SECANT has produced patterns that cut pieces from the wrong material. How do I tell it not to do this?

Check in the job controls that the job is specified as “multi-material”. If it is then SECANT will only cut a piece from a stock item of a matching material (or where the stock identifier at least partially matches the piece material if the stock material field has been left blank). If the job is not specified as multi-material then the material field is taken as merely descriptive and any piece may be cut from any material.

SECANT says it cannot cut a piece but it seems ok to me. What is the problem likely to be?

Before trying to build patterns, SECANT will try and identify any reason why any of the pieces may not be cut.  If a reason is found then the user is warned by an appropriate screen message.

It will check that , in theory, a sufficient area of stock sheets of a suitable size and material have been given to complete the job. It cannot check before building the patterns that sufficient stocks exist taking into account the wastage that occurs in pattern building.  If only just enough stock material has been given then try increasing the stocks in the stock file to reflect additional stock that may need to be purchased and then run SECANT again.

Similarly SECANT will check that limits on cutting such as the minimum or maximum strip strip length would not prevent a piece from being cut. However sometimes the combined effect of several controls may prevent a job from being completed in an unexpected way. For example if we have a piece that is restricted by type or size so that it can only use one de-stacking station and that station is occupied by a piece that cannot be completed  (for stock or other reasons) then the station is effectively blocked and all other pieces of that size or type will not be cut.  Again the actual reason for the failure is lack of stock material but this may not be obvious from the list of pieces that have not been made.

The best way to try and understand why a piece has not been cut is to firstly increase the stock and then, if the job is still incomplete, relax the cutting restrictions.

SECANT is producing high yield results but I need the application to run faster as I have a customer waiting. Can I make SECANT run faster?

The time taken to run SECANT is rarely an issue when large cutting lists are being produced for automatic saws. A faster response may be needed for a salesman estimating the price of an order.

The time taken by SECANT is largely determined by the complexity of the patterns (how many changes in direction in the combination of strips that make up a pattern) and the depth of the search (how many different alternatives should SECANT explore).   The user has control over both of these factors via the Pattern Complexity and Speed controls. If you have a large number of small pieces then the time taken to generate highly complex patterns can be quite high but the good news is that high yields are usually possible with such jobs without multiple turns in the strip direction.

If the running time of the application is important then it is probably best to have two standard control files that can be used for any job. The first would have a simple Patten Complexity and low setting for the Speed control. The second would have full Pattern Complexity with a high  Speed control. SECANT could be re-run with the second control set only on those occasions where the yield using the first set was not acceptable