When German saw manufacturer Anthon GmbH (www.anthon.de) were commissioned to build a new plant for door manufacturer Borne Turelemente (www.borne.de) they approached PSL as their optimization software partner to supply them with a fully integrated cut planning solution. The application would interface with existing software systems at Borne, and create cutting plans and destacking strategies that were compatible with a sophisticated automatic collation system.

The new software would source the demand for finished parts and the availability of stock sheet material from the client’s existing SAP system. It would also be required to communicate back to SAP information on the finished parts including each part’s final stacking location.

The software would produce high yield patterns whilst taking into account the production of reusable offcuts, and the preferential use of previously produced offcuts. However any patterns produced would also have to be compatible with the collation equipment. During collation, each piece is conveyed to a suitable preparation area  or buffer line where layers of similar parts are assembled. At an appropriate time the layer is transferred to a destacking station to form stacks of specific product types.  The  software would therefore produce, along with each pattern, a route map for each piece as it passes through buffer lines and preparation areas until it is finally stacked. This requirement places complicated limits on the mix of pieces than can be in progress at any time.

PSL supplied a bespoke version of the SECANT system including both customized interfaces to SAP and numerical control files for the  Anthon saw and stacking system.  SECANTs central pattern generation algorithm was modified to include a simulation of the collation process. Any putative patterns where pieces could not be allocated a buffer line or preparation area and destacking station compatible with the piece type are rejected.