Does Your Cut Path Look Like This?

Optimizing Tool Path for CNC Lasers

Optimizing Tool Path for CNC Lasers

Is your machine cycle time satisfactory?  Are you crashing – or risking crashes – from freed parts?  Does your cut path look like a swirling mess?

If any of these questions ring a bell, you may be experiencing loss of throughput or productivity.  It may be simply taking laser too long to cut a sheet and get the work done in the allotted time.

For some shops, their critical need is not to save material, or keep orders together, but to get the product out fast.  Turn around time can be hours for shops to take an order, process it, and have it at the customer’s door.  A crazy cut path can be a real show stoppers.  .

If machine throughput or productivity is important, there is a solution.  Crazy tool paths, head crashes, or loose parts don’t have to be the norm.

We’ll look at a couple tools available with laser nesting software.

Tool Path Optimization – The first place to start when looking for machine cycle time improvement is the tool path.  Does the head or turret proceed in a logical manner from one end of the sheet to the other minimizing travel time or does it look like the picture above?  Each few seconds of extraneous time spent adds up and over a sheet or a run the time can be prohibitive.

A nesting software with tool path optimization looks for the best tool path when cutting from one end to another.  It seeks to minimize rapids (non-cut travel) and find the shortest path from one completed path to the next pierce or edge-start.  It avoids crisscrossing already cut paths to inadvertently release parts causing tip-ups and head crashes.

Collision Avoidance – Does the path avoid crossing over previously cut paths, holes (where the head can drop in and crash), or the edge of the sheet? If so, that’s a problem.  Collision Avoidance logic directs the cut path away from precarious situations that could cause harm to the machine, the material or the operator.  And, not insignificantly, it cuts the tool path and cut time.

Common Edge CuttingCommon edge cutting with overcut is part of a tool path that cuts two part edges with like entities or arcs at the same time with on head pass.  The simultaneous cutting of part edges not only reduces waste, but it cuts down on the machine cycle time by eliminating unnecessary cut paths.

By the way, the overcut is significant because it directs the laser head to cut beyond the part edge on the first side of the part.  Why? Because when the part’s tool path is complete – the head finishes the enclosed path – the head doesn’t meet a previously cut part, risking a tip up or head crash.

For more information about optimizing a tool path contact Optimation.



Notice: This work is licensed under a BY-NC-SA. Permalink: Does Your Cut Path Look Like This?

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