A new standard for lean manufacturing? How cutting optimization increases the entire manufacturing organization’s profitability

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In the ever-evolving landscape of manufacturing, the quest for efficiency and profitability remains at the forefront of industry priorities. As we delve into this intricate world, one cannot overlook the pivotal role of cutting optimization in redefining the standards for lean manufacturing. This blog post aims to unravel the transformative impact of cutting optimization and how it cascades into bolstering the profitability of the entire manufacturing organization. At its core, cutting optimization is more than just a process—it’s a strategic approach that harmonizes material usage, minimizes waste, and maximizes output. But the real game-changer in this scenario is the advent of cutting optimization software. This sophisticated tool transcends traditional methods, bringing a level of precision and efficiency previously unattainable.

The cutting optimizer, a key component of this software, functions as the brain behind the operation. It meticulously calculates the most effective way to cut materials, thereby reducing costs and enhancing productivity. In a sector where every inch of material and every minute of production time counts, the benefits of employing a cutting optimizer are immense. Not only does it ensure optimal material utilization, but it also significantly shortens production cycles, leading to a more agile and responsive manufacturing process.

In essence, the integration of cutting optimization into manufacturing processes is not just a trend; it’s a necessity for staying competitive in a rapidly changing industry. By embracing these advanced technologies, organizations are not only setting a new standard for lean manufacturing but are also unlocking a pathway to heightened profitability and sustainability. This blog post will explore these facets in-depth, demonstrating why cutting optimization is no longer an option but an imperative for modern manufacturing excellence.

The approach of a traditional nesting software is problematic for several reasons: 

  1. Generating the appropriate cut plan isn’t easy and, in some cases, takes a few days. Using the same program again and again from the nesting library when your plans and material in stock are always changing is simply not reasonable. This leads to compromises around both the production timeline and the efficiency of the result, and becomes even more of an issue considering the dynamic nature of discrete manufacturing businesses.

2. Relying on manual selection of geometry files may lead to human errors that adds to the cost. Companies must recut and scrap materials simply because an old design file was mistakenly used.  

Rush orders, changes in business needs, new cut plans and materials all need to find an answer within a limited number of plans included in the existing library. 

Along comes Artificial Intelligence and Automation

Computer monitor - Wallpaper

AI technology helps meet manufacturing needs by offering a dramatic advancement in cut planning and manufacturing optimization. 

Instead of ‘feeding’ the software with each and every detail of the plan and hoping for the best, advanced software is able to receive all relevant data and automatically create optimized cut plans for all machines at all sites.

Lets look at some of the prominent advantages of an AI-based  cutting and kitting solution: 

The integration of AI-based cutting and kitting solutions in manufacturing is revolutionizing the industry, bringing with it a multitude of remarkable benefits. These advanced software solutions are fully integrated with other systems and IIoT devices, including a company’s ERP and CAD/PLM systems. This integration facilitates the automatic processing of new work orders, considering the latest changes in CAD system’s DXF design files to generate the most efficient cut plan.

Moreover, these solutions offer the unique capability to run tests and simulations concurrently with the operation of cutting machines. This feature allows manufacturers to explore multiple scenarios without disrupting their ongoing manufacturing processes. For businesses that operate multiple factories and production floors, this software becomes a central hub, enabling the alignment of workflows across different sites. It provides a comprehensive overview that optimizes the workflow and material usage, ensures business priorities and KPIs are met, and prevents the expiration of raw materials mid-process.

The enhanced visibility provided by these solutions is another significant advantage. Detailed reports are accessible anytime, anywhere, and on any device, allowing managers to make informed comparisons between different sites and plans. This capability leads to smarter inventory purchasing decisions and maximizes the overall performance of the business. The approach to handling raw materials evolves from a simplistic first-in-first-out method to a more sophisticated, optimized strategy.

Certain industries, like the composites industry which utilizes costly materials like Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastics (CFRP), understand the stark difference between optimized and traditional manufacturing. Given the high cost and specific requirements of such materials, precise and customized planning is crucial to avoid costly mistakes.

The automation aspect of these AI-based solutions significantly reduces cost, effort, and time, directly enhancing the company’s ROI. In the world of advanced discrete manufacturing, where complex cutting plans and extensive data are the norms, cloud storage presents a solution for handling vast amounts of data. This capability enriches AI algorithms, making them more intelligent and efficient at a relatively low cost, further pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in modern manufacturing.


An ultimate cutting strategy 

Advanced manufacturing businesses learned to lean on AI technology to save materials and reduce their operational costs, by synchronizing the entire business and supply chain.Data - Enterprise asset management

They embrace the mantra “cut only what you need” and implement it throughout the workflow in every decision made. The final step of cutting the material is based on countless considerations and a lot of data.

In addition to a smarter, more efficient process, these manufacturers reach a superior end result that is free from error and meticulously executed. The product is ready on time and no rework is required, which adds to the company’s overall throughput and capacity. 

Here’s a concrete example that I like using: 

The example below shows the traditional way of cutting a specific material into different parts. Each type is cut separately, in a sequential way. As you can see, the total material used stands on 160 in’. 

Under an optimized cutting plan, as you can see below, the same cutting is done based on much smarter calculations. All parts required in a given shift or ady are mixed and cut from the same sheet, resulting in almost 20% material saved (Total Material used for all 3 jobs combined in this example: 129.65”).  

In a discrete manufacturing industry, the flexibility offered by AI-based cutting and kitting solutions, provides a significant added value. Enterprises are able to make quick and smooth adjustments at scale and save significant costs.  


In today’s world, being lean and efficient is key for resilience. Facing fierce competition, unpredictable environmental challenges (COVID-19 for instance) and ever-increasing quality standards, manufacturers are leaning on technology to optimize every step in the process. For advanced manufacturers, raw materials direct and indirect costs are so significant that they can impact the entire company’s profitability. 

Smart cutting planning leans on powerful algorithms and AI calculations that run optimized plans. The result is minimum material waste, much smarter inventory management, a quantity of ready material that can meets the production floor capacity and demand (not less and not more), a minimum level of human error originated issues and more. 

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