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New automation software for wooden furniture industry

Optimisation of automated wood cutting with advanced control systems is often out of reach for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the absence of external collaboration. EU-funded researchers developed optimisation software tools for SMEs in the wooden furniture industry and passed on valuable training regarding evaluation and selection of software as well as negotiation of purchase with vendors, promising to enhance their future competitiveness.
New automation software for wooden furniture industry
In an increasingly competitive environment, furniture manufacturers are seeking ways to cut production time, raw materials and set-up costs. One of the biggest issues facing furniture manufacturers that work with semi-finished products is to cut stock in such a way that total trim loss is minimised. A given piece is typically cut via the interplay of several cutting patterns, requiring careful optimisation, the step particularly difficult for SMEs. Automation then enables repetitive cuts of the same overall pattern to minimise set-up costs.

The ‘Sheet cutting and process optimization for furniture enterprises’ (SCOOP) project was undertaken to provide a superior alternative to commercially available software. Team researchers developed advanced optimisation methods that form the core of software tools used by Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines for wood panel cutting.

The SCOOP software provided a clear decrease in trim loss as well as enhancing numerous other features of the woodworking process and product leading to better performance indices.

In addition to owning the intellectual property rights for the SCOOP software, the participating SMEs now are better aware of software optimisation and its benefits in general. They are experienced in the evaluation and purchase procedures and thus more likely to effectively and efficiently adopt new technology. Thus, the SCOOP project outcomes should tremendously enhance the competitiveness of European SMEs in the wooden furniture industry with important benefits for European consumers.

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