International Journal of Production Research vol:52 issue:20 pages:5965-5984
This paper deals with generating paths for cutting irregular parts nested on thin or thick metal sheets. The objective is to minimize the total time required to cut all parts from the metal sheet explicitly taking the cost of piercing and pre-cutting into account. The problem is modelled as a generalized travelling salesperson problem with special precedence constraints. A set of construction heuristics is presented that incorporates the constraints originating from inner-outer contours, common cuts, piercing points and pre-cuts. Computational tests on a set of real-life cutting problems show that our solution approach is able to generate tool paths that for thick plates spend on average 33.4\% less time than those generated by a commercial package for air movements, pre-cuts and sharp angle macros with cutting and piercing times being equal.