Optimal Process Planning for Compound Laser Cutting and Punching Using Genetic Algorithms

  • Shane (S.Q.) Xie
  • Yiliu Tu


Process planning has become an important stage for OKP companies as global competition has intensified the need to reduce the cost of products. This chapter uses sheet metal work as an example to discuss how new algorithms can be used to improve efficiency and to reduce cost. An optimal process planner can maximise the utilisation of costly raw material resources, improve machining efficiency, and hence reduce product cost. However, two problems must be overcome before such an optimal process planner can be developed; nesting and machining path planning. The nesting requirement is to maximise sheet metal material utilisation ratio by nesting parts of various shapes into the sheet. The path planning requirement is to optimise machining sequence so that the total machining path distance and machining time are minimised. This work investigates the two problems using genetic algorithms. The proposed genetic algorithm approach uses a genetic encoding scheme and a genetic reproduction strategy to reach an optimum solution. Case studies are carried out to test the genetic algorithms. The effectiveness of the genetic algorithm path planning approach is compared with that of the “ant colony” algorithm (Wang and Xie 2005). The results show that the genetic algorithm achieves better performances for path planning than the ant colony algorithm.


Genetic Algorithm Sheet Metal Path Planning Travelling Salesman Problem Tabu List 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Albano, A. and Sapuppo, G., 1980, Optimal location of two-dimensional irregular shapes using heuristic search methods, IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, 10(5), 242–248.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Clark, S. C. and Carbone, V. T., 1980, Laser Cutting Head Attachment for Punch Press. United States Patent and Trademark Office, Houaille Industries, Inc., United States, Patent No. 4201905.Google Scholar
  3. Dori, D. and Ben-Bassat, M., 1984, Efficient nesting of congruent convex figures. Communications of the ACM, 27, 228–235.MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Han, G. C. and Na, S. J., 1996, Two-stage approach foresting in two-dimensional cutting problems using neural network and simulated annealing, Proceedings of Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part:B Journal of Engineering Manufacture, 210, 509–519.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Hopper, E. and Turton, B., 1999, A genetic algorithm for A 2D industrial packing problem, Computers & Industrial Engineering 37, 375–378.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Hwang, Y. and Ahuja, N., 1992, Gross motion planning: a survey, ACM Computing Surveys, 24(3), 219–291.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Lesh, N. and Marks, J., 2000, Human guided simple search. A Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratory,
  8. Meeran, S. and Shafie, A., 1997, Optimum path planning using convex hull and local search heuristic algorithms, Mechatronics, 7(8), 737–756.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Nee, Y. C., Seow, K. W. and Long, V. C., 1986, Designing algorithm for nesting irregular shapes with and without boundary constraints, Annals of CIRP, 35(1), 107–110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Qu, W. and Sanders, J. L., 1987, A nesting algorithm for irregular parts and factors affecting trim losses, International Journal of Production Research, 25, 381–397.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Wang, G. G. and Xie, S. Q. 2005, Optimal process planning for a combined punch and laser cutting machine using ant colony optimisation, International Journal of Production Research, 43(11), 2195–2216.MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Wang, Q., Teng, N., Cai, D. M., Zhang, S. H., 2010, Study on Deformation Mechanism of Tube Hydropiercing. Advanced Materials Research, Vols. 97–101, pp. 166–169.Google Scholar
  13. Xie, S. Q. and Xu, X. 2006, A STEP-compliant integrated system for sheet metal parts, International Journal of Integrated Manufacturing Technology, 19(6), 627–638.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Xie, S. Q., Tu, Y. L., Liu, J. Q. and Zhou, Z. D., 2001, Integrated and concurrent approach for compound sheet metal cutting and punching. International Journal of Production Research, 39(6), 1095–1112.zbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shane (S.Q.) Xie
    • 1
  • Yiliu Tu
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Mechanical EngineeringUniversity of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand
  2. 2.Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing EngineeringUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada

Personalised recommendations