Sheet metal laser cutting tool path generation: Dealing with overlooked problem aspects

Reginald Dewil, Pieter Vansteenwegen, Dirk Cattrysse

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review


This paper deals with non-trivial problem aspects of laser cutting tool path generation that, to the best of our knowledge, received relatively little attention in the scientific literature. It is shown that some aspects such as plate edge nesting, skeleton and remnant cutting, and clamp positioning can be modeled and solved with little additional effort using existing tool path algorithms. However, concepts such as collision avoidance, pre-cut optimization, and bridge utilization prove to be more challenging and will require more profound algorithmic adjustments if these have to be taken into account fully. An even harder problem aspect is generating tool paths that are thermally feasible. Since laser cutting introduces net heat into the metal sheet, the metal sheet tends to heat up as the cutting progresses. Quality deterioration can occur if the laser spends too much time cutting in the same region. It is shown how to model the easy problem extensions in order to handle them using existing problem approaches and solution approaches are suggested to tackle the harder concepts. In addition, a proof of concept is presented that shows that thermal feasible tool paths can be generated through a multi-start heuristic utilizing a thermal penalty function. A finite difference method iteratively (or concurrently dependent on the used heuristic) evaluates the thermal feasibility and updates the penalty function.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSheet Metal 2015
EditorsF. Micari, Marion Merklein, J. Duflou, Hinnerk Hagenah, Alan G Leacock
PublisherTrans Tech Publications Ltd
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9783038354505
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes
Event16th International Conference on Sheet Metal, SheMet 2015 - Erlangen-Nurnberg, Germany
Duration: 16 Mar 201518 Mar 2015

Publication series

NameKey Engineering Materials
ISSN (Print)1013-9826


Conference16th International Conference on Sheet Metal, SheMet 2015


  • Computer aided manufacturing (CAM)
  • Cutting
  • Laser


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