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Our manufacturing roots   At first we designed like many people our furniture, using parametric formulas in an Excel spreadsheet. The formulae calculated our cutting lists which we imported into a cutting optimiser.  Separately on our Biesse CNCs we wrote corresponding parametric programs for each part. So for instance, if it was a desk top and we assembled it using pin and cams we wrote the boring program for the top in terms of the length and width of the part so for example a hole in the middle might be expressed as x= lpx/2  y=lpy/2 So the operator just had to call up the desk top program and enter in the part dimensions and he was good to go. This method allows for specific products to be manufactured, but the sizes can be custom and changed easily and quickly in both the spreadsheet and on the CNC.  While this method is good up to a point the markets these days demand more and more custom designed  furniture units. In every aspect of the joinery industry there is increased demand for more highly tailored furniture fitouts. whether be in the kitchen, shopfitting, office fitout or even wardrobes. customers are requesting more flexibility, they want to be able to add drawers and shelves where they want, and these requests don’t necessarily line up with a manufactures parametric programs that he manually wrote on the CNC. In addition the increased complex nature of hardware fittings like drawers has made it a real nightmare for a manufacturer to compete efficiently, as it takes a good deal of time to write each individual part program.  With this background we embarked on a search for 3D design Software while our main aim was to find a program that enabled us to efficiently create custom designs we also were after a program that gave us 3D rendered drawings of room layouts to show to clients but most importantly we needed to be able to create program files for our CNC. While we found a good deal of software packages out there both ones that are backed locally and others that were developed overseas that you ordered over the internet.   As you probably guessed we went for Polyboard. which is developed by Boole and Partners in France. But the reason why we we keep searching till we came across this program. was because the local software offerings were either too library based . (which meant that we could not really create out own cabinets, the way we wanted down to the last detail) or extremely expensive. This was the major attraction to Polyboard that while being priced very reasonably we has total flexibility in creating cabinets the way we want, arranging them in a 3D Layout of a room and all the while we could design our own hardware and place them on the cabinets.   The flexibility in hardware was great because, while we bought most of our fittings from one supplier we did have a few from some others. The way most programs work is the software supplier creates a “hardware library” which you pay for and then if you want to use fittings from other suppliers you have to pay for another library, and that is if they have done it yet. in addition when a new fitting comes out we had the ability to enter it ourselves and not wait for the software supplier to crate it for us.  The software served us well for many years we used it together with Biesse’s CAM/3 toolpath generator (the predecessor to Biesseworks)  as Polyboard produced the native CID files it was a simple process of importing these files in CAM/3 and the downloading them onto the machines.  Polyboard also produces native files for Homag and SCM / Morbidelli machines so we were set if we decided to ‘jump ship’ and purchase another brand CNC.
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September 2011  Overview of our products and services  For too long the local woodworking and joinery industry has been faced with few choices in the way of specialised production software that gives them expert results, freedom of design, and power over their production while still being available at an affordable price. As a result I would like to introduce your company to our range which comprises: Polyboard 3D cabinet design, Opticut Saw optimisation, Optinest true shape optimisation,  Stairdesigner 3D staircase design.   Polyboard is an affordable Job estimating & production software for anyone that produces Cabinetry or interior fitouts. No matter how small or large your company may be, you will find Polyboard to be really quick and easy to use. Polyboard allows you virtually total freedom to design cabinets, fit-outs, and custom units your way no mater what hardware fittings, or construction methods you use. If you don't already have CNC equipment you will benefit from Polyboard 3D designs printouts and cut-list generation, while if you do already have CNC equipment Polyboard can generate CNC files for Virtually all CAM software and machines, Including Biesse, Homag/Weeke, SCM and generic software like Enroute, Cadcode and others. Polyboard can connect to both Flat table nesting machines as well as Pod and rail type machines. We have extensive experience in older PTP type machines, particularly older Biesse Rovers.  Opticut is full featured cutting optimisation software for saws. Importation of cut-lists is generic and customisable and of course importing the cut-list from Polyboard is a seamless process. The cutting optimisations are fully configurable while the results Opticut are superb, which will enable you to cut the way you want and to maximise material yield. Like Polyboard, Opticut is available in multiple versions depending on your needs with the highest version being able to connect and produce machine files for CNC panel and beam-saws.   Optinest is a powerful true shape nesting program available at a affordable price. While many suppliers claim to offer nesting software, few offer real true shape nesting producing results that  will maximise the yield from your materials.   Stairdesigner is a 3D staircase design software that will enable you to quickly produce valid staircases designs in a variety of complex arrangements. Created Staircases can be viewed in beautiful 3D views for presentation and verification. Stairdesigner calculates all the stair components and can exported as drawings, full scale printouts, and parts can also exported to CNC cam software for machining of parts.  In addition we offer on-site CNC consultancy services, We have extensive experience In the  CNC woodworking industry and can help and advise you on your next machinery and software purchase, If you need help with CNC machine programming or if you run or are considering purchasing older CNC equipment, we have the knowledge and the software to help bring your equipment, up to date, and running at its maximum potential. November 2011  Biessenest CID compatibility is completed  After Extensive testing and liaising between Biesse Australia, local Biesse customers and the developer in France of Polyboard, we have now have full compatibility with the Biessenest Nesting CAM software via the CID file interface. Biessenest is the nesting version of Biesse’s popular Biesseworks software. and it allows for automated import of parts from design software such as Polyboard nesting and label printing.      The previous version of Polyboard while it generated machining files in the CID format it was limited really to PTP machines using Biessworks. In the new version of Polyboard we not only have full compatibility but also the ability to control nesting features right in Polyboard such as onion skinning. In addition Polyboard exports all the data fields that Biessenest uses and can print on the part labels including Edgebanding with the great feature of being able to show graphically the position of the edge around the part drawing on the label itself.  We worked on achieving this milestone after we received many inquires about our Cabinet design program from Biesse machine owners already using the Biessenest software. This software is very popular as it is often bundled with new machine purchases, so existing owners of Biesse machines who are already familiar with the software can continue to use it with the great addition of Polyboard as the 3D design user interface. Previously these Biessenest users are generating their programs parametrically using an Excel spreadsheet and then importing them into Biessenest for nesting and machine file generation.  Polyboard is a great boon to these manufactures who now with the powerful combination of Biessenest and Polyboard can create custom furniture and fit-outs very efficiently, and also have 3d images to help in selling their products.  Polyboard also produces MPR files for Homag’s Woodwop software, and XXL files for SCM / Morbidelli ‘s Xilog plus CAM software. While these files import as single part PTP programs, We are looking to increase our customer base to these machines, so If there are any manufacturers out there who are using these machines and are interested in our software range please get in touch an take advantage of our specials available to customers using these machines.  Don’t forget that Polyboard also produces the standard DXF format which is useful for importing into generic CAM programs like Enroute, Cadcode, as well as our own CAM software range. If anyone would like to be one of the first to test it out and take advantage of our early pricing please be in contact... December 2011  Benefits of saw optimisation.  One of the great aspects that comes out of talking and meeting with many companies and members of our industry, is that you get a feel for general conceptions  and mindsets that exist out there. The interesting thing is that many people out there seem to share the same feelings toward certain issues. Obviously my conversations relate around design automation and optimisation as it relates to the trades. I’ve come across quite a few so in the coming months I will go address each one individually, but in this article I wanted to talk about the benefits of Saw optimisations verses doing cutting lists by hand.  While most people see the advantages that an optimisation computer program (like our own Opticut) can provide for a larger company or even for a large contract job these still seems to be a persistent view that it can be to faster to simply to take each part on the cutting list one at a time and cut the required number of parts from the available material on hand. The first and indisputable benefit that will come from optimisation is the material saving. This can be significant, People often don’t realise just how much material can be saved by using a computer to tell you how to arrange your parts on a sheet rather than just saying “that job will be about a packs worth”   It is true that to get the maximum benefit from your optimised cutting pattern it will involve more of the operators time as more complex patterns will involve more ‘panel turnarounds’ and rotations that do consume more time than if the operator had simply set his fence for a particular measurement and then cut all parts of that size before moving onto the next size.  However, unless you are not concerned about waste at all, you should consider the time taken to go through your pile of offcuts and select the most appropriate piece to cut the next part out of. When this time is taken into account then the amount of extra time to handle rotations is really at a minimum and the material cost savings really become attractive.  In addition most good optimisation programs  give you control over the rotation verses cutting time efficiency.  In other words you can choose in the settings to either minimise panel turnarounds or eliminate them altogether. Increasing the rotation rate will lead to greater material yield (less sheets used) while decreasing the rate, will speed up cutting times. You also have control over ripping or cross-cutting; some people will like to make cuts along the length first while others like to cut across the width first, Also to lower cutting times you can select to have all your rips or cross cuts done first and then cut the smaller parts out of the strips. (commonly done on beamsaws) In any event, using a good optimisation program does not leave you at the mercy of the software, and the cutting patterns that it spits back at you, but rather you can control the software parameters so that it will create efficient layouts the way you want them.  The other concern that people have expressed to me, is that because optimisation usually produces a lot of individual saw setups and as parts may be spread across different sheets these will be a increase of operator measurement errors. Of course you can minimise the turnarounds rate and thereby reduce the amount of set-ups as we already described. The main point to note here is that if the spreading parts across different sheets is problematic because the result will be differences in part dimensions due to operator set-up errors, then a similar error made by the saw operator when he cuts all the parts in one go from the same sheet will just produce all the parts with the same incorrect dimension. Besides for the fact that if you can’t set your rip fence accurately then it is  probably time for a new saw anyway!   Obviously operator errors  do not exist when it comes to beamsaws, as with these saws all set-up is done by CNC controlled fences fences. In which case the only issue is the extra cutting time associated with panel turnarounds verses material savings gained by having tighter cutting layouts. I’ve also noticed that recently there is an increased number of workshops introducing CNC controlled panel saws which have two great benefits: one is that they will invariably decrease the number of operator  inaccuracies and two the actual set-up times themselves will be much quicker. When using these high end machines, the only room left for error  is for the operator to punch in the wrong numbers into the panel. These errors too can be totally eliminated with the latest machines from suppliers like Altendorf and Martin and by using optimisation software such as Opticut with CNC setup. These high end panel saws  have touch screens controllers that not only setup the fences for you abut the also allow you to download the cutting layouts directly onto the machine, eliminated operator input errors and saving you time again.   These touch screen CNC panel saws when coupled with good saw optimisation software, really give you the best of both worlds i.e. quick set-up times with no accuracy errors, while the combination also gives you  the highest yield from your material. The only thing to make sure is when you are purchasing these saws, that the supplier includes the saw to computer interface. However when it is all installed the system works seamlessly the parts are optimised in  Opticut which creates the layout patterns on a usb disk, and also printed (as above) with a bar-code. At the saw the bar-code scanner reads the code and loads the correct program.  Opticut can connect to both Martin and Altendorf panel saws.  Additionally when one does make the step into software optimisation they will also get the additional benefit of part labels. As anyone who has multiple jobs on their workshop floor and particularly when you are Edgebanding different jobs together part labeling really becomes important. whether or not you go for a high end CNC panel saw or beamsaw with a label printer built in or whether you print out your labels using the software optimisation software like Opticut you will wonder in time how you did without it.  Really all in all when you add up all the benefits of optimisation its really a clear decision to go for it that will give you the edge over your competition particularly if you have already invested in CNC panel cutting equipment.
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