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Lantek and BCAM collaborate to revolutionize part nesting calculation for sheet metal cutting

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Jose A. Lozano, Scientific Director for BCAM
CINCINNATI - eTradeWire -- Lantek, a multi-national pioneer in the digital transformation of the sheet metal and metal industry, has entered into a collaborative agreement with the Basque Center for Applied Mathematics (BCAM).

BCAM is an international research center specializing in the field of Applied Mathematics. It was pioneered in 2008 by the Basque Government, the University of the Basque Country, and Ikerbasque. BCAM is supported by the Provincial Government of Bizkaia and Innobasque. It has a workforce of over 90 high-level researchers in different areas, from data science to mathematical modeling.

The agreement reached by both organizations focuses on developing new models of applied mathematics and algorithms. It will enable metal forming industries to reach high levels of calculation efficiency. The collaboration seeks to resolve the calculation of machining and optimization of the consumption of material. This area is exceedingly complex for manufacturers trying to achieve maximum machine efficiency.

As a starting point, the collaboration will explore new avenues for parts nesting. In the industrial world, the nesting process strives to maximize use of material. By configuring and arranging pieces of sheet metal for optimal cutting, manufacturers avoid material waste and improve machine cutting time. The agreement may bring about significant advances, contributing to the efficiency of the sheet metal industry.

Since its creation, Lantek's objective has been excellence in software engineering. They achieve this through developing products and applying knowledge of mathematical models which provide better solutions for the sheet metal and fabrication industry.  To this end, one of its main research areas focuses on optimizing 2D part layout on a large rectangular sheet in the shortest time possible. This minimizes waste material.

This collaboration will result in the development of an advanced algorithm that achieves the optimization of 2D nesting from various approaches. The researchers from the Computational Mathematics group at BCAM have extensive experience in geometric modeling and optimizing. They're pouring their knowledge into the Lantek collaboration with the following objectives:

•  Design an efficient algorithm for the problem of parts nesting in 2D

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•  Design discreet pairing measures

•  Improve the current method, which uses the representation of areas (pixels), through boundary representation

•  Develop software which increases the speed of calculations and optimizes material management

The current method focuses on improving the geometrical representation of objects and optimizing the search for local solutions between the vertexes of different parts. According to Michael Barton, lead project researcher at BCAM, from the mathematical and computational point of view, a challenge the collaboration faces is obtaining a very precise solution while keeping the rasterization size to a minimum. This will streamline the algorithm and avoid excessive computing times.

"Lantek has always been at the forefront, with software solutions such as Lantek Expert. Expert provides a solution for the nesting and cutting of parts for companies in the sheet metal and fabrication sector. Thanks to this collaboration with BCAM, we're adding a powerful R&D resource to our organization for research into mathematical problems in general and, specifically, for the improvement of nesting. During the collaborative research with BCAM we will focus on designing an effective algorithm that optimizes the use of space and minimizes both the waste of sheet material and the time spent on calculations," explained Alberto López de Biñaspre, CEO of Lantek.

The scientific director at BCAM, Jose A. Lozano, states that the transfer of knowledge to industry has been one of the Center's priorities from the outset. They have created the Knowledge Transfer Unit (KTU), "a platform for developing mathematical solutions for scientific challenges based on real-life applications and collaboration with the industry." He explains that these collaborations present themselves in the form of "strategic agreements, R&D projects, joint ventures, training courses, mentoring of Master and PHD students, and the organization of outreach activities."

The agreement also envisages the international placement for a PHD student to collaborate with research staff at Lantek. The student will research the possibilities and evaluate the best algorithm, in terms of applicability and results obtained from concept tests. The estimated duration of the project is 4 years, followed by the publication of a doctoral thesis.

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"Backing innovation is in our DNA. It plays a pivotal role in our annual R&D investment, which is well above average for our sector. We are confident that this collaboration with BCAM will bring about significant nesting improvements for our clients that will allow them to reduce scrap metal in a reasonable timeframe," added the CEO of Lantek.


About Lantek Sheet Metal Solutions

Lantek pioneered Industry 4.0 solutions for the Sheet Metal Fabrication Industry. Their solutions include CAD/CAM Nesting, MES, ERP and they specialize in integrating software for Smart Factories. Lantek is globally headquartered in the Basque Country of Spain. Having over 30 years of experience, Lantek supports more than 20,000 customers in 100 countries. Lantek has offices in 14 countries. Lantek's U.S. Headquarters is in Mason, OH.

Founded in 1986 in the Basque Country (Spain), one of the main European hubs of machine tool development, Lantek enables the integration of sheet metal and metal processing technologies using the most advanced manufacturing management software. The company is currently the outstanding leader in its sector thanks to its capacity for innovation and commitment to internationalization. With more than 20,000 customers in over 100 countries and 20 offices in 14 countries, it has an extensive network of distributors with an international presence. In 2017, its international business contributed to 86% of its revenue.

For more information, visit: www.lanteksms.com/us

About the Basque Center for Applied Mathematics – BCAM

The Basque Center for Applied Mathematics - BCAM is an international research center in the field of Applied Mathematics that was founded in 2008 by the Basque Government, the UVP/EHU and Ikerbasque. It is also supported by the Provincial Government of Bizkaia and Innobasque. One of its main objectives is to place mathematics at the service of society through the transfer of knowledge, making the results of its research available to sectors such as biosciences, health, energy or advanced manufacturing, and working together with local and international institutions and companies.

It currently has a workforce of over 90 researchers from 25 nationalities who work in different areas, from data science or computational mathematics to mathematical modeling. BCAM has been accredited as a "Severo Ochoa" center of excellency for the second consecutive year by the State Research Bureau, a distinction that is granted to the best research institutions in the world in their field.

For more information, visit: www.bcamath.org

Kevin Must

Source: Lantek Systems, Inc.
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