Reasons to Transition from Manual/Die Cutting to Automated Leather Cutting

Monday, March 10, 2014Categories: Blog, Cutting Room

Transitioning from manual or die cutting of leather can seem daunting. For decades, automated leather cutter suppliers have helped companies of all sizes transition from die cutting or supplement existing die cutting with computer-controlled leather cutting. Seasoned sales and service professionals will start by understanding your needs, assessing your business requirements and suggesting automation solutions to address your individual needs.

Increase hide yields.

Automated leather cutting systems are founded on powerful computerized nesting engines that employ proven algorithms to maximize hide yield. They enable operators to identify flaw zones and use this information, along with other variables like part angle and leather stretch direction, to determine, with scientific precision, theoptimum nesting strategy for each hide. By taking into consideration multiple flaw zones, computer-aided nesting also ensures critical parts are cut only from the highest quality areas of the hide. 

Unlike die cutting, which requires space between dies, automated leather cutters cut full, half or remnant hides with no buffer between parts. They can easily cut parts with adjacent lines for maximum hide utilization. And, when compared to die cutting or tracing templates, field tests have shown users can realize yield improvements of as much as 10 percent.

Eliminate the hassle (and expense) of creating, maintaining and storing dies and templates.

Dies are time-consuming and expensive to manufacture, deteriorate with daily use, require periodic sharpening and consume valuable floor space to store. Operations typically require multiple sets of duplicate dies or templates, which are cumbersome to manage and track. In automotive operations, manufacturers are required to store dies for years after production to accommodate recuts. And, qualifying dies for production can be tedious. Each time there is a design change, templates must be modified and re-qualified. These aren’t optimum conditions for an agile manufacturing operation faced with meeting challenging deadlines for made-to-order products or programs that change regularly. With automated leather cutting, all of these issues become a distant memory.

undefinedGet accurate hide measurements and other critical metrics that drive business improvement.

With computer-controller leather cutters, manufacturers can digitally record the details of every hide, including total hide area, usable area as well as area lost to defects. By comparing these figures with hide area figures stamped on the back of hides and negotiating more effectively with hide suppliers, users often realize significant savings.

In addition, automated leather cutters deliver comprehensive data including cutting, scanning and nesting times, number of parts cut, number of units cut, system idle time and more. This information enables managers to track work in progress and identify opportunities to improve processes.

Accelerate prototyping.

Manual or die cutting can significantly impede the prototyping process. With automated leather cutting, design changes flow directly from the CAD system to the leather cutter so transitioning from prototyping to production is fast and easy.

undefinedReduce labor costs and the need for skilled labor.

Efficient leather cutting with dies is reliant on an individual’s capacity to visually analyze the shape of a hide and determine the most efficient placement of dies or templates to optimize hide utilization. This process is essentially subjective and can fluctuate from day to day or person to person.

It is often challenging to find individuals who are experienced with nesting parts efficiently to maximize hide yield. When skilled workers are available, they command higher wages than non-skilled workers. Because automated leather cutters nest parts automatically and are easy to learn and use, you not only reduce labor costs significantly by hiring fewer skilled workers but you also get consistent results that are not dependent on the performance of one or two individuals.

Ensure consistent cut part quality.

When dies become dull from overuse, edges of cut parts are compromised and quality suffers. With Gerber's Taurus II, the reciprocating Pivex® knife and the rotary blade always cut precisely. And, state-of-the-art knife technology enables users to cut more notches and more notch shapes, including internal and external slit, V, U and castle notches.

In addition, recutting parts for replacement or "make up" by hand or with dies is time consuming and inefficient. Taurus nests parts to be recut within existing production jobs to maximize yield without interrupting workflow.

Improve worker safety.

Worker safety is always a concern. Cutting leather by hand involves significant repetitive motion and that can result in bodily strain and injury and often contributes to worker’s compensation claims. Workers are required to either trace templates by hand or carry heavy dies from station to station and then extend their reach to place them on hides – all of which contributes to fatigue and strain. In addition, dies are sharp and can cause injury. Automated leather cutting systems eliminate all of these concerns and, in many operations, reduces worker’s compensation costs.