Backboard Optimization Will Upgrade Your Sawing Game - TigerStop
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Backboard Optimization Will Upgrade Your Sawing Game


A saw station with Backboard Optimization is one of the highest-value propositions offered by TigerStop. Let’s find out why it’s one of the biggest bangs for your buck.

Backboard Optimization is a process developed and patented by TigerStop. It utilizes Dynamic Optimization software with a backfence ruler. It streamlines roughly 80 percent of the chop process and has a number of other incredible benefits that we’ll share with you in this blog post.

Backboard Optimization does the following:

  1. Eliminates set-up time and standardizes cutoff quality.
  2. Eliminates time spent tracking and sorting parts.
  3. Eliminates time required to achieve the best material yields from stock.
  4. Provides effective processing of lower-grade stock.

So What Is the Cutting Process Without Backboard Optimization?tigerstop-backboard-optimization-will-upgrade-your-sawing-game

The typical cabinet shop has a chop saw, tape measure, manual fence/stop block/clamp, and a paper cut list. It most likely uses expensive FAS material to achieve the highest material yields. Here is a snapshot of what the average process looks like:

  1. The sawyer takes a look at the cut list, finds the longest like pieces, and locates the clearest suitable material in the correct profile.
  2. The sawyer sets a manual stop, makes a nick in the part, and checks his measurement. He adjusts the manual stop as necessary.
  3. The sawyer cuts 1–4 pieces, provided he has decent vision, measured parts correctly, and used a good tape measure. Depending on whether the manual stop stays in position, the parts will generally be of good length.
  4. The sawyer uses a pencil to check the parts off of the cut list, marks the parts for ID, and then stacks the parts on a cart.
  5. The sawyer repeats steps 1–5, sorting through remnants and repeatedly making sure he’s throwing away the least amount of material as he moves from long parts to short parts.

That Doesn’t Sound So Bad?

What’s so awful about not using Backboard Optimization? Well, nothing. But, as you know, this upstream process requires some level of skill and concentration, and even then it’s not by any means human-error free. TigerStop’s goal is to make high quality achievable in a fraction of the time, and by anyone in the shop from the seasoned pro to the newly hired teen sweeping the floor.

What Is the Cutting Process With TigerStop Backboard Optimization?

With Backboard Optimization, the process is a bit different.

  1. The sawyer downloads the cut list into his TigerStop. It gives him an idea of how much material to stage for the job and what type of material to grab.
  2. The sawyer places his stock on the TigerStop’s infeed and makes a trim cut.
  3. The sawyer looks down the board to identify how long the stock is or the location of the first defect. (So far, the process is no different than before.)

    tigerstop-backboard-optimization-will-upgrade-your-sawing-game
    The TigerStop software calculates the best possible yield for the available clear stock.
  4. The sawyer enters the clear stock length into his TigerStop. The TigerStop software looks at the cut list requirements and calculates the best possible yield for the available clear stock. This happens within milliseconds.
  5. The sawyer then cuts his stock until he reaches the end of the board or the first defect. (Notice in the video, the stop automatically counts the parts cut and advances to the next position calculated by the TigerStop software.)
  6. If reaching the first defect, the sawyer will cut out the defect and repeat the process from step 3.
  7. If finished processing the board, the sawyer will place another board and repeat the process from step 3.
  8. The sawyer will start the process over at step 1once the TigerStop notifies him that the cut list is complete.

Why Is Backboard Optimization Better Than What You’re Already Doing?

Because the station effectively streamlines the entire cutoff process like so:

  • It eliminates guesswork and allows the sawyer to allot his time better and make more effective use of his skills.
  • The sawyer no longer spends his time trying to figure out if he’s looking at 1/8″ or if it is actually 5/32″.
  • There is zero measure time and there are zero judgment calls. He is in control.
  • The sawyer is no longer tracking parts, allowing even a novice sawyer to work at a pro’s cadence.
  • The sawyer is no longer trying to figure out material yields. Now the material yield is tied to his lumber supplier. This puts the lumber supplier in the hot seat, as the sawyer can now determine whether he’s getting the short end of the stick.
  • The sawyer simply pulls the cut list, makes a trim, chops until he reaches a defect or end, stacks parts, and repeats—a job well done and a great day because of it, and in a fraction of the time.

Check out this quick video to familiarize yourself with the Backboard Optimization process.

About the Video

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Backboard Optimization demonstration video.

The saw station in the video is new, but it wasn’t dialed in or shined up in any way. The video was thrown together to give you guys an idea of what a rough setup looks like. We estimate the performance to be that of a station that receives virtually no maintenance, with an operator that’s more focused on getting parts out the door rather than producing quality parts.

To create this realistic environment, our sawyer in the video did the following:

  • Checked the calibration halfway through the cut list.
  • Adjusted the saw angle halfway through the cut list.
  • Did not adjust the saw back fence for chip breaking. (Chip breaking is the mechanical support for the back of the cut in order to avoid the material blowing out or ripping.)
  • Varied the speed of his cuts. (Semi-automatic saws eliminate the possibility of quality variance, but as the saw in the video was manual, we mixed it up a bit to show a nice range.)

So How Did Our  Sawyer Do?

Working at a brisk but comfortable pace, cutting was completed in the video with the following statistics:

  • Total cut time: 2 minutes and 50 seconds
  • Parts cut: 24
  • Saw cycles: 33
  • 30″ stock length: 22.5 Linear Feet in 9 sticks

In an 8-hour day at 85 percent labor efficiency and at the cadence show in the video, our sawyer can move 3,250 linear feet of raw 30″ stock through his cutting station.

Using the Backboard Optimization process to defect lumber allows our sawyer to buy a greater mix of 1 Common material (cheaper material with greater defects) for face-frame stiles and leave the long clears for rails. He is also able to introduce scrap into his cut list first rather than cutting longest to shortest.

Think about your current sawyer. He’s probably incredibly skilled and making $20 an hour. He can be promoted to a position with a better return, and now that teen sweeping your shop floor can operate your cutoff station. Those $20/hour parts are more like $12/hour parts—and well, you’re getting 30 percent more of them.