Latest PC-Topp.NET Developments
Published 23.03.2012

Dealing with Underrun Orders at the PC-Topp.NET Machine Terminal

PC-Topp.NET Machine Terminal: Split OrderIn order to optimize work at the PC-Topp.NET Machine Terminal the functionality for splitting an underrun order has been modified.

The new workflow makes for better understanding of what has to be done in case of remaining quantities, easier handling of split orders, and generally improved usability. What’s more, built-in intelligence prevents you from saving incorrect quantities by ensuring that you can only close an order if all quantities are correctly assigned.

In the past the Machine Terminal used to ask if you want to split underrun orders to run the missing quantity at a later point of time, or declare them finished anyway. Thus the total of the remaining sheets either became a new split order or was added to the waste of this order. Those quantities couldn’t be modified.


What’s New?

Now if you want to close an underrun order the system offers you two options:

If there is a large quantity remaining If only a small part of the order is left
PC-Topp.NET Machine Terminal: Split Order - Large Remaining Quantity PC-Topp.NET Machine Terminal: Split Order - Small Remaining Quantity

You can use the convenient one-click Split / Waste functionality assigning the full quantity of remaining sheets

  • either to a newly created order going to stock or conversion
  • or to the waste amount for this order.

Alternatively you can freely distribute the split and waste quantities yourself by entering them manually.

For a quick start guide to the changes to the Close Order functionality in the Palletisation tab of the Machine Terminal please refer to the PDF document

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Dealing with Underrun Orders
at the PC-Topp.NET Machine Terminal
Published 23.02.2012

New PDF Order Production Card

PC-Topp.NET Production CardThe PC‑Topp.NET Production Card accumulates all information that PC‑Topp has about an order in one single document. You can have all the order details that you always had to search for in different parts of the system at your fingertips now.

The Production Card consists of three main sections:

  • Basic order data
    E.g. order number, customer name, due date, format, ordered vs. shipped quantity etc.
  • A compact overview of the order’s production steps
    One block of production data per machine that the order and all of its parts have already run on shows the most relevant figures like production date and time, the number of products into and out of the machine, quantities, area produced, downtime, set-up and run time etc.
  • In-depth production information by machine for the order
    Starting with the corrugator, the third section lists detailed production figures including shift and crew information, scheduled vs. good quantities, waste, downtimes and their causes, quality checks with execution times and results etc. for all of an orders runs on the respective machines.

You can access the PC‑Topp.NET Production Card via the “Find Orders in Production History” link. If you prefer to use the old Look Up Orders in Statistics program instead of the Production Card just click the link in the bottom of the page (below “Save as Excel File”).

Categories: Order Management | Reporting

Published 07.12.2011

Machine Terminal: Option to Enforce Completing all Quality Checks before Shift Change

At the Machine Terminal, operators have a set time limit to do a quality check from the moment it has become due.

As it can happen that one or several quality checks become due just minutes before the shift change, PC-Topp allows those checks to be entered by the next crew, after the shift change.

In some environments, however, it may be preferable to force the crew to finish all pending quality checks before they are able to close the shift, so a new setting has been created to do so.

Published 01.12.2011

Define Downtime Cause for Machine Stops at Order End

When a machine stops, the crew has two activities:

  • Prepare the machine for the next order in order to start production again as quickly as possible, 
  • Finalize palletizing and counting the order that has ended and enter the result into the terminal.

By default, PC-Topp assumes that the set-up for the next order starts at the exact moment when the machine stops for the last time in an order. The crew can press the End of Order button (and also the Start Set-Up button) at any time, the ending time of the order is always recorded as the moment when the machine has stopped, and the starting time of the next order equals that time.

However, some customers have a different view:

At the end of the order, the crew takes some time to “remove the old order from the machine”, a time that varies from order to order and should not be counted as part of the next order’s set-up. The next order’s set-up should only start at the exact moment when End of Order is pressed for the preceding one. The time between the moment the machine has stopped and End of Order is considered as a downtime (with always the same cause, e.g. "Downtime at the end of the order").

By entering a "Default Downtime Cause* at Order End" in the PC-Topp.NET DataSet Parameters, that new behavior can be activated. The time between the stop of the machine and the moment the crew presses End of Order is then recorded as a downtime with the corresponding downtime cause taken from that parameter.


* This downtime cause at order end is different from the optional Default Downtime Cause which is automatically assigned to all unspecified downtimes.

Published 30.11.2011

New Report on Ink Color Requirements

PC-Topp.NET Ink Color Requirements ReportThe report gives an overview of orders to produce for the respective ink color codes for the next month, showing day details for the fortnight to come and totals for week 3 and 4.

With this report it is easy to see when there are orders to produce for the respective ink color codes, the quantities to produce and the required ink quantities. In descending order, the figures in the cells give the number of orders, the orders’ total surface area to produce (in 1000 m²) and the weight of the necessary amount of ink (in kg) for the corresponding period.

Categories: Reporting

Published 08.11.2011

New PC‑Topp.NET Machine Monitor

The freshly created Machine Monitor is part of the PC‑Topp.NET HD TV Monitor Framework which consists of screens designed for display on HD TV monitors mounted above the machines on the shop floor.

PC-Topp.NET Machine MonitorThe Machine Monitor lets you keep in view the performance of several machines at a time. It can be configured to display performance data for as many machines as the monitor size allows. In our example, for each machine the current order is shown along with the machine speed, the run duration, the crew leader, and the machine’s performance diagram for the current shift so the supervisor and the machine crews can see at a glance how the machines are doing.

But the information available on the Machine Monitor isn’t limited to the example above. The data to be displayed can be easily customized, and personalized versions of the Machine Monitor can be created at relatively low costs. Depending on your individual requirements you could show e.g. the machine schedules, any of the order and shift related performance figures in the PC‑Topp.NET Plant Overview, OEE or performance diagrams from statistics etc. There are few limits to your imagination; you can make the Machine Monitor display just about any production information you find relevant or interesting, as well as text messages, images etc.

More Information on the HD TV Monitor Framework and on implementations done so far:

Published 31.10.2011

PC-Topp.NET Event Messaging System with New Events

Since the introduction of the PC-Topp.NET Event Messaging system one year ago several new event types have been implemented to further increase the scope of situations the system can monitor. PC-Topp.NET can now also send alerts for the following situations.

New Events

  • Supervisor Required
    A user is executing an action requiring supervisor approval, e.g. certain types of quality checks.
  • Call Supervisor
    If a user executes an action that requires authorization by a supervisor a button saying “Call Supervisor” is displayed in the upper left corner of the PC-Topp.NET authentication dialog. Clicking this button triggers a message to the supervisor calling him to the machine where the action has been executed.
  • Overrun of Available Quantity
    More sheets than available have been fed into a machine.
  • No Shift Open But Machine Is Running
    PC-Topp receives a machine counter signal even though there is no open shift on the specified machine(s).
  • User Signs in Who Has to Read the Safety Instructions
    A crew member who is obliged to read the safety instructions signs in at the specified machine(s). For more details on this functionality see the post Protect Yourself from Damages Claims with Safety Instructions Functionality
  • Shift Record Broken 
    A machine crew has surpassed a given record value defined in the settings of one of the machines. This can be an interesting incentive to spur the staff’s competitive spirit.
  • Pallet Label Reprinted
    A pallet label which has already been printed is printed again. An authorized person must confirm that it actually replaces the original label to ensure that there aren’t two identical labels attached to different pallets.
  • Periodical Event
    This event can be used like a scheduler, i.e. you can make the system automatically execute an action at certain intervals, e.g. send the latest shift report at shift end.
  • Communication Control Events
    A Communication Control task cannot be executed, i.e. there is a potential system problem.

(For a full list of all PC-Topp events please refer to PC-Topp.NET Events & Actions: Event Types)

New Option for Sending Event Messages

PC-Topp Event Settings: Send Event Message Only to Users Signed into PC-ToppIn addition to the new events, you can now specify if a PC-Topp.NET alert message should only be sent if the recipient is signed into PC-Topp. This prevents urgent messages or messages that are interesting only within a certain time frame from being sent even though currently there is no one to react.


New Events on Demand

By now the PC-Topp.NET event Messaging system has become a powerful instrument for monitoring a broad range of critical or interesting events in production or in the system. Moreover it can easily be made to meet customer needs by creating specific events tailored to a customer’s requirement. We gladly take any suggestions on further event types at info@pctopp.com or tel. ++49 (911) 994000

Categories: Event Messaging

Published 24.10.2011

New Report on Work in Progress

PC-Topp.NET Work in Progress Report

There is a new report that gives you a detailed overview over the current work in progress for the conversion machines sorted by flute type. The report shows all orders that currently are in production, i.e. not fully finished.

It contains information about previous machine, order start date, article number, board grade, ordered quantity, number of finished goods and sheets, area and weight, with price per piece and value.

That way you can see at a glance where you need to take action to reduce work in progress.

Published 18.10.2011

Workaround for PC-Topp.NET Issues Caused by Internet Explorer 9 Memory Problem

As a temporary workaround for the Internet Explorer 9 memory hogging problem described earlier, PC-Topp Terminal pages will automatically refresh every 60 minutes, causing a momentary flicker, and potentially displaying the start page of the terminal (and not the page that was last being viewed). We do however watch out for ongoing user interaction and delay the refresh until we are have not seen any user interaction with the page for a reasonable time.

This workaround now makes it possible to use Internet Explorer 9 with PC-Topp's terminal pages without suffering the effects of long term memory loss inside Internet Explorer 9.

However, any other problems Internet Explorer 9 still has will not disappear with this trick, so users may still experience browser failures and similar effects in PC-Topp under IE9, the same effects Internet Explorer 9 users experience in popular Internet services like Google's www.gmail.com.

Categories: General | Administration

Published 17.10.2011

Optional Automatic Sign-In for Crew Leaders

From now on PC‑Topp can automatically sign in the crew leader at the beginning of a shift. This saves him the trouble of having to sign in explicitly which is sometimes forgotten.

This optional feature can be activated in the Dataset Parameters.

Published 10.10.2011

PC-Topp.NET Issues Caused By Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer 9

When working with PC-Topp.NET in Internet Explorer 9 you may face difficulties like unexpectedly high memory usage or browser crashes.

These are Internet Explorer 9 specific problems; in Internet Explorer 8 PC-Topp.NET is stable and runs with the usual reliabilty.

Microsoft has admitted the memory hogging problem in Internet Explorer 9 (see http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2572253/en-us); concerning the browser crashes a Microsoft statement is still pending.

Our developers are currently trying to find a workaround. However, in the meantime resp. as long as there is no official Microsoft fix we recommend using PC-Topp.NET with Internet Explorer 8. We will inform you via this blog as soon as there is a solution available.

 

Internet Explorer Add-Ons

No matter which version of Internet Explorer you are using, Internet Explorer add-ons can cause performance and stability problems in PC-Topp.NET.

Therefore, we advise you to disable all Internet Explorer add-ons like search engine toolbars, social networking tools etc., except those you absolutely need.

You can find instructions on how to disable add-ons here:
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-vista/Internet-Explorer-add-ons-frequently-asked-questions

Categories: General | Administration

Published 30.09.2011

Downtime Cause Analysis Report

PC-Topp.NET Downtime Cause Analysis ReportThe Downtime Cause Analysis report offers a graphical overview of a selected downtime cause or group on corrugator and conversion machines during a selectable period, including figures as well as total and average downtime duration. It can be grouped by shift, day, week or month. You can select either one specific downtime cause or a group of downtime causes to be displayed.

Published 27.09.2011

New Reports on Machine and Crew Leader Performance

For getting a better overview of the overall performance of machines and crew leaders the following four new reports have been implemented:

Overall Machine Performance

PC-Topp.NET Overall Machine Performance ReportThis report shows performance indicators by machine over a period of one year, with performance per month, totals, and target for the selected year. Performance diagrams illustrate the figures.


Overall Machine Performance by Crew Leader

PC-Topp.NET Overall Machine Performance by Crew Leader Report

This report is almost identical to the Overall Machine Performance report but it additionally shows figures for the crew leaders.


Overall Crew Leader Performance

PC-Topp.NET Overall Crew Leader Performance Report

The Overall Crew Leader Performance report shows performance indicators by crew leader for the selected period compared with average values since the beginning of the year. The report contrasts the crew leader’s monthly performance values with the average of the year. Graphical indicators show if the crew leader performance has improved or changed for the worse.

Published 12.09.2011

Protect Yourself from Damages Claims with Safety Instructions Functionality

Imagine one of the machine operators in your plant has an accident due to issues warned against in the safety instructions provided to the crew. How to prove to your insurance company that he has disregarded or failed to read them?

What It Is Good for

This is where the new Safety Instructions functionality at the PC-Topp.NET Machine Terminal and Multi Machine Terminal comes into play:

  • It forces crew members who haven't signed in at a machine for a certain period of time to take note of important information (e.g. reminders to wear safety clothes, hints on things to keep in mind or changes in the workflow etc).
  • It allows you to prove that a crew member has acknowledged important information so you aren't liable for damages incurred through non-observance.

How It Works

  • Safety Instructions at the PC-Topp.NET Machine TerminalIf a crew member who hasn’t signed in at a machine for the specified number of days signs in at the Machine Terminal a dialog prompts him to read the safety instructions for this machine.
  • This dialog appears if the safety instructions file has been modified, too. Everybody who signs in at the machine for the first time after the modification is prompted to read the changed safety instructions.
  • At the same time the feature demands confirmation by a superior that the person in question has done so, thus guaranteeing that users really view relevant information and don't just skip the dialog.
  • The Safety Instructions feature is best used in conjunction with the PC-Topp.NET Messaging functionality. It can alert the supervisor by email or text message in real time that a crew member has to read the safety instructions, thereby automatically creating written evidence of the procedure.
  • Moreover, when the supervisor comes to the workstation of the person in question to give his confirmation he can print out two copies of the safety instructions, have the person in question sign both, and file one copy in the crew member's personal record.

If the new feature is used as outlined above, your personnel is kept up-to-date on important information, and at the same time the fact that staff members have received this information is fully documented to protect you against unjustified claims.

How to Switch It On

To activate this feature you have to:

  • Upload a safety instructions file to the PC-Topp server via the Machine Settings page (Machine Terminal tab),
  • Define how much time has to pass after the last sign-in of a crew member for the safety instructions to be displayed (in the DataSet Parameters, Machine Terminal tab).
Published 29.08.2011

New Plant Wide Waste Report Available

PC-Topp.NET Waste ReportWe have created a new report which summarizes waste by corrugator and conversion machines, with totals for the whole plant.

It gives production key figures and all incurred waste in finished goods and m² or kg, including detailed waste reasons (if configured).

Published 05.08.2011

Calculate Exact Die-Cut Waste with New Machine Terminal Option

PC-Topp.NET Machine Terminal: Enter Sheet WeightPC-Topp now gives you close control of the amount of die-cut waste occurred during production at the PC-Topp.NET Machine Terminal.

This optional new feature prompts the user to enter the sheet weight before and after production before allowing him to close an order. From the difference between these two figures you can easily calculate the die-cut waste of this order.

In the production statistics, the die-cut waste appears in the PC-Topp.NET Plant Performance Report.

To enable this feature, some PC-Topp parameters have to be modified so if you want to use it please contact the PC-Topp team.

Published 05.08.2011

Capacity Reservations in PC-Topp.NET

PC-Topp.NET Capacity ReservationsIn corrugated plants, a high percentage of all orders comes from a small number of customers who place orders in a regular pattern, but often very late, only a short time before production starts.

Obviously, Sales must keep capacity free for those guaranteed orders until they arrive. With Capacity Reservations, the known required capacity can be reserved machine by machine, and the reserved capacity is automatically released when the actual orders arrive. The TGV Machine Load then shows the remaining free capacity for other orders, and does not create a false impression of too little work where machines are actually almost fully loaded.

Capacity Reservations can be made in several different categories:

Customer Reservations are the most relevant of those categories. The system knows the number of hours to be blocked per week (or per day) for each customer and each machine, and automatically applies the same standard reservations for each new week.

Stock Reservations are an example of other categories for which capacity can be reserved.

The Planning Reservation finally allows Planning to keep a safety margin on selected (or all) machines. Contrary to the other reservations, that number of hours is never released automatically, but Planning must do so manually when they feel the time has come.

To let PC-Topp know for which orders it must release a corresponding part of the reservation when the order arrives, the order must be marked by a Reservation Code in the order data transfer. That code can be, for example, S for the Stock Reservations, and C for the Customer Reservations: An order that has a reservation code C for one of the special customers for which there can be reservations (the "Service Customers") reduces the capacity reserved for that customer, an order with an S reserves the Stock Reserve.

(That means that an order for a service customer without the C will not affect the reservation, which is exactly right when a Service Customer places some extra order, which should not reduce the room reserved for the regular orders of that customer.)

The Capacity Reservations page visualizes the reservations and the resulting machine load in a TGV-like timeline as well as in a bar diagram to make it as easy as possible to identify bottlenecks and available capacity.

Published 02.08.2011

Production Summary with Passes and Products

PC-Topp.NET Production SummaryWe have created a variation of the PC‑Topp.NET Production Summary which shows the same data as the original report but gives the number of finished goods in products as well as in passes. (The Production Summary displays passes only.)

Published 21.07.2011

PDF Report on Pallet Requirements

PC-Topp.NET Pallet Requirement ReportThe pallet requirements can now be downloaded in PDF format for printout, emailing etc.

They are available in summary form as well as in full detail in the toolbox of the Pallet Requirements page.

Categories: Palletisation | Reporting

Published 15.07.2011

Better Visibility of Machine Performance on Plant Summary Page

PC-Topp.NET Plant Summary Machine Performance ColorsNow you can see the machine performance on the plant summary page at a glance because the speed is now displayed in different colors. The following colors indicate the relation between actual speed (including downtimes) and planning capacity (defined in the Conversion Machine settings):

  • Red – Actual speed is more than 20% lower than planning capacity
  • Bright Blue – Actual speed is more than 20% greater than planning capacity
  • Dark Blue – Actual speed is within tolerance
Published 13.07.2011

Easier Overview of Quality Checks at the Machine Terminal

PC-Topp.NET Machine Terminal: New Quality Check ViewThe list of quality checks during the current shift at the PC-Topp.NET Machine Terminal has been enhanced so that you can now optionally display it either vertically as usual or horizontally in a more graphical style.

The new horizontal view is rather graphical than textual and therefore more or less self-explaining. With its economical layout, clear organization and color codes, it provides a well-structured overview of the shift's quality checks.

  • The overview can show more quality checks at a time because the quality checks are listed in a timeline, additionally organized by check type (rather than just by chronological order as before).
  • Whether upcoming, pending, or already performed, all quality checks remain in view (whereas in the vertical layout you see mostly the pending and upcoming ones).
  • The status of the quality checks is instantly visible thanks to their color codes which are similar to the PC-Topp order status colors:
    • Yellow – Upcoming quality checks
    • Blue – Due / imminent quality checks
    • Gray – Performed quality checks
    • Red – Expired quality checks
    Additionally, failed quality checks are marked in red, passed quality checks in green:
    qualchecks2

You can switch the quality checks to the new view in the Machine Terminal tab of the DataSet Parameters page:
PC-Topp.NET Machine Terminal: Quality check display settings

Published 05.07.2011

Suspended Orders Marked in Conversion Machine Scheduling

Due to their pink background color, orders flagged as "Forbidden" by Planning or Sales clearly stand out in the machine schedule of the PC‑Topp.NET Conversion Machine Scheduling page. As of now, you can spot orders flagged as "Suspended" by Planning or Sales more easily, too: They are displayed with a pink order number.

Orders Suspended by Sales or Planning Marked in Pink

Published 04.07.2011

Plant Summary: More Details on Machine Performance

New Detailed View in PC-Topp.NET Plant Summary In the PC‑Topp.NET Plant Summary you can now click the Plus icon in the upper right corner of any machine box to open a dialog displaying more performance figures for this machine.

In addition to the information shown in the machine overview, in this new dialog you will find:

  • More orders from the machine schedule
  • More details for those orders
  • Production times and OEE of the displayed shifts
  • Performance details of the current order
Published 30.06.2011

Users Can Change Printers for Pallet Labels Themselves Now

So far PC‑Topp has allowed only administrators to create and manage the configurations for pallet label printing in the plant (via the classical Pallet Label Assignments program). There can be numerous such configurations for specific workstations, individual users, or groups of users, e.g. for use by planners or supervisors, for printing internal and external pallet labels etc.

However, in everyday work sometimes those configurations must be modified while there is no administrator available, e.g. if the default label printer breaks down during the night shift.

PC-Topp.NET Label Printing Assignment PageTherefore we have created the new PC-Topp.NET Pallet Label Printer Settings page which allows ordinary users to do just that: They can select a different printer for any label printing configuration so they needn't rely exclusively on the system administrator for this simple task anymore. (Only printers preconfigured in the Pallet Label Assignments are available for selection.)

You can find the Pallet Label Printer Settings page in the PC-Topp.NET Service menu.

Published 07.06.2011

Configuration of Color Set-Up Times Extended

In the PC-Topp.NET Machine Settings, you can now configure set-up times for up to seven different ink colors. (Before this was restricted to max. four ink colors.)

This way the set-up time for orders with four or more ink colors can be calculated more precisely than before and thus the total work time calculation is more accurate.

Categories: Order Duration

Published 23.05.2011

New PC-Topp Support Email Address

We are currently reorganizing our customer response management to further improve our customer support in terms of reaction time and solution quality. In order to streamline our handling of customer inquiries we have introduced a new central e-mail address for support requests. As of now, please exclusively use this e-mail address if you need our support.


Nouvelle adresse de support de PC-Topp

Afin d’améliorer notre support concernant le temps de réaction et la qualité des solutions nous avons réorganisé le système de réponses de nos clients.  Nous avons introduit une adresse e-mail centrale spécialement conçue pour les demandes de support : Désormais, veuillez utiliser uniquement cette adresse si vous avez besoin  de notre support.


Neue Mailadresse für den PC-Topp-Support

Wir reorganisieren derzeit unser Kundenreaktionsmanagement, um unseren Kundensupport im Hinblick auf Antwortgeschwindigkeit und Qualität der angebotenen Lösungen zu verbessern. Zur Optimierung der Bearbeitung von Kundenanfragen haben wir eine neue zentrale E-Mail-Adresse für Support-Anfragen eingerichtet. Bitte wenden Sie sich ab sofort ausschließlich an diese Adresse, wenn Sie per E-Mail Support anfordern möchten.

support@pctopp.com

Alternatively you can give us a call on / Ou bien vous pouvez nous appeler au / Oder rufen Sie uns an unter +49 (911) 994000

Categories: General

Published 12.05.2011

Define When Machine Terminal Switches from Set-Up to Run

So far the PC-Topp.NET Machine Settings only allowed you to define when the machine should switch from status “Running” to “Stopped” (in sheets), and this value was used to determine a status change from “Set-Up” to “Running” as well.

PC-Topp.NET Machine Terminal Settings: Transition Set-Up - RunningAs this might be disadvantageous for certain machines the PC-Topp.NET Machine Settings now offer a new option where you can specifically define when the machine should change from “Set-Up” to “Running”.

(If you leave this field blank the software will use the value given for “Stopped” > “Running” for both “Stopped” > “Running” and “Set-Up” > “Running” as before. )

Published 14.04.2011

Password Protected Actions More Comfortable at Machine Terminal

In the past, if you wanted to execute a password protected action at the PC-Topp.NET Machine Terminal you had to re-enter your password for each following restricted action as well which could be quite bothersome.

This policy has been changed to make consecutive restricted actions easier: After a user has authenticated himself for a password protected action his user rights remain extended for one minute so he doesn’t have to enter his credentials again for the next restricted action.

Published 12.04.2011

New PDF Report on Paper Changes

Paper Change StatisticsThe PDF version of the classical Paper Change Statistics report is now available in the Corrugator section (Paper Related Reports) of the PC‑Topp.NET Statistics page.

Published 12.04.2011

Complete Overview of Order Comments at Machine Terminal

So far, article comments, special instructions etc. used to be immediately visible at the PC‑Topp.NET Machine Terminal only up to a certain length.

In order to make all comments attached to an order readable at a glance, a Comments sub tab has been added to the Machine Terminal Orders tab. There you now find a structured list of all special instructions, article comments, customer complaints, and extra customer information entries for the current order.

And what’s more, the order comments sent via OTDATA (which were missing until now) are displayed in this new tab as well.

Published 16.03.2011

Corrugator Performance Always in View

corrspeed1A new display for corrugator key performance figures has been implemented in PC-Topp.NET which is designed for large screens mounted overhead on the shop floor. This interface is part of the PC-Topp.NET HD TV monitor project which aims to create a variety of large scale displays for showing all kinds of live production data and message texts on large scale HD TV screens on the shop floor.

Benefits

With its clear structure, large characters, and vivid colors the new interface allows easily viewing machine status, alerts, messages etc. even from a distance and keeps everybody up to date on corrugator production. It offers some substantial advantages over the usual production information displays mounted next to the corrugator controls.

  • Machine operators can closely monitor corrugator production without having to stay next to the machine controls.
  • No matter where the members of the machine crew are working, everybody can see in advance when the next change of flute type, board grade etc. is due so the team can better prepare for a smooth transition.
  • Everybody at the corrugator is immediately alerted to downtimes.
  • Supervisors and all staff at the machine can effortlessly get information on corrugator performance with just a glance at the overhead display at all times, without having to leave their workstation.

Customizable Range of Production Figures

corrspeed2There is a wide scope of production information available for displaying with the new feature. The figures and texts to be shown can be easily personalized according to customers’ needs. Some possibilities would be:

  • Production Figures of the Current Shift, e.g.
    • Current speed
    • Program number, board grade, roll size, flute
    • Total meters produce and average meters per minute for the current run and shift respectively
    • A forecast of meters to produce until the next change of board grade, roll size, or flute type
    • Shift duration
  • Production Figures of Previous Shifts
    • Shift duration, total meters produced, average meters per minute
  • Current Order
    • Order number
    • Customer name
    • Sheet size
    • Quantity
  • Downtime or Off-Line Alerts
  • Freely Configurable Messages

The displayed information can optionally be toggled in certain intervals, e.g. from production times to produced and scheduled quantities or other information of interest, or even between production figures and announcements or text messages for special occasions like visitors in the plant etc. The interface is available both in portrait and in landscape format.

How to Get the New Extra Large Display

Basically, all you need is a license, an idea of what you want to display, and a large screen. So if you are interested in taking advantage of the new possibilities provided by this functionality, please get in touch with us: Contact the PC-Topp Team

More PC-Topp.NET HD TV Monitor Screens

Published 10.03.2011

HD TV Monitor Framework: Production Key Data Right before Everybody’s Eyes

Large High Definition television screens can be used as inexpensive giant PC monitors. Take one such screen and add it to an older PC hidden somewhere in the wings, and you have a powerful way to present live information that can be read from a distance, like the monitors showing departures and arrivals in airports.

In PC‑Topp, “Monitor” is the term we use for displays showing live information on a permanent basis, with no user interaction.

PC-Topp.NET HD TV Corrugator Speed MonitorOur HD TV Monitor Framework makes it easy for us to design custom displays like the ones shown in the examples here, at a low nominal license fee. Choose one of the existing designs “as is”, or have it modified to fit your needs and ideas, or create screens following your own ideas.

Examples:

  • Corrugator
    Show current speed, meters remaining to next order / grade / roll size / flute type change.
  • Palletizer
    Show orders arriving from conversion along with required pallet type and size.
  • Sales Office
    Show TGV Machine Load, critical or late orders, message of the day in alternating screens.
  • Supervisor Office
    Show Plant Summary with production progress and events on all machines.
  • Shipping
    Show Trucks being loaded along with their loading lists.

Any production data or other relevant information can be displayed on-screen, depending on your requirements.

The Corrugator Performance screen is the first interface in the HD TV monitor series; more implementations of this line of product are scheduled to follow soon.

[Update 08.11.2011] The PC-Topp.NET Machine Monitor has been added to the HD TV Monitor Framework.

If you have wishes and ideas concerning a new monitor screen tailored to your specific purposes please let us know via e-mail or phone.

Categories: Production Monitors

Published 08.03.2011

Easier Grouping of Orders with Similar Colors in Conversion Machine Scheduling Page

Conversion Machine Scheduling PageIn addition to the names of the ink colors to be used for an order, the Colors column in Conversion Machine Scheduling can now display the colors themselves.

With this visual help, it is now very easy to group together those orders that require the same ink colors for production. This way you can reduce ink color changes and thus set-up time.

Color Definition PageTo activate this feature, configure colors on the Colors page (accessible via the shortcuts of the Settings page). There you can assign the color values to be displayed for the color names. You can either use the system’s predefined colors or enter your own color values.

Published 04.03.2011

PC-Topp Label Designer and Label Printer Improved and Extended

Both the PC-Topp Label Designer and the PC-Topp Label Printer have been reengineered to support Windows Vista and higher. Besides, both applications now offer several functional enhancements but maintain full compatibility with their predecessor version.

PC-Topp Label Designer

PC-Topp Pallet Label DesignerThe Label Designer’s functionality as a whole has been improved; e.g. the layout features have been revised for easier use.

More importantly, the software now supports displaying your pallet label designs with design specific sample data (i.e. different sample data for different label designs): Via the Tools menu (option “Open Sample Data”) you can assign appropriate sample data from production history to a specific label design.

PC-Topp Label Printer

PC-Topp Pallet Label PrinterThe PC-Topp Label Printer lets administrators view and modify pallet labels from production history in case a pallet label has been damaged or a label’s data needs to be modified.

The application has been refined to no longer block the print server during startup and loads much faster than before.

The Label Printer’s new search function makes it easy to locate all pallet labels printed for any order. Likewise, in the detailed label view (opened by clicking any label in the overview) the pallet label data can be searched by field name and content in an Excel-like interface.

Besides, the Label Printer allows displaying the different label designs to be printed for the selected print job (e.g. additional labels to be printed at first for each pallet or after the printout for all pallets). And what’s more, you can now create pallet label designs including sample data from any existing label.

Categories: Pallet Labeling

Published 03.03.2011

PC-Topp.NET Report Enhancements

For better usability some small modifications have been made to the PC-Topp.NET reports.

Easier Access to Personalized Reports

Besides the standard PC-Topp reports, the PC-Topp.NET Statistics page now shows all your personalized reports, too. At the bottom of the toolbox you will find a new section “Personalized” containing your customized reports.

Send Reports by E-Mail

Send PC-Topp.NET Report by E-MailIf you need a PC-Topp.NET report outside of PC-Topp or on a different computer you can now easily e-mail it to your own address right from the page that generates the report (instead of downloading it to the workstation’s hard drive).

On the Reports page, below the usual links for print-out or output as an Excel file, additionally a link saying “Send to (user name)” can now be displayed which sends the selected report to the address provided in your PC-Topp.NET user profile.

If you want to use this feature please contact us so we can configure it for you.

Published 01.03.2011

Quality Check Shift Report Accessible at PC-Topp Machine Terminal

The Quality Check Shift Report which used to be available only in the Statistics section of PC‑Topp.NET is now accessible at the Machine Terminal, too. It is displayed in a new sub-tab of the Shift Report tab.

Thus the machine operator can now view information on the results of all quality checks during the current shift right at the machine.

Published 20.01.2011

PC-Topp.NET Messaging App for iPhone

PC-Topp.NET iPhone App for Event MessagingThe PC-Topp.NET Messaging app adds the iPhone to the list of options for receiving alert messages from PC-Topp.NET. You can get the app at the Apple App Store

The PC-Topp.NET Messaging system alerts supervisors and managers to production incidents or system events via e-mail or SMS text message. With the PC-Topp.NET Messaging app you can now get those alerts on your iPhone, too.

The app lets you receive information on production events or system incidents on your iPhone in real time. It can alert you to events like downtimes, overruns and quality checks, send status messages or report critical user actions.

You can let the system warn you e.g. if a machine has a breakdown longer than 30 min or you can receive notifications if a quality check has expired, or failed.

A wide range of message triggers is already implemented in the PC-Topp.NET Messaging system (some for free while others require a license) and can be further extended on short notice.

Get the PC-Topp.NET Messaging App at the Apple App Store

Categories: Event Messaging

Published 22.12.2010

PC-Topp Supports Second Pass Die-Cutting

Second pass die cutting information in PC-ToppFor some reasons like very complex product shapes or limited machine capabilities it can be necessary to die-cut orders in two passes. In addition to Second Pass Printing, PC‑Topp now also supports second pass die-cutting.

The necessary data, i.e. cutting die number, location, availability and date of use, can be sent via OTDATA, the extension of the Order Entry / Update screen has to be specifically configured. If you are interested in using this functionality please contact the PC‑Topp Team.

Published 22.12.2010

Better Overview of Order Parts

Order Parts at the Machine TerminalArticles consisting of several parts like e.g. boxes with removable top are produced in several order parts. For better coordination all parts of an order are now displayed in an overview in the General tab at the Machine Terminal as well as in the Order Summary. To make sure the appropriate amount of items is produced for every order part you can now see the number of items produced or scheduled so far for all order parts.

Published 22.12.2010

Ensure Correct Number of Finished Goods for Orders with Identical Articles with Automatic Order Change

If several orders for the same article run consecutively on a machine there is no set-up time between those orders (as the set-up needs to be done only for the first of those orders). This leads to incorrect goods counts because if the machine runs at full speed while processing those similar orders it is as good as impossible to manually push the Order Change button at the PC‑Topp.NET Machine Terminal at the right moment between orders to properly close them.

Therefore a new option has been implemented in the Machine Terminal section of the PC‑Topp.NET Dataset Parameters which lets you allow the system to do automatic order changes under the following conditions:

  • The order has the same spec number as the following one.
  • The machine is last in the order's machine sequence.
  • The order’s good quantity equals its ordered quantity.

With this feature you can make sure that the number of products for such orders is always correct.

In case you need to modify the quantities of any in such a batch of similar orders you find them in the Orders to Close list in the Palletisation tab.

Published 09.12.2010

Staff Time Registration Accessible at Multi Machine Terminal and in the Corrugator Control Page

Staff Time Registration

As of now you can sign in at a machine right at the Multi Machine Terminal without deviation to the Staff Time Registration page.

On the Corrugator Control page the sign in functionality has been added as well (Personnel tab).

Published 26.11.2010

Enter Expected End of Downtime

Expected End of Downtime

For more precise scheduling it is now possible to enter the expected end of current downtimes at the Machine Terminal and Multi Machine Terminal. This automatically corrects the calculation of the end of the current as well as the following orders. As scheduling will adapt accordingly this will make sure that the displayed situation is as accurate as possible.

Published 19.11.2010

Group-Wide Production Reports

The PC‑Topp reporting module has been enhanced by a new functionality for group-wide reporting. The system now allows larger enterprises owning several plants, sometimes located in different countries, to analyze all their sites’ performance at a glance with PC-Topp’s group-wide reporting tool.

You can easily compare production key figures of all sites in an enterprise by e.g. grouping them by country and site, or you can create reports comparing the performance of either all conversion machines or similar machines across the group.

The only technical requirements for using group-wide reports are that the same version of PC‑Topp.NET and SQL Server must be installed at all sites as well as stable HTTP or TCP connections to allow access to all PC‑Topp service PCs within the group.

The scope of group-wide reports available under the Group-Wide Reporting license will be extended in the future. Customized reports can be created on demand; please contact us if you want a personalized group-wide report.

Currently available Group-Wide Reports

  •  

Enterprise-Wide Corrugator Production by Flute Type

The Group-Wide Corrugator Production by Flute Type Report contains an overview of corrugator production key figures, ordered by country and flute type, with totals for number of runs, produced area and meters, and trim per site as well as per country and flute type.

  •  

Enterprise-Wide Corrugator Production by Roll Size

The Group-Wide Corrugator Production by Roll Size Report offers the same survey as Corrugator Production by Flute Type but focuses on roll size instead of flute type.

  •  

Enterprise-Wide Conversion Production Summary

The Group-Wide Conversion Production Summary gives an analytical overview of conversion machine key figures (one line per machine), by country and site.

  •  

Enterprise-Wide Conversion Production Overview

The Group-Wide Conversion Production Overview shows conversion production key figures by country and site, with pie charts for work hours and passes by country.

Published 17.11.2010

More Precise Calculation of Expected End of Order

PC‑Topp’s calculation basis for estimating order end time has been improved. Basically this means that for calculating an order’s speed we have modified how PC‑Topp allows for downtimes during an order’s production.

In the past, the system used to take into account every downtime, regardless of its length, for order end calculation. Therefore long downtimes during an order’s production lead to an unrealistically long expected order duration.

To improve this, the following changes have been made:

  • Mini downtimes are always taken into account.
  • For all other downtimes a maximum duration can be specified in the DataSet Parameters.
    • Downtimes exceeding this maximum duration are ignored for calculating order end times.
    • For downtimes below the maximum you can specify which type of downtime should be taken into account for calculating order end times (order, machine, or operator related).

(By default, the maximum downtime duration is 30 minutes, and only order related downtimes are taken into account.)

This change helps estimating order end times in a more realistic way.

Published 10.11.2010

New Report on Corrugator Production

Corrugator Production by Board Grade and Roll SizeThe PC-Topp statistics page now contains a new report called “Corrugator Production by Board Grade and Roll Size” in the section Corrugator > Production Statistics. This report gives you an overview of the corrugator production of the selected period by flute type, board grade and roll size. The production totals per board grade are broken down by roll size.

Published 30.10.2010

New PC-Topp Event Messaging System: Alerts for All Kinds of Events in All Kinds of Media

PC-Topp.NET Events & Actions The freshly created Events & Actions module is a versatile tool for triggering messages on all kinds of unexpected events or situations needing close control. It is highly customizable and can make information on all sorts of events available via a wide variety of media and devices inside as well as outside PC‑Topp, thereby extending PC-Topp’s informational power beyond the system itself.

From downtime alert e-mails to a supervisor and Twitter threads on quality checks to status messages to Management members’ SmartPhones, everybody in charge can receive real time alerts in his preferred technological environment. This ensures that relevant information is noticed in time.

 

Monitor All Actions and Events

You can closely cover all sorts of user actions and goings-on in production or in the system itself, whether it is unexpected events in production, situations you want to keep an eye on, or system problems. A wide range of message triggers is already implemented and can be further extended on short notice.

The following types of events are currently available, some for free, while others require an additional license. (For a full list of all supported events and more information on event pricing please read PC-Topp.NET Events & Actions)

  • Unexpected or Undesirable Production Events, e.g.
    • Downtimes
    • Excessively long production times or shifts
    • Over- or underrun orders
  • Production Events Indicating or Potentially Causing Irregularities, e.g.
    • Use of the “Undo” functionality at the Machine Terminal
    • Manual runs
    • Pending confirmation of the next order
    • Pending or failed quality checks, failed quality checks that nevertheless got backup approval etc.
    • Production material not prepared
  • Production Situations or Events Where Extra Attention Is Advisable, e.g.
    • Special or problematic orders (with production control code, internal complaints, …)
    • Password protected actions
  • System Related Events and Problems, e.g.
    • System failures (backup failed, terminals off, …)
    • Program Memory full
    • Archiving required

You will find more detailed information on event types and pricing on the following page: PC-Topp.NET Events & Actions

 

Send Alerts to All Types of Recipients and Media 

Messages can be used very flexibly in a variety of ways to inform certain people or to trigger predefined actions. They can be targeted not only to individual recipients or predefined groups of users or staff members, but also to PC-Topp terminals or even to external services or media.

Or they can trigger actions like setting off devices like alarm lights etc. Currently the following recipient types and target media are supported:

  • E-Mail
    You can send messages to
    • Individual e-mail addresses or recipient groups, including all persons signed in at certain machines or machine groups (machine tables)
    • Personnel Numbers
    • PC-Topp Users
    The system allows easily configuring individual messages as well as creating and using your own HTML e-mail templates.
  • New (Jan 20, 2011): iPhone Message
    The PC-Topp.NET iPhone app lets you receive information on production events or system incidents on your iPhone in real time. You can get in the Apple App Store.
  • SMS Text Messages
    You can also send messages to a mobile number in SMS format (provided you have an e-mail / SMS server). This greatly helps keeping the persons in charge up to date on the current situation in the plant as the recipient isn’t bound to a workstation to stay informed.
  • PC-Topp.NET Message
    You can send messages to all PC-Topp.NET users in general or to selected PC-Topp.NET users only.
  • Publish in Twitter or in an RSS Feed
    Twittering messages or publishing them in an RSS feed is an interesting way of distributing information beyond the limits of the system to make it available to many people without having to target them individually.
  • Log File Entry
    Another possibility is to have a log file entry written as soon as an event is triggered, thereby creating a history of events.
  • FTP Upload
    You can also trigger a file upload to a server via FTP with an event.
  • Set Off Alarm Device
    It is even possible to make an event message trigger a visual alarm by setting off a police light, e.g. to alert personnel present on the shop floor to downtimes etc.

On demand, new events can be easily and rapidly implemented at little additional cost to meet each customer’s individual needs.

If you are interested in using Events & Actions please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

 

    Categories: Event Messaging

    Published 21.10.2010

    Conversion Machine Scheduling Shows Colors for Multiple Printing Steps

    Conversion Machine Scheduling Shows Colors for Multiple Printing StepsIf a corrugated plant produces orders with more colors than its conversion machines can print at a time those orders have to be printed in two passes.

    PC‑Topp.NET Conversion Scheduling now better supports this way of production by displaying the colors for each printing step of an order. The colors appear in one line per printing pass, those for the current production step in black, the others grayed out. A tooltip shows the full color name.

    Published 20.10.2010

    New Material Preparation Terminal

    PC-Topp.NET Material Preparation Terminal Let PC‑Topp.NET help you to improve production flow in conversion by ensuring that materials required for production on the machines are available on time. The new Material Preparation Terminal is a valuable instrument for avoiding machine downtime in conversion due to missing materials.

    At the new terminal the status of the materials required for all scheduled orders is displayed with colored dots. The personnel responsible for readying inks, dies, pallets etc. can see at any time whether everything is prepared for producing an order and, if not, what is still missing.

    The items to be prepared can be individually configured; the available options are:

    • Cutting die
    • Printing die
    • Ink colors
    • Pallets
    • Top pallets
    • Protection
    • Printing die for second pass printing
    • Ink colors for second pass printing

    Color Coded Preparation Status

    Unprepared items appear as white dots (clip_image001). After having prepared an item for an order the person in charge clicks this item’s status dot to change it to “ready” (clip_image002). In case it isn’t available (due to damage, insufficient stock etc.) he can set its status to “not ready” (clip_image003).

    The overall preparation status of an order only changes to “ready” if all individual items required for an order are marked “ready”. As long as the materials for the order are only partially prepared (e.g. the inks and the dies are ready but the pallets aren’t) the order’s overall status remains yellow (clip_image001[5]), indicating that the preparation has begun but isn’t finished yet.

    Material Preparation Details

    If the mouse is moved over the overall status indicator for an order’s machine or for the order itself the status details of all required materials are shown in a tooltip. Thus it is easy to keep track of an order’s overall preparation status and to check what is still missing.

    (Orders with nothing to prepare are marked with dotgreenx.)

    Customizable View

    By default the orders are shown by start time so the ones that have be prepared next are always on top. Thus the person in charge can always make sure he doesn’t overlook imminent orders which are not yet completely prepared. But if he wants to prepare the materials for all orders scheduled on a specific machine he can switch the view to display just this machine.

    Print Out Material Preparation List

    Staff members responsible for readying production materials can’t always stay within eyeshot of the Material Preparation Terminal. They can export the list of orders to prepare in PDF format for printout so they can take the materal preparation list along.

    Categories: Order Management | Terminals

    Published 03.09.2010

    Print Out Job Cards

    Print Out Job Card There is a new link in the PC-Topp.NET Conversion Machine Scheduling page toolbox that lets you print out several job cards at once in PDF format. You just need to select the orders you want to print out (via the checkbox) and then click “Print Job Card”. This feature is very useful for planners because they can print out the job cards for the program of the day in just one step.

    Published 22.07.2010

    My PC-Topp Shows Today's Corrugator Production Figures for Each Corrugator

    My PC-Topp Shows Today's Corrugator Production Figures for Each Corrugator There are new options for configuring the Production Today section in My PC-Topp available that are interesting in plants with more than one corrugator. The configuration page (reachable via the Configuration link in the lower right of the Home page and the Corrugator menu page) lets you select whether the production figures should be displayed:

    1. For Each Individual Corrugator
      One line per corrugator, new default setting.
    2. Totaled for All Corrugators
      One line summing up all corrugators, old default setting.
    3. For Each Individual Corrugator and Totaled for All Corrugators
      One line per corrugator plus one totals line.
    (In plants with only one corrugator only one line showing the corrugator’s production is displayed no matter which option is selected.)

    Categories: Production Statistics