Latest PC-Topp.NET Developments
Published 13.05.2007

Conversion Machines Settings Available as Web Page Now

A new PC-Topp.NET page has been created to supplement (and eventually substitute) the classical Conversion Machines Settings. The Machines page offers some convenient extras the old version doesn't have.

View Machines by Machine Type

machdefIn the new Machines page the plant's machines are presented in groups according to their machine type. This gives the new machine overview a clearer structure than in the classical program where the machines are simply sorted alphanumerically.

In the Machines page you can see immediately if a machine code stands for a corrugator or an ordinary conversion machine, if it is a placeholder for an external sheet supplier or for sheet orders, if it belongs to Shipping etc.

New Machine Features
Moreover, as you can see in the overview there are some new fields for the machines. You can now additionally define the following machine features:
  • Die-Cutting
    PC-Topp wants to know if a machine can die-cut and if so, whether it exclusively die-cuts or can do more than that. The die-cutting type of the machine is displayed as a small symbol in the overview:
    Type Symbol Example
    Rotary Die-Cutter Ward
    Flatbed Die-Cutter Bobst
    Any Other Machine That Can Die-Cut
    (Gluer, Slotter, Inline Machine)
    Rapidex
    No Die-Cutting no symbol Martin Printer
  • Number of Print Units
    This value is needed for the automatic sequence optimisation in conversion machine scheduling, as it determines when an ink change is required to accommodate the colors of the next job.
  • Whether Box Size or Other Measurements are Shown at the Machine
    If the machine is marked as a box maker the following values are displayed at the Machine Terminal (unnecessary for e.g. machines that just print or for die-cutters):
    • Internal dimensions
    • Sheet Size
    • Scores on corrugator and conversion
    • Tear tapes
Graphical Machine View

machdef2 Clicking the "Edit" link to the right of each machine opens a graphical view of this machine like at the Machine Terminal. It shows you the machine design and its relevant parts in more detail. This detailed view also lets you modify the three new fields discussed above.

For viewing and updating the other machine settings PC-Topp.NET relies on the classical Machine Definition program: Click the link "Further Settings for this Machine (DOS)" and the DOS program will open.

Published 12.05.2007

New PC-Topp Machine Terminal: Easier to Use, More Information

mt In autumn 2006 the PC-Topp 2000 Machine Terminal Intranet page has been substituted by the much improved PC-Topp Machine Terminal.

The old Machine Terminal page was an important step toward PC-Topp's becoming a full Intranet and Internet solution. Yet its interface was too limited. It didn't offer enough space for all relevant information. Besides, the data was displayed in small fonts that are hard to read from even a little distance. And it offered only a small part of the functions the classical program provides.

The new Machine Terminal has been thoroughly revised. Among the most obvious enhancements is its optimisation for use with a touch-screen. You can now optionally operate the Machine Terminal with a finger tip (provided the machine is equipped with a touch-screen). And all information is displayed in large fonts for better readability.

The classical Machine Terminal still runs alongside the PC Topp Machine Terminal but many of its functions are now available on the PC Topp Machine Terminal page, too. Besides, some new functions have been added. To accommodate all those features the interface is now structured by tabs that bundle the Terminal's functions.

  1. General:
    The General tab is displayed by default when the Machine Terminal is started. Here you find an overview of the most important data on the machine itself, its production status, and the current order, illustrated by a graphical schema of the machine that shows the production process along with the relevant figures. In the future, waste entry right at the machine will be possible here, too.
  2. Order:
    The Order tab is divided into sub-tabs. "Data", the primary sub-tab, shows the summary of the current order. The further tabs offer access to PDF files of stereo, forme, and article (if available) that open directly within the page.
  3. Schedule:
    Here you find the machine schedule, now vastly larger than in the old Machine Terminal page, and easily readable. A click or finger tap on the links of any order opens the "Order" tab and displays the sub-tab you viewed last.
  4. Personnel:
    In the near future this tab will provide the Come / Leave functionality of the classical Machine Terminal. Personnel can log onto and out of a machine here or change to a different machine within the Web page instead of having to switch to the classical Machine Terminal.
  5. Messages:
    PC-Topp.NET's messaging module has been embedded in the Machine Terminal so you can send messages to any PC-Topp.NET user and to any other Machine Terminal right from the Terminal page. Messages to the Machine Terminal are displayed as pop-ups in the toolbox so they can't be overlooked.
  6. Quality Check:
    Another new feature available at the new Machine Terminal page are the Quality Checks. In spite of its name the functionality isn't connected to the quality checks in the classical Machine Terminal. Even though it basically does the same it is much more powerful. Whereas the classical quality checks are confined to a fixed set of possible quality checks the new functionality lets you run self-defined quality checks that you can adapt exactly to your needs. You can precisely define conditions when these new quality checks should be performed. And if there is a customer complaint for an article or if a customer is marked as Service customer or Flop Ten customer the system triggers a quality check-like message to make sure you notice.
Published 11.05.2007

Improvement in the Corrugator Scheduling Page

On the Corrugator Scheduling page, only grades that have orders to be scheduled for the corrugator are of interest, all other grades are omitted to allow the planner a concentrated view on the grades he needs to work on.

However, any grade that has no orders to schedule in the range of days shown, but where there are runs in Program Memory waiting for production, should also appear, in order to show the planner all grades with runs in Program Memory for the selected flute type.
This situation is rare, as most grades that are being produced do have orders for the near future waiting and thus are shown along with the Program Memory info.

The page has been revised slightly and now shows even grades where there is nothing to schedule for the immediate future when they have runs waiting in Program Memory. As a side effect, the total of the Program Memory column is now always compatible with the numbers shown for each grade below.

Published 10.05.2007

Machine Load: Easily Find Hidden Capacity

In the TGV Machine Load machines often appear to be fully loaded because Planning has decided to produce similar orders together even though their due dates lie still far ahead, i.e. if those orders were scheduled according to their due date instead of their format the machine would have some free capacity left. Now the TGV Machine Load helps you find this hidden capacity.

The tool looks for orders that are scheduled earlier than required by their due date. It then displays the machine load situation as if those orders were scheduled in time to meet their due date but not earlier than necessary. The potentially free working hours per day appear as small white figures in the summary bar of each machine that indicates the machine load status.

Like this it shows where you can create free capacity by moving those early orders. So if e.g. you have to decide whether a rush order can be inserted into the existing schedule the tool makes it easier for you to find a day to squeeze it in.

You can switch on this functionality in the new section "Find Free Capacity" in the Machine Load Toolbox. If you click "Move Orders" you will see the number of potentially free working hours of each scheduled day displayed in the summary line of each machine. In the day details you can then look up the orders that could be moved to insert more urgent orders.

Take a look at the new feature at http://demo.pctopp.com.