Cut Rite PTX Parts File Import from Microvellum (Overview)

Cut Rite PTX Parts File Import from Microvellum (Overview)

Introduction

Microvellum contains complete nesting optimizer and complete sawing optimizer solutions. It also supports the third-party optimizer Cut Rite manufactured by Stiles Machinery/Homag Group.

There are two methods of communication between Microvellum and Cut Rite. One is through an MDB database. The other is using a parts file of the type Pattern Exchange, better known as a PTX file.

Microvellum recommends using the PTX parts file to transfer data. Using the Cut Rite (MDB) method depends on MS Office Access database 32-bit functionality and is being phased out by Microsoft. Microvellum and Cut Rite both strongly recommend using the ASCII (PTX) format for better performance and dependability.

The PTX parts file contains everything the Cut Rite needs to know to calculate the best parts layout according to its optimization algorithm.

Microvellum gives you tools to configure the data output to that parts file. Some of the data in the parts file are passed automatically. You pass other data to the optimizer using the processing station associates. Regardless of the type of data, Microvellum creates the data and the parts file, the parts file passes the data to Cut Rite, and Cut Rite optimizes the data, creates the G-Code, and prints the part label.

System Description

As you probably already know, Microvellum contains all the data necessary to design and manufacture cabinet products. When you use Cut Rite, the process diverges from that of using the Microvellum optimizer at the point of processing a work order and optimizing its parts. Instead of processing with a station of the type Microvellum Sawing Optimizer, you process with a station of the type “CutRite ASCII.”

When processing, Microvellum reads the file named CutRiteV7.xlsx for mapping data, so it knows where to locate various data within the transfer file. You might think of it as the configuration properties file for the PTX transfer file. The PTX file is named with a text string constructed from the project name, room name, and batch name, with a PTX file extension. It is this PTX file that Cut Rite later imports as the parts and sheets (boards) used when it optimizes. See the section in this article “Pattern Exchange File (PTX)” for more information about the PTX file and its properties.

Use and General Procedure When Optimizing Microvellum Data with Cut Rite

  • Purchase & configure the Cut Rite software from Stiles Machinery to consume the parts file.
  • Purchase the corresponding Microvellum module.
  • Create a project and work order in Microvellum.
  • Create and configure a Cut Rite processing station in Microvellum (see tutorial below).
  • Process a work order with one of the newly created processing stations.
  • Configure Cut Rite to consume the parts file produced by Microvellum.
  • Optimize the parts file with Cut Rite (see the documentation from the manufacturer for more information).

Processing Station Configuration - Associates

Set up processing station associates if you want data associated with a secondary machining process to appear in the PTX file. Set these up on the Associates tab of the Processing Station.

For example, you may want the horizontal boring data produced by an edge boring machine station to appear in your parts file and thus be available on the labels produced by the optimizer software. Add and configure a new associate of the type “Edge_Bore,” as explained in the tutorial below. This will result in a parts file containing data produced by a separate processing station.

You may not pass data from two stations of the same type, such as two Edge_Bore stations or two single parts stations.

Click here for a tutorial demonstrating how to set up a CutRite processing station.

CutRiteV7.xlsx File

The CutRiteV7.xlsx file is created by Microvellum and is used by Microvellum when generating the PTX file. This is regardless of the Cut Rite version being used. For example, if you are using Cut Rite version 11, the name of the CutRiteV7 file is still valid and will not change.

The first time you process with a CutRite ASCII station, the program creates this file, located in the Microvellum data folder of the current configuration. After that, if, for any reason, a file with that name does not exist at that location, the program creates a new one. To force the program to create a new file, either delete or rename the existing file, and the program will create one containing data from the latest program settings.

The file CutRiteV7.xlsx is the means of mapping or defining what is contained in the data transfer (PTX) file from Microvellum to Cut Rite.


Fig. 01 – Microvellum CutRiteV7.xlsx File Showing Data Mapping Column E

Columns A & B are used by Microvellum for certain information when writing the PTX file. They contain properties and the values of those properties.

Columns C & D and E & F are the mapping columns. Column D contains various types of Microvellum data, and column C contains row identification numbers for each of those cells. Column F contains the target Cut Rite fields. Column E contains a number taken from column C that defines the data in column D for the Microvellum data that you want in that target Cut Rite field in column F. If nothing is populated in a cell in column E, nothing will populate to that field in the UDI column of the PTX file, and thus nothing in the corresponding Cut Rite field and Cut Rite part label.

Columns A & B, rows 1 - 21 are for customer reference only, the program does not look at them, and they should not be modified by the user. Column B, row 22, should be set to a value of 1 if you are using Cut Rite v8 or greater. Columns A & B, rows 23 – 28 are used for a limited number of users, and the names explain their effect on the PTX file data written.

  • Row 23: ReplaceMaterialNameWithCode  – This replaces all the names of the material in the Cut Rite PTX file with the Code. 
  • Row 24: ReplaceWorkOrderNameWithProjectName   This option will change the second WO field from the work order name to the project name.
  • Row 25: AppendSheetSizesToSheetNames     This option will append the sheet sizes to the sheet names.
  • Row 26: ReplacewithShopPACKWorkOrderNumber  –   Use this option to replace the shop pack work order number.
  • Row 27: ReplaceWONameSpacesWithUnderscore  –   This option replaces spaces in the work order name with underscores.
  • Row 28: ReplaceMatCodewithHandlingCode  –   This option will replace material code with handling code.

It does not affect Cut Rite if you add data in columns C & D as Microvellum does not recognize those additional fields and will not add the data to the PTX file it produces. The only way the end-user has of customizing this file is to modify the data in column E. The data in that column functions as a mapping field, connecting the Microvellum data in column D with the Cut Rite data in column F. Enter the number in column E from column C for the Microvellum data needed, in column E next to the Cut Rite where it should be populated when Cut Rite imports that data.


Fig. 02 – Columns E contains the mapping numbers from column C

Column F contains INFO1 – INFO60 that is populated in the PARTS_UDI lines of the PTX file. This is user-definable by using column E to map data from the Microvellum data in column D.

The CutRiteV7.xlsx may be found in one of two locations.

  • The installation folder of the Microvellum product you are using. As an example, if you are using Toolbox OEM 2019 and you installed it to Program Files, you may find it in the folder at “C:\Program Files\Microvellum\Toolbox OEM 2019\”. If the file exists in this location, it should be moved to the second location, as listed below.
  • It is preferred that the file be located in the parent folder for each library configuration at “C:\Microvellum\Common Microvellum Data\Data_Imperial\Imperial_050_2\”. This is the path to Microvellum data.

In the second location, all users with access to the configuration will also have access to the mapping file (CutRiteV7.xlsx). Therefore they will all create a PTX file in the same format when processing from their machines.

Modify this file to set up the mapping when initially configuring Cut Rite, as explained in this section.

CUT RITE NOTE: Information Boxes within the Cut Rite software of the type “User-defined ()” beginning on the row labeled 1 in the first column correspond to the CutRiteV7.xlsx file, column F, row 1 (INFO1).

The sample of the CutRiteV7.xlsx file shown in figure 1 above was created by Microvellum and is attached to this article. Be careful not to replace your working copy with this one, it has all default settings and will move your Cut Rite fields around.  It should be used for reference only. 

Some additional fields have been added to the CutRiteV7.xlsx file.  Below is a list of them and their usage.   

  1. C65 - Processing station name1 
  2. C66 - Face5 Barcode Station 1 
  3. C67 - Face6 Barcode Station 1 
  4. C68 - Processing station name2 
  5. C69 - Face5 Barcode Station 2 
  6. C70 - Face6 Barcode Station 2 
  7. C71 - Processing station name3 
  8. C72 - Face5 Barcode Station 3 
  9. C73 - Face6 Barcode Station 3 
  10. C74 - Processing station name4 
  11. C75 - Face5 Barcode Station 4 
  12. C76 - Face6 Barcode Station 4 
  13. C77 - Processing station name5 
  14. C78 - Face5 Barcode Station 5 
  15. C79 - Face6 Barcode Station 5 
  16. C80 - Processing station name6 
  17. C81 - Face5 Barcode Station 6 
  18. C82 - Face6 Barcode Station 6 
  19. C83 - Processing station name7 
  20. C84 - Face5 Barcode Station 7 
  21. C85 - Face6 Barcode Station 7 
  22. C86 - Processing station name8 
  23. C87 - Face5 Barcode Station 8 
  24. C88 - Face6 Barcode Station 8 
  25. C89 - Processing station name9 
  26. C90 - Face5 Barcode Station 9 
  27. C91 - Face6 Barcode Station 9 
  28. C92 - Processing station name10 
  29. C93 - Face5 Barcode Station 10 
  30. C94 - Face6 Barcode Station 10 

Additional fields for use on the label.  These fields would be used if you need a different barcode style for your different stations.  You can use these fields to populate the station name and the Barcodes for that station on your labels. 

Pattern Exchange File (PTX)

The PTX file is created by Microvellum and is the file that Cut Rite imports for the parts and sheets (boards) to be optimized. When processing with a station of the type “CutRite ASCII,” Microvellum produces a PTX file at a location specified in the processing station setup. This path must point to the same location on the disc as the Path to Import Data property within the Cut Rite software.

It is a comma-delimited file in the format required by your installed version of Cut Rite. Since this is a comma-delimited file, the successive commas represent placeholders for blank data.


Avoid using commas in material names, job names, part names as those commas will be populated in this file and result in Cut Rite data that is inaccurate - because of the additional commas. A single additional comma shifts all data in the file to the right one place and results in the wrong data being contained in all spaces to the right of the additional comma.

Fig. 03 – PTX File Sample A


Fig. 04 – PTX File Sample B

The only fields that can be ‘mapped’ from Microvellum to Cut Rite are the rows beginning with “PARTS_UDI.” These are “user-defined information” fields where the content may be modified by altering the mapping data in Cut RiteV7.xlsx column E.

The sample of the PTX file shown in figure 5 above was created by Microvellum and is attached to this article. Download and view these files using a text editor app such as Notepad or Notepad++.

Perfect Grain Matching

Cut Rite supports “grain matching,” but the data must be passed from Microvellum to the PTX file first.

The type for the Cut Rite software “Grain matching” field is the single exception to the rule that all data passed to Cut Rite must be set up using the User Defined type. Instead of the User Defined type, it must be configured in the Cut Rite software using the type “Grain matching.”


Fig. 05 – Setting the Type for Grain Matching

In this example, field INFO23 is set up in Cut Rite to consume the grain matching data contained in Microvellum field 62 (Subassembly Comments). In other versions, it may be INFO13 or another field. You must verify which row has the Description “Grain matching” with a Type “Grain matching” and match that row number with the corresponding pair of cells in columns E & F in the CutRiteV7.xlsx file.


Fig. 06 – Setting the Type for Grain Matching

The perfect graining data is then passed into the PTX file, and subsequently, Cut Rite for use when it optimizes.

Cut Rite must contain a grain matching template pattern with the layout configuration to correctly reproduce the intended door and drawer front grain matching patterns from Microvellum.

For example, a Cut Rite grain matching pattern for a 2 Door Base cabinet requires that you have a Cut Rite template pattern to match that door configuration. If a Cut Rite pattern does not exist that matches the layout, you will need to add one in Cut Rite using their Help System and add the Microvellum requisites as outlined in the next section.

A Cut Rite template pattern for a 2 Door Base will also work for 2 Door Tall and 2 Door Uppers cabinets.

General Use Procedure for Populating Grain Match Data to the PTX File

  1. Set global variable “Cut Rite Template Patterns” ON. This activates the Cut Rite pattern names in the global variables and subassemblies. These templates are assigned to product door and drawer front configurations that match the description implied by the name of the pattern. For example, if you have a 1 Drawer 2 Door Base cabinet, the door and drawer front configuration would match the Cut Rite pattern in the figure below.

    Fig. 07 – Cut Rite Sample from Pattern Library for a 1 Drawer 2 Door Cabinet (1DWR2DR)

    This populates the PTX file with the pattern name, followed by the index number of that part in the grain-matched set. As an example, if you have a 2 Door Base cabinet the PTX part rows for one door would include “2Door:1,” and the other door would include “2Door:2” where the text “2Door” indicates the Cut Rite pattern, and the 1 or 2 indicates the index number of the door in the matched set.


    Fig. 09 – PTX File Showing the Pattern Name and Part Index of a Matched Set of Doors

  1. If you are working with a horizontal or vertical starter product that does not match any of these definitions, you will need to add a pattern to match that product. Additional grain matching patterns may be created in Cut Rite if the existing patterns are insufficient to cover the various combinations of the door and drawer front layouts of your products (e.g., 1 Drawer 1 Door; 1 Drawer 2 Door; 2 Drawer 2 Door; 2 Drawer Stack 1 Door).
    1. Add the pattern in Cut Rite (see the Cut Rite help system for more information)
    2. Add a global variable in Microvellum with the name of the pattern.
    3. Modify the Subassembly Comments field for each subassembly affected by the change.
  2. Process a work order with a Cut Rite (ASCII) type processing station.
  3. If you have a Cut Rite pattern for a 2 Door Base, but not one for a 2 Door Tall, it is not necessary to add a new pattern for the tall cabinet. The existing door layout for the base cabinet will grow to accommodate the tall cabinet.
  4. Optimize the parts with Cut Rite.

Questions & Answers

  • What are the pros and cons of using Cut Rite?
    • Cut Rite works better with Stiles machines because they are designed and manufactured for it, but will work with other machines as well.
    • Microvellum does not print labels for parts optimized with Cut Rite. Some third-party optimization software produces a file that can be read by Microvellum post-optimization, and Microvellum can print labels based on that file. Cut Rite does not create a file that can be used in that way. Thus, you must print part labels from Cut Rite.
  • What is the difference between the processing station types Cut Rite (ASCII) and Cut Rite (MDB)?
    • As stated elsewhere in this article, using Cut Rite (MDB) depends on the Office Access database 32-bit functionality and is being phased out by Microsoft. Cut Rite strongly recommends using the ASCII (PTX) format for better performance and dependability.
  • Can you pass data from two stations of the same type, such as two edge bore stations?
    • Only the first processing station associate of any one type is passed.
  • Are there settings in MV that will cause errors when Cut Rite optimizes?
    • Make sure there are no commas in various names passed from Microvellum to Cut Rite.
    • Make sure the grain matching mapping is correct in the file CutRiteV7.xlsx.
  • Can you safely process to multiple third-party optimizers?
    • Each optimizer will be set up as a separate processing station.
  • How many fields of information may be passed from MV to Cut Rite?
    • Currently, 60. Based on the version of Cut Rite XLSX file being produced (CutRiteV7.xlsx). If more than 60 are supported by any Cut Rite version, the Microvellum codebase would need to be modified to support them. This would then populate those additional fields to the CutRiteV7.xlsx file or equivalent.
  • How do you customize the fields in the PTX file?
    • There is limited ability to customize the data in the PTX file created by Microvellum (see the section in this article entitled “CutRiteV7.xlsx File” for mapping the UDI fields).
  • What data must be passed from MV to Cut Rite for grain matching?
    • Cut Rite graining patterns are defined in the Microvellum global variable file and subassembly comments for the drawer door layout of each combination entered in Cut Rite. Look for this data in the Subassembly Comments field of the Microvellum library data. It is then populated to one of the mapped fields in the CutRiteV7.xlsx file. If you encounter a pattern that does not exist there, you may add a pattern in Cut Rite as described elsewhere in this article.
  • The Stiles Homag website says Cut Rite can process MPR(x) data. Does Microvellum support that file format for Cut Rite?
    • Not at this time.
  • I don’t like the cut order of the sheets, or the machining starts with a cross-cut, or I get errors with one particular pattern. What is broken in Microvellum?
    • You will need to access your Cut Rite support for questions of this type. This includes optimization settings, how to set up labels, or other questions of a similar type.

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