Parts File Processing Station Associates (Overview)

Parts File Processing Station Associates (Overview)

Overview of Processing Station Parts File Associates

Microvellum contains complete nesting optimizer and complete sawing optimizer solutions. It also supports third-party optimizers such as Ardis, BlueCell, and CutRite.

Microvellum creates a “parts file” that is then consumed by any third-party optimizer. The parts file contains everything the optimizer needs to know to calculate the best parts layout according to its optimization algorithm.

Microvellum provides the tools to configure the data output to that parts file. Some of the data in the parts file is passed when processing, while other data is passed using the processing station associates. Regardless of those two possibilities, it is populated to a parts file Microvellum produces.

The data passed automatically by the program is set in the program code, and you may not alter those types of data. The data passed by the processing station associates is defined by the secondary stations you configure in the Associates tab of each Processing Station for which you will print labels. Secondary machining is machining that is not produced by the primary station, in this case, the Microvellum Sawing Optimizer. For example, you may want data produced by a secondary machining process to appear in the parts file consumed by the third-party optimizer and thus print on the label produced by the optimizer. You would set that up as an Associate on the Associates tab. Perhaps you want the horizontal boring data produced by an edgeboring 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 the primary processing station, and also data produced by a secondary station.

Data from only one station of the same type, such as an Edge_Bore, station is populated to the parts file. This is unlike the BlueCell XML, in which you may populate data from multiple stations of the same type.

As stated above, you should set up an Associate for each station from which you will be printing part labels. This is necessary as only those stations will need access to secondary machining operations. For example, if printing labels at a beam saw, you will likely want to see the part name, part sizes, material, edgebanding, along with face machining and edgeboring barcodes. As you know, your CNC saw does not perform face machining such as routes or shelf pin holes, nor does it perform horizontal edgebore machining. You must configure a different type of processing station to produce that machining. The issue arises because you are printing labels for the saw. The saw does not contain the necessary face and edge machining (secondary machining operations) for HBORE or part re-make operations. That secondary data must be ‘associated’ to the primary saw machining.

Once the secondary stations are set up as associates of the primary station, you must include each of those stations in the processing operation. For example, if you are printing labels at the saw and you have set up a single part machine (point-to-point) and HBORE machine as associates, so you get face 5 & face 6 data and edgeboring data on the labels, you must process to the saw (or 3 rd -party optimizer), the point-to-point (for F5/F6), and your horizontal boring machine to create the data for those associates.

When the secondary stations have been set up and included in the processing operation, processing the work order will proceed without any warning messages. Also, the parts file consumed by your third-party optimizer will contain your associated secondary data, and it will be available on the labels printed by that optimizer.

The parts files Microvellum produces for three popular sawing optimizers have the following file extensions.

  1. Ardis - STK
  2. BlueCell - XML
  3. CutRite - PTX

Message When Processing with Incomplete Associates

You may experience a warning message when you process using a Parts File type processing station. The exact text of the message depends on the type of stations included when processing. You may see multiple messages if processing with multiple incomplete parts file stations. The typical message is “(processing station type) Associates are not configured. Barcode Information will not be populated to the (parts file type) Parts File.” And “Configure Associates in the corresponding Processing Station.”

Fig. 1 – Message Displayed with Incomplete Parts File Station Configuration (Single Parts)

Fig. 2 – Message Displayed with Incomplete Parts File Station Configuration (Edge Bore)

The resolution to both of these warnings is simple – add an Associate to the primary station for each type of station.

The primary station is the station you are editing.

If you choose not to add an Associate, no barcode or single parts data is added to the parts file, and thus, no barcode or single parts data will be displayed on the labels printed by the optimizer.

Use and General Procedure When Configuring Processing Station Associates for a Parts File

The ability to configure and use processing station associates is included in the basic functionality of Microvellum.

  • Purchase the desired third-party optimizer software from the applicable vendor.
  • Create a project and work order in Microvellum.
  • Create & configure a parts file type processing station in Microvellum for the optimizer software.
  • Process a work order with one of the newly created processing stations.
  • Configure for the optimizer software to consume the parts file produced by Microvellum.
  • Optimize the parts file with the optimizer software (see the documentation from the manufacturer for more information).

Click here to see a tutorial for creating and configuring an Ardis processing station.

Click here to see a tutorial for creating and configuring a BlueCell processing station.

Click here to see a tutorial for creating and configuring a CutRite processing station. 

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