Processing Stations Associates for Reports (Overview)

Processing Stations Associates for Reports (Overview)

This article contains an overview of what is necessary to print secondary machining data on reports and labels. It is based on build 15.6.2404 or greater.

Why They Are Needed

Microvellum software includes the ability to process data to multiple CNC machines simultaneously. For example, you may want to direct individual parts to one of several CNC machines to equalize the workload of those machines. Alternatively, while printing labels for your nesting CNC, you may want to machine your remake parts on the point-to-point machine instead of the nesting machine.

When processing with multiple processing stations, previously, the program would populate various data in the Parts table only for the last station of the multiple stations processed. This is because that table has only a single field for certain data that is different for each station. An example of this is the barcode data produced for the face 5 and face 6 machining of single parts. To grasp why this is the case, you must understand a little bit about the structure of the work order database. 

We designed the Parts table to contain mainly un-optimized work order data. It was not desirable to change its design to support optimized data produced by multiple stations. As of early releases of 15.6, the OptimizationResults table contained rows for all optimized parts multiplied by the number of stations used to process those parts. For example, if you are processing ten parts to three stations, the table will contain 30 rows. One row for each unique part/processing station combination. 

The program modification required to accomplish this created an issue where the labels for the primary processing station no longer had access to the data produced by secondary stations. The data for those secondary stations now exists on a different subset of records in the database. 

The primary station is the station for which you will be printing labels. Secondary stations are stations that are necessary for secondary machining operations such as edgeboring or single part machining. Secondary machining data may include faces 1 – 4 edgeboring data, and face 5 and face 6 part remake filenames and barcodes.

Development History

Using builds between 15.6.1113 and 15.6.2211 and processing with the Microvellum Nesting Optimizer or Microvellum Sawing Optimizer, the previous method for correctly displaying secondary machining data for reports was as follows. Use the ten additional columns in the report dataset to create relationships to link data from secondary processing stations to the associated primary labeling station. Information about that method is found in the two Microvellum Help Center articles Issue: Part Labels Display Incorrect Barcode Data When Processing to Multiple Machines in 15.6 and Issue: HBore Barcodes Do Not Match Part Picture.

Beginning with build 15.6.1414, processing station associates were in place for parts file processing stations, but not for reports. These parts files are used for third-party optimizers such as Ardis, CutRite, BlueCell, and other third-party optimizers. Using the processing station associates for a parts file passes secondary machining data to those optimizers. 

Beginning with build 15.6.2404, processing station associates not only support ‘parts files,’ but you now use them to pass secondary machining data to reports and labels. Using this build and processing with the Microvellum Nesting Optimizer or Sawing Optimizer, the current method for correctly displaying secondary machining data for reports is as follows.  

How Do They Work

The data passed by the processing station associates and the relationship between that data and other data is defined by the secondary stations you configure in the “Associates” tab of the primary Processing Station. The primary station is the station for which you will print labels. Secondary machining is machining that is not produced by the primary station. The primary stations are usually the Microvellum nesting or sawing optimizer stations.

For example, you may want horizontal boring data produced by an edgeboring machine station to appear on the reports and labels produced for the nested panels. This is secondary data because it is not produced by the nesting station. 

  • First, set up the edgeboring station as an associate for the primary station on the “Associates” tab. The primary station, in this case, is the nesting station you are editing. For edgeboring information on the label, add and configure a new associate of the type “Edge_Bore” to the primary nesting or sawing station.
  • Then, add the part transformation functions to the report components displaying edgeboring filenames or barcodes.
  • Lastly, process the work order using the primary processing station to which you added the associate AND all the secondary processing stations that are defined as associates in that primary station.
  • Print the report. 
Combining these steps results in a report or label containing data produced by the primary processing station (nest or saw), and also data produced by a secondary station (edgeboring in this case).

What Has Changed

  • It is no longer necessary to create dataset relations from within the ten dataset columns in your labels. Because of this, you do not need to decide which one of those relations to use to correctly display face 1 – 5 edgeboring data or face 5 and 6 part remake filename and barcode data. Although the ten additional columns still exist in the report dataset, they are there for backward compatibility only. 
  • It is no longer necessary to carefully name your processing stations to promote ease of dataset column selection in your report components. Previously, this was encouraged as a method of easily selecting the correct dataset relationship. 
  • The existing edge transformation functions for each part have been simplified. They are now supported by a reduced set of parameters. Whereas, before you supplied four arguments (work order LinkID, batch LinkID, parent part LinkID, child part LinkID), now only three are required (work order LinkID, batch LinkID, parent part LinkID). 
  • There are currently 12 edge transformation functions. They now support edgeboring (HBore) data, face 5 and face 6 barcodes and filenames, and also edgebanding rotation. 
  • The processing Associate Index column now determines the priority of data that appears on the labels. In other words, if you have multiple machines that produce the same type of G-Code, such as multiple point-to-point machines, or multiple edgeboring machines, the lower this number, the higher that Associate will be in priority for displaying its data on the labels

What Has Not Changed

  1. You must continue to use the edge transformation functions to correctly display rotated edgeboring (HBore) data for each part when that data is not produced by the primary CNC machine, but by a secondary machine. 
  2. You may continue to utilize the processing station associates for parts files supporting third-party optimizers.
If you create a parts file from a toolfile, the processing station type must be set to Single Part GCode. Otherwise, the station type should match the type of parts file you are producing for the third-party optimizer (e.g., Ardis Parts File, CutRite ASCII, BlueCell XML).
  • You must continue to add a processing station associate or associates to the primary station of each different combination of machines for which you will be printing labels. 
  • You may continue to alphabetize the names of stations of the same type or category to indicate the station that will evaluate last in that group of stations. This is to retain the data from that last station. For example, if you have a station named P2P_a and a station named P2P_b, the station named P2P_b would usually evaluate last and potentially overwrite essential data from the station named P2P_a. To prevent this and ensure that the station named P2P_a evaluates last, name them “01_P2P_b” and “02_P2P_a” or similar. 
  • Configure the processing station associates as with previous versions.

See the Microvellum Help Center article Processing Stations Associates for Report (Reference) for detailed information. 

See the Microvellum Help Center article Processing Stations Associates for Report (Tutorial) for the procedure to set up and use the processing station associates for reports. 


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