New Features in PrimecutNE

This is intended to be a useful quick reference to new features, and features which may not yet be documented in the manuals.

Ordered in chronological order (older features through to newer features).  For a detailed list of all changes including bugfixes please consult readme.txt. 

Versions Referenced

Find your old version, then scroll down to see all new features introduced since.

Version 4.4.249
Version 4.4.252
Version 4.4.253
Version 4.4.256
Version 4.4.260
Version 4.4.262
Version 4.4.267
Version 4.4.268
Version 4.4.269
Version 4.4.270
Version 4.4.271
Version 4.5.283
Version 4.5.284
Version 4.5.285
Version 4.5.286
Version 4.5.296
Version 4.5.310
Version 4.5.316
Version 4.5.317
Version 4.5.320
Version 4.5.327 
Version 4.5.333
Version 4.5.335
Version 4.5.343
Version 4.5.346


Major Features 

Material Aliases and Part Harvesting
Flexible Leads
Breaking up Remants and Squaring Remnants
MultiCut for stripping and multiple spindling
Updating Primecut   


Known Issues

None


Version 4.4.249[Back to Top]

"Offset Checks" ignored when using memory nester

When finding historical nests, nests containing parts from workorders with invoice numbers containing the text OFFSET CHECK (case insensitive comparison is used) are not explicitly searched for, to avoid a potentially very large number of plates being returned.

Version 4.4.252[Back to Top]

MAJOR FEATURE: Flexible Leads

Previously, when parts were processed before nesting, space would be allocated for their leadins and leadouts when nesting.  As a result nests of otherwise regular parts (eg rectangles) could end up getting staggered in undesirable ways.

Here for example are 50 400x400mm squares autonested into a 40mm thick plate, using a 30mm "nest friendly" leadin on a gas cut:

Flexible leads allow the nesting engine to disregard the preset leads at nesting time and to try to make them fit after nesting.  This is in fact similar to a previously used practise many customers used, which was to only process the part internals and bevels, and to leave simple external cuts unprocessed so the leads did not affect the nest. 

The flexible lead adjustement is peformed seamlessly after autonesting, and also after any manual nesting operations including arraying.

After clearing the plate and changing the lead flexibility on the part from Fixed to Can Move and Resize by means of properties on the parent cut process (not on the leadin itself):

Autonesting again, the parts are nested ignoring the leads and then the leads are made to fit as best they can:

Zooming into the interior of the nest , we can see the leadins have been moved and shrunk so that they do not touch the other parts and so that the pierce allowance is maintained.  in this particular case theads were shrunk by 5mm:

Note the dotted appearance of the leads, this indicates the lead is fully flexible, ie can be moved and shrunk to make it fit.  A bold weight leadin display indicates it is fixed, and a normal weight leadin display indicates a leadin which can be repositioned but not shrunk.

Deciding on whether flexible leadins are appropriate is up to the end user, and the decsion should made made on a tool by tool, and sometimes part by part basis.  If flexible leadins are used then the pierce allowance must be set to a sensible value to keep the pierce point away from other parts- it becomes more critical.

You can set defaults for each cutting tool in the machines section, by default all tools will start with their lead behaviour set to Fixed:

NOTE Flexible leads can only be applied to Cutting processes, not to bevel, marking or milling processes.

Change to Flexible Leads

Flexible Leads are leads applied to parts to minimise their effect on disturbing the nest, and used to be applied as a 45 degree line on a corner as opposed to the more usual tangential straight line lead.  The 45 degree line  created less nest disturbance (the flexible leads above is another approach to solving this issue).  In this version the flexible lead was changed to a 30 degree-sweep tangential arc, which has a similar benefit to the 45 degree line but which has the benefit of being tangential as it enters the part, ie no machine pause for a corner.

Version 4.4.253[Back to Top]

Nesting User Interface Improvements

  1. 90 degree rotation shortcuts using [,] keys
  2. 5 degree rotation shortcuts using Alt-[. Alt-] key combinations

These shortcuts also rotate the cell, not the entire insert, so the array handle remains at the top right.  When using them on an array, the array will autospace itself automatically to pack the rows and columns.  It will also adjust any flexible leadins automatically to fit the new configuration.

Part Schematics dimension clarity improved

Particularly for viewing the part schematics on sceen in a Primecut tethered Touchcut.

 

Version 4.4.256[Back to Top]

Improvements to Parts Explorer in Nesting Mode

  1. Fully nested parts are greyed out indicating we don't need to add any more
  2. New columns: To Nest, Material
  3. Columns are sortable by clicking on their headers, ie you can sort by number to nest, part name, customer and invoice number, and material and thickness.

 

User can change their own passwords

Previously only administrative users could set user passwords from the users section.  Touchcut users can do it at the machine also.

Costing data can be exported

Costing data can be now be exported (in .csv format) for manipulation in your favourite spreadsheet, and then reimported.

Version 4.4.260[Back to Top]

CommonLine Cutting Improvements

New Crop buttons at top of processing editor

For easier access to the most commonly used cropping functions (clear all crops, line crop, wrap crop, corner crop, skeleton breakup cut)

"Square Crop" mode for wrap crops

Wrap crops now have a Square Crop  checkbox which changes the crop into coordinate aligned (X and Y) segments, this also tends to reduce the number of crop vertices simplifying an existing crop.  When a crop is create with square crop selected, it remebers this and dragging the a  crop node will also move the adjacent two node to keep the crop "square".  If you add a node (clicking on a "+")  however this can be moved to produce an angular crop.

Improvements to Workorder and Quote editing

  1. When selecting a part in the parts explorer at left, its corresponding line item will also be highlighted at right in the workorder or quote editor.
  2. When a part is being edited it will be highlighted with green in the parts explorer.
  3. When a new part revision is created through editing, the old part revision is now greyed out in the parts explorer 

Selection in processing persists across property changes

For example changing a leadin type or dragging its handles does not deselect it afterwards- makes working with processes and adjustment of leadins in particular much easier.

Both copy and paste operations "flash" the copied or pasted processing.  After pasting the pasted processing remains selected. 

Version 4.4.262[Back to Top]

Corner Crop Function

A button has been added to automatically add a rectlinear crop cutting a corner of the plate from the parent, suitable for use when parts are nested in the corner of the plate only.  There is a minimum width for the step of 200mm, any less and it will revert to a straight line crop.  You can use the remant splitting handles to convert the result from an L-shaped offcut into two rectangles as in the examples below:

MAJOR: Remnant Splitting

On any crop (other than a simple line crop) extra handles have been provided, clicking on these allows what would have been single offcuts to be split into multiple smaller offcuts.  To delete a split, move its parent node.  Splits automatically trim themselves to the edge of the plate or to a pre-existing split line.

(The example above shows a corner crop in edit mode, with one of the "T" shaped offcut splitting handles higlighted.)

Improved Remant Report

The skeleton is now separated out from the offcuts and is at the bottom of the list.  The labelling of the remnants on the plate has been improved. 

(The example above shows the remnants produced from the result of the corner crop, followed by clicking on the highlighted splitting handle to divide the offcut into two remnants).
NOTE You may receive a warning message running old remnant reports; a new remant report template rtm file has been provided with the updater which should be loaded once to suppress the warning and produce the correct report layout, alternatively if you have already customized your remnant report, edit your Remnant Summary report and under the data tab adjust the sort order on tblPlateRemnantSummary so the sort order is PARENTPLATEID, PLATEID:

Remnant Names are Editable, parent plate ID is available

They can be set when importing plates in plate mode, and if you open a plate in nesting mode; in both cases via the plate's properties dialog.

The parent plate ID (the ID of the plate a remanant was produced from) is now also available (readonly) on the plate properties dialog.  It is only shown on remnants produced from a parent plate.

 

Version 4.4.267[Back to Top]

MultiCut (MAJOR FEATURE)

This is a method for utilizing several torches within a single part.  It is mutually exclusive of MultiBox (where parts are nested to cut with multiple torches, one torch per part), ie you cannot multibox nest parts containing MultiCut operations, and similarly you cannot apply multicut processing to parts on a plate that have been MultiBox nested.  All torches/spindles must be evenly spaced. Plate Stripping Tutorial ), and for multispindle machines drilling large arrays of holes within a single part.

The processes have some extra properties, displayed ONLY if the cutting tool has a boxCount greater than 1 (ie if there are multiple torches or spindles on the machine):

Example:

Note the slave torches are drawn "dotted", and that in this case the master path is across the bottom. This is a stripping scenario where the 4 strips are to be cut 500mm wide, and there is a 1mm kerf offset assumed (hence the spacing is 500+1+1 = 502mm, and the kerf offset used is

To create a multicut, simply process the master cut then set its

Restrictions and Applicability

Only available for tools that have a box count greater than 1.

Roughing tab for milling options is highlighted if Roughing cut is active

This was added as its easy to accidentally invoke roughing when mill processing, when it was not intended.

Circular Parts are now loaded with the origin at their centre

Most parts automatically have the part origin set to the bottom left corner of their extents, but disks and flanges created with the shapes library would put the origin at the centre of the disk/flange.  This has been extended to parts loadeing (primarily done to assist with dome cutting applications).  The part must have a "dominant circle" ie a circle of diameter within 10% of the part's extents width/height.  Only perfect circles are recognized- ones with notches etc will be treated in the traditional fashion with their origin placed at the bottom left corner of their extents.

Oblique Penetration function added for cutting Domes

See Dome Cutting Tips

In processing mode, first bevel the penetration (hole) without regard to bevel angle settings.  Select the hole, and from the context menu under Dome Tools , select Oblique Penetration,   a dialog appears allowing you to enter the angle of the penetration and the weld prep required around the penetration. 

NOTE The geometry used should be the intersection of the penetration with the bottom surface of the dome.

Produces a variable bevel something like:

"Set By Process" Property for leads

Certain processes such as True Hole require a particular leadin configuration.  These leads however were previously editable by the user after being applied, and could be shrunk or changed by Primecut itself when checking "Decorations intersections" (checking whether leadins were too close to part geometry and then shrinking them).  Now they have a new property set at creation, "Auto Set By Process".  They can still be manually edited, however you must turn this property off first.

(Note the properties dialog has changed to make it more obvious when properties are readonly also.  In this case, if we really wanted to change the leadin's properties, we would first uncheck Auto Set by Process, click apply, and then the other leadin properties would become editable).

Extensions to the Change Plate function

Previously the Change Plate button in nesting mode could be used to redefine the plate geometry as a rectangle of a specified size.  This has been generalized to allow editing of the plate geometry in an external application, by first exporting the plate geometry and then importing it after its been edited.

Additionally, the plate material and thickness can be changed under certain conditions :

 This is intended largely as a means for correcting data entry errors, where a plate was entered with the wrong grade or thickness. 

ANY change made to a plate via the Change Plate function is logged to tblLog, recording who changed it and when to provide some traceability.

Child Plates property added to plates

Just a confirmation really of how many offcuts will be produced with the current crop lines.

Calculation Method added to Nest Allocated Area

It is one of:

The method used is automatically determined and works from top to bottom in the list above, eg if Charge Full Plate is ticked it takes preference over any crop lines present.

Nest Coverage is an approximate indication of how much of the available plate area is occupied by parts.  This accounts for plate edge gap and interpart gap, so is not as simple as "true shape part area / plate area". 

Nest Efficiency is defined as the approximate "true shape" area of the parts nested expanded by half the plate gap, divided by the Nest Allocated Area .  This is the best measure of how "well" parts are nested.

Remnant Name added to Nest Explorer


Version 4.4.268[Back to Top]

Auto Checking for Overlapping Spindle Operations.

If spindle operations are programmed so that they overlap, this can cause chipping of the drill tooling/inserts- depending on the tooling used.  Concentric holes with coincident centres are NOT considered to be overlapping, as may be commonly encountered with drilling and tapping, counterboring etc.

A feature has been added to automatically check for overlapping spindles every time processing is performed either interactively (shows a warning dialog with the option to select the offending spindle operations, or to ignore further overlap checking in the current editing sessionon the part or plate) or in batch mode (just adds warnings).

Additionally, when placing cutting leads they are now automatically adjusted so their prepierce holes do not overlap. 

Example, Before prepierces might have ovelapped, now prepierces are adjusted (on cutting processes only ):

  

Version 4.4.269[Back to Top]

SlashNToNewline RAP function added

function slashNToNewline(const s:string) : string;

Reports showing multiline part and plate notes will display then as:

line1\nline2\nline3

instead of the desired:

line1
line2
line3

To make these print as expected create an OnGetMemo event in the Calc tab of the report template editor, and assign it code along the lines of the following example:

procedure memoPlateNotesOnGetMemo(Lines: TStrings);
begin
Lines.text :=  slashNToNewline(tblPlate['Notes']);
end;

Note there are other RAP functions useful for converting and presenting dimensional quantities (length, mass etc) in appropriate localized units:

  function ToDisplayUnitsValue(const value:double; const units:string):double;
  function ToDisplayUnits(const value:double; const units:string):string;
  function ToNamedDisplayUnits(const value:double; const units:string):string;
  function UnitName(const units:string):string;

All of these take as their units parameter of the for 'utLength', or 'utMass', 'utThckness' etc.

Scheduling Plate

Fixed issue with skeleton remnant being incorrect when plate is scheduled.

Version 4.4.270[Back to Top]

Checking of Part Approval when Nesting of Parts in a Work Order

In the Work Order Editor an extra approval status check has been added after 'Open Parts in Nesting Mode' or 'Open Parts and Plate(s) in Nesting Mode'.
If no parts are approved a warning box will now notify the operator that no parts are approved.

Version 4.4.271[Back to Top]

Filled Part and Plate Display (Configurable)

Parts and Plates are now shown by default with fill, though this can be turned off. The main benefit of this is being able to clearly distinguish well drawn parts from parts with issues, and in particular issues such as a zero calculated ship weight.

This also makes selection of parts in nesting mode easier, as you can select them by clicking anywhere within the part, not just on its edges.  Unlike the old "fill parts" mode (which actually shows the nesting grids, and is now renamed Show Grids) this should not slow down speed of user interaction significantly.

In Nesting mode, you can toggle fill dynamically using the Show Filled toggle button in the main vertical toolbar, eg :

To make life easier when manual nesting, when selecting parts, preference in selection is given to "floating inserts", ie those not yet fitting in the plate, ie if you have a floating insert sitting on top of a fixed one, when you click on them both, you will be selecting the floating not the fixed insert.  

If you want to change the fill colors (settable for part and plate), or turn off filling altogether you can via user options on the Display tab, it will then remember your current fill settings after logoff.  We strongly suggest using dark colors for the fill, to provide suitable contrast for the lighter colors used for drawing handles and part detail on top.

 

Area Layer has been made more Prominent

The Area layer is now more obvious, and if part fill is on, will be shown as a different colour of fill when editing parts in geometry mode.

The Area Layer (if present) has two roles: It is used to define the area and hence ship weight of the part, and it is also used when occupying plate space when nesting. When nesting we use both the area layer and whatever geometry and/or area is defined by the parts and its processing in combination. When calculating Ship Weight ONLY the Area layer is used if it exists.

For Example:

Click on the Area Layer, Create Area Layer button on the tool bar to produce:

Importantly, any edits to the visible geometry do not affect the invisible stored area layer (this has always been the case, it is just more apparent now!).  For example if the geometry above is selected via a dragged window and then moved, the area layer stays put, and this can cause unexpected results in nesting and reporting:

The area layer in this case can be corrected by recreating it.  If however before the move you had done a select all (Ctrl-a), and answered "YES" to select geometry in hidden layers, then the area layer would also have been selected and moved with the geometry. 

Overlap can be applied when Bridge Cutting

Previously bridging segments were applied exactly on top of each other. When kerf off set is applied however the cut should be offset to either side of the bridge by just enough to theoretically remove all material. In practice however with thermal effects, plate movement and process variability it is common for a thin sliver of bridging material to remain behind, leaving parts attached to each other or their bridging spine.

In this release you are now prompted at the start of a bridge cut for the amount of overlap you want to apply; 0 will bridge in the same way as before.

For plasma cutting, you can specify quite a large overlap to force the cut to cross over itself; however for flame cutting this would likely result in loss of flame as the combustion will extinguish crossing a kerf gap, so a small (less than kerf width) overlap is instead recommended.

In the below examples a 5mm overlap has been use.  Note "trapezoidal" overlapping bridges are created where the overlapped bridge would run over the original part geometry (as in the two rightmost examples), while if the overlap does not go near part geometry simple extension is used, as in the left example.  Note also that in creating the spine bridge for the middle example, an area layer was automatically created, as you can tell by the olive part fill color.

 

Manual Nesting Improvements

The array count handle can now be dragged backwards and downwards to create arrays in any direction, not just "up and to the right". It does this by automatically setting a negative row or column spacing if needed.

The default rotation handle for a non arrayed insert is now the "cell rotation" handle, so that you can rotate it then array it square to to the plate, which is the more common need than arraying at an angle to the plate. The handle icons have been adjusted to make this behaviour clearer. You can still rotate the array as a whole, but the array rotation handle (with a grid of points inside it) does not appear until you already have an array.

Processing Options now Remembers Last Machine Used

If the part or plate being processed is unassigned, then the processing options dialog will rememeber and be set up for the last machine you used to process parts.

If however the part or plate has a machine assigned, the processing options dialog will be set up for the assigned machine, as before.

Alt-Selection Has been Improved

Alt-Selection is used to select from a series of entities sitting on top or in close proximity to each other, and is activated by holding down the Alt key as you mouse click.  Previously this only worked in the Geometry and Processing editors; it has been extended to Nesting.  Also previously, after clicking you would be asked to include or exclude each of the selected items in turn via multiple Yes/No dialog boxes which was somewhat cumbersome.

Now a multiselect list of the items will appear adjacent to where you clicked.  Hovering over any items in the list will highlight it temporarily on the main window to aid identification.  Within the list you can select a single item simply by double clicking on it, or you can use multiselect (ctrl and/or shift clicking) to build up a selection of the items you want before clicking the Select button at the bottom.  As items are selected, they are also highlighted persistently on the main window.  Pressing the Escape key cancels alt-selection.

For example, if we single click on the problem area of the "maple leaf" we get both the closed maple leaf path and the single overlapping segment selected. 

By Alt clicking on it we get a popup allowing us to choose which entities we actually want to select, and a select all option if we want everything after all, and clicking on the "Line" highlights it ready for selection. (Transparency is used so you can see what lies under the selector; the selection window becomes semi-transparent if you move the mouse away from it)  :

 

Version 4.5.283[Back to Top]

This version requires the V37 database schema, to support the extra processing enhancements.

Report pack importing

After selecting a report pack to import a new dialog window will appear that shows all reports in the pack and also allows the user to choose specific reports to import if they desire.

Off Machine / Extra Processing for Work Order Items

Clients that wish to charge for work not done on a machine setup in Primecut can now add additional processing notes and charges to quotes and workorders.

The Process Costing window has been modified to show On and Off machine charges.  Frequently used off machine processes should be added here.

Extra processing for a specific quote or workorder can be viewed in the Quote or Work Order editor window and added/edited in the item line item editor windows.

When an extra process is added to a line item the charges default to the values entered in the Costing Data window, the charges can however by altered per item here.

Dimensioned Part drawing available from the Line Item

As part of a redesign of the ling item editor, a Part  Information tab has been added which shows some key part properties and a dimensioned drawing of the part (the window is resizeable):

Crop Lines are now processed with External Path Tool

Almost always, crop lines on a plate are to be cut with the same tool used to cut external paths, while often open paths are to be processed differently, eg marking or bevelling. As a result it was frequently necessary previously to process a plate twice using two different tools for the Open Paths, as criops were considered to be Open Paths.

With this enhancement this double processing is avoided, and crops are more reliably cut with the intended process.

In special cases where the crops do need a different tool, this can still be achieved with a double processing step.

When processing multiple items, there is now an option to preserve existing properties

When processing multiple parts or plates in the past, and when an item already containing processing arose, the user was presented with four options:

  1. Reprocess this
  2. Reprocess All
  3. Skip This
  4. Skip All

When either of the Reprocess options were selected all geometry would be completely reprocessed.

A new dialog has been introduced giving greater control, and in particular allowing existing processing to be left untouched.  This is particularly useful for example after adding some parts to some already processed plates, or if adding crop lines to processed plates.

In the following example crop lines were added to one or more plates:

1. Replace All Processing works as before, replacing existing processes replacing existing processes with new ones as well as adding processing to the crop line in this case, note the plate "selects" what is to be processed in the background to make it easier to see what is being affected: 

2. Process unprocessed geometry only leaves the exisiting processing untouched, only selcting the crop line.  This is probably our intentio in this case.

3. Skip leaves the plate untouched...

Selecting Apply Once applies the selected processing range to this item, and if any other processed items are encountered the dialog will be redisplayed.  Apply to All applies the current processing range to all processed items that may be encountered.

Fillet/Chamfer/Notch Wizard Enhanced

It is now possible to apply fillets to all corners in an entire path at once.  In the fillet/Chamfer/Notch wizard, instead of selecting two adjacent segments, select the same segment twice; the whole path will be filleted.  NOTE you have always been able to fillet a range of corners within a path by selecting segements either side of that range, though this has not been well publicised or documented.

Automatic Corner Filleting in NC Output

Primecut can now automatically fillet sharp corners as it generates NC code to output, a requirement of many lasers.

Filleting settings are a per tool property and can look up costing data for the fillet radius or tool parameters.  A thickness based tool parameter has been added to allow a simple thickness based selection of the fillet radius:

The tool settings look like:

Here for example, only "Internal Corners" will be filleted, and the radius used for filleting is looked up from a tool parameter called "fillet Radius".  This tool parameter could be set up as follows for a thickness lookup:

NOTE: The sequence the Values are in is important and for a >= Thickness or Area comparison as used here the threshold values should be in descending order as in selecting the value the system takes the first match it finds.

The filleting is not visible in the processing window (though if a parameter was used as the fillet radious this will be visible and editable within the process properties):

But in the NC preview you can see the results if you zoom in on the corners (a 5mm radius was used here for clarity, and in this example only internal corners were filleted):

Version 4.5.284[Back to Top]

"Push" Function in Manual Nesting

You can now use the cursor keys to position the selected part inserts on the plate, moving it up, down left and right.

A single click moves the selected parts a single nest increment, while holding the key down will cause the movement to accelerate. The parts are moved until they hit a plate boundary or other parts. if the selected parts are floating (ie coloured red, unnested) at the start then they can be moved anywhere, and the spacebar cab n be used to drop them back into the nest, as described below.

The spacebar now can be used to unnest parts (turn them "red") and to renest them in the same spot. This is useful for example to revert plate processing to part processing, by unnesting and renesting the parts without actually changing their nest position. It can also be used in conjunction with the arrow key push function, when a part cannot be made to fit into a hole exactly using the arrow keys, hitting space will attempt to bump nest it in the vicinity to make it fit, if it can. It can also be used to unnest a part so that it can be moved "over the top" of other parts in the nest before being renested elsewhere.

Readonly viewing of Quotes, Workorders and Parts is now supported

Workorders and Quotes can now be viewed Readonly, in which case there will be no locking.  This is useful for example when someone else is working on a workorder and has it locked, but you want to have a look at it, or print a report.  You should be aware that when viewing an unlocked readonly copy of something, that another user may have already deleted or substantially changed it since you opened it, ie the data shown is only guaranteed valid at the moment you opened it.

New Native Report Export Formats

Previously reports could be exported as XML or CSV (comma-separated values, a spreadsheet like format).

Reports can now be exported directly to

Only the most commonly used XML, CSV, PDF and XLS (Excel) buttons are provided, but more options can be found in the file save dialog "Save As" options.  To make use of the export functions, ensure in the report template that :

Database Query Tool Window

The Database Query Tool Window now allows more complex select statements to be executed.

It also now has functionality for Kinetic Support to execute queries that alter the database.

Version 4.5.285 [Back to Top]

Ability to export multiple parts at once

Multiple parts can now be exported to a folder at once, either from a workorder or a quote.  The parts must first be fully loaded, ie being "edited" or "viewed".  After first opening a workorder for example, the parts are niot fully loaded, so we would select a range of parts in the explorer at the bottom lerft of the screen, right click and select View Parts(s), causing the parts to be loaded.  Then select them again and right click, Export Parts .  A dialog will appear navigate to the folder where you want the parts save, selected the type to save as (eg DWG or DXF), ignore the filename itself.  Primecut will name each file based on the part name with the appropriate extension.

Version 4.5.286 [Back to Top]

Automatic Updating

PrimecutNE now has the ability to securely communicate back to Kinetic to determine if new updates are available and whether the customer is entiteled to them (ie whether the customer is on a software maintenance contract).  The benefit of this is automatic notification.

Clients logging into Primecut are notified if there are updates available from Kinetic, and if their local server has been updated from kinetic to a newer version than the client, for example:

This is telling us that the client has a newer version than the local server (an unusual circumstance, perhaps enountered when we are testing a new version of the client on a single client rather than updating all clients), and that Kinetic has released a newer version than currently exists on the customer's server.

In the event that the customer's server has been updated, the client will be prompted as they login to the database to update their client automatically.

See Server Updating for instructions on how to update your primecutNE server (You must update the server before you update the client computers).

Version 4.5.296 [Back to Top]

This version focusses on nesting improvements, with new autonesting algorithms, an improved visual presentation in nesting mode, and full grain constraint.

New Autonesting Algorithms

Nesting options are now stored per user, via the autonest tab of the user options dialog.  They are also available from the nesting editor directly:

The algorithms and settings are decsribed below.

Search for Best Algorithm

This is the slowest to select and should reliably produce the best results as its really a "macro" algorithm that runs all the other algorithms in sequence and evaluates "the best".  The evaluation criteria is automatic and based on material efficiency, weight of parts nested, regularity and compaction.  Sometimes these criteria may conflict and we have weighted the evaluation parameters so they should suit general steel cutting needs.  In some cases manual selection of a different algorithm may produce a better result for your specific situation.

Greedy Backpacker Algorithm

This is usually, but not always the best of the individual algorithms.  It is particularlay effective when nesting large quantities of one or several parts, and it attempts to find optimal rectangular arrays and can combine different orientations and array layouts to produce the best result.  It is general enough however that even if nesting on irregular plate or a set of many different parts it is still effective.

Allow Deep Backpacking   This is a switch affecting Greedy backpacker (hence also "Search For Best" as this in turn calls upon greedy backpacker).  When checked backfilling ("backpacking") behind the main array of parts currently being nested is attempted, when unchecked the backpacking is limited to the extents of the current array.  May produce more efficient nests at the expense of more part scatter through the plate.

Legacy Algorithm

This was formerly known as "Standard", and if used with Autoclustering disabled, should produce similar results to the old nesting engine.  It is very fast, but does not work as hard as "greedy backpacker".  Occasionally it still produces a better result, particularly if the parts to nest are not suitable for arraying (eg a large number of small quantities of different shapes)

Compacting Array and Rigid Array Algorithms

These are a simplification of the Greedy Backpacker, and attempt to nest parts in rows and columns.  Compacting array can pack more tightly than rigid array, but in some cases may lose its regularity and become more chaotic.

Rows and Columns Algorithm

This is a different approach to arraying, and is usually but not always, outperformed by the other array variants.

AutoClustering Options

All algorithms now have the ability to pre scan the parts to be nested and attempt to find good clusters to assist with nesting where appropriate.  Turn this on with Prescan and AutoCluster Parts (recommended).  Explode Autoclusters after Autonesting:  Any Autoclusters nested can be exploded back into individual parts when the nest is complete (recommended where part by part sequencing is required).  Occasionally the system will be unable to explode all the autoclusters and still have them fit the nest due to the mathematical discretization used to represent the nest layout, however this should be rare.

Order Parts are Nested in

All the algorithms except Search for Best work one part at a time, and the order in which we nest the parts affects the end result.  This combobox allows this ordering to be controlled.

None, parts are nested as presented:   No sorting is performed, and parts are nested in the order they are shown in the explorer.

Nest Parts by Size:   biggest parts are nested first.  A quantity of a large part may be nested  before a smaller quantity of a larger part in some circumstances, some weighting is performed in this ordering.

Nest Parts by Job, then size:   Parts are first sorted by workorder.  This tends to make it easier to locate parts on plates when unloading if there are multiple workorders nested on a plate.  If there is only one workorder it is no different to Nest Parts by Size.

Permutations to Attempt: This slider allows the sort order to be changed semi-randomly and multiple attempts with different orderings tried, but only by the Search For Best algorithm.  With the slider at left no permutations are applied, as the slider moves right more permutations are attempted and as a result solution time increases.

New Part Coloring Options

Parts can now be colored by part, by job line item or by job, in addition to the origibnal line drawing and plain fill color modes.  Part coloring makes it much easier when nesting to identify parts. Examples:

Plain Color:

The color used for the parts and plates in this mode is user configurable (Tools, Options, Display tab)

Color by Job:

Allows you to distinguish parts from different workordfers readily.  This nest was autonested with Nest Parts by Job, then Size option in effect to reduce mixing of job parts on the plate.  The colors are semi-randomly chosen, and you can cycle backwards and forwards through differrent coloring schemes with the/ and * keys on the numeric keypad.

Color By Part:

By Line Item is similar, but allows you to distinguish the same part nested from multiple workorders.

The following image shows how in filled mode different parts states are indicated.  The selected part has been moved to a position where it no longer fits the nest, and is shown as "floating" above the plate.  The four similar parts above have been made slightly transparent and bordered with yellow to indicate that these are force fit:

Grain  Constraint

Parts and plates now have a grain angle property, and parts have a propertuy to enforce grain constraint.  Grain constraint is used to make parts align with a plate direction, reducing the number of rotations allowable.  It can be for reasons of part structural strength (steel plate often has better mechanical properties along its long axis due to the rolling process) or to reduce chances of parts tipping during cutting (eg nesting long skinny parts across slats rather than along them).

As Grain Angle is stored with plates and parts, so it is transformed when the plates and parts are transformed, for example if an offcut remnant is rotated 90 degree to improve nesting, so is its grain angle.

It affects both autonesting and manual nesting, though grain constraint can be overidden when manually rotating parts if the Alt key is depressed.

More information can be found in Using Grain Constraint in PrimecutNE

Home Screen MRU Jumps

At the top right of the Quotes, Workorders and Nesting buttons on the home screen, there are now embedded "Most Recently Used"  (MRU) jump buttons, indicated by the green jump arrows, which allow you to quickly jump to any one of your last 10 opened quotes, workorders or plates.

Support for Custom Plugins

A framework is now incorporated into the client, allowing custom "plugin" DLLs to be written by Kinetic to allow some integration with 3rd party ERP, MRP and accounting programs.  An exampe use is a plugin which reads a bill of materials from a spreadsheet or from an external database, and loads these workorders into primecut.

Plugin DLLs should be placed in the plugins folder under the main Primecut4 folder on the client computers.  Primecut autodetects, identifies and registers with the plugin at startup.

Contact the software team at Kinetic if you are interested in this feature.  Development of the plugin typically involves an initial detailed specification of what the plugin will do, what file or database formats are to be read or written, and from the specification kinetic can quote a cost to develop the plugin.

Miscellaneous Improvements



Version 4.5.310 [Back to Top]

Leadin Improvements

Locked Leadins

Leads can now be LOCKED .  This has been introduced for cases where the leadin on a particular part must be of a certain type, in a certain place on the cut.  You can lock a leadin on its parent cutting process via its lead flexibility option, it is a property of the cutting process rather than the lead itself.   When a lead is locked you are unable to move it or change its properties- you can however still delete it or unlock it (by changing its cutting process's lead flexibility to Fixed , Can Resize, or Can Move and Resize ).

Locked leadin

Change Leads Context Menu

When a set of cutting processes or cutting process leadins are selected, you can access the Change Leads submenu from the right click context menu.  From here you can easily (keyboard shortcuts in brackets):

Change Leads context menu

Fix Leads :  Sets the cutting paths' lead flexibility to Fixed . (Ctrl-1 )

Float Leads :  Sets the cutting paths' lead flexibility to Can Move and Resize (Ctrl-2 )

Lock Leads :  Sets the cutting paths' lead flexibility to LOCKED (Ctrl-3 )

Move Leads ...:  You can have the leads replaced with a corner preference for any corner from Bottom Right (Ctrl-4 ) through to Top Right (Ctrl-7 ) in a clockwise direction.

Leadin Corner tendency has been strengthened somewhat also to produce more definitive results; it the move leads function may still not  place the lead on the corner you desire if it will not fit there.

Item Quantity Improvements, especially for "Kitsetting" with BOMs

Both the workorder and quote editors now allow you to select multiple line items and through the right click contect menu:

Set  Item Quantities :  set all the selected items to have a new quantity required

Multiply Item Quantities :  multiply all selected item quantities by the multiplier entered, useful when kitsetting, see below

Divide Item Quantitie s:  divide all selected item quantities by the divisor entered, mainly as an "undo" for the multiply above

After importing a bill of materials (.Bom file, a list of names and quantities referring to parts already existing in the database), the newly imported items are now selected and the Multiply Item Quantities dialog launched with a default multiple of 1, allowing quantities of a kitset to be easily specified.  For example if the BOM represents a set of parts needed to make 1 of an assembly, and 5 are required, after loading the BOM enter 5 in the multiplier box and all BOM quantities will be multiplied by 5 and applied to the line items.

Nesting Improvements

Autonesting Improvements

The algorithms and nest evaluation have been improved for certain nesting cases.  An additional autocluster type is now considered.  Single autoclusters were not being used if an array of two would fit previously, and similarly nesting an odd number of a clusterable part would often resort to the std array instead of array of clusters and then a single.  This was particularlay noticeable when dealing with large trapezoidal shapes.

Measure in nesting mode now uses snaps

Plate geometry editing has introduced snapping into the nesting editor, and as such exact measurements may now be made.

Plate Editing Tools

Plate editing
An Edit Plate button has been provide4d on a toolbar across the top of the nesting editor.  Activating plate editing mode displays buttons to draw rectangles, circles (both 2-point-diamteric and 3 point), and general polylines.  Any shape drawn which lies inside the plate creates a hole, any shape drawn outside the plate creates "more plate".  In this way you can both cut holes in plate and extend a plates size (in conjunction with snaps) using Edit Plate.

Uses:
When drawing polylines, use the SHIFT modifier key to temporarily toggle ortho mode (right angle lines), and the CTRL modifier key to switch a segments to an arc instead of a line.

A Revert Plate geometry button is provided which undoes all plate geometry editing.  You can individually "delete" a hole you have cut in the plate by snap-drawing an identical hole over the top of it, thereby "filling it in".  Use quadrant snap if filling in a circular hole.

Quoting Enhancements

Quote Totals which are not currently valid are hidden

If changes are made to the quote which require a full recalculation, the quote totals are hidden so as not to possibly present the user with incorrect, out of date information.

Fixed Line Pricing

The price for a line item may now be fixed.  For example if a calculated line price for 10 off an item  is $297.23 (including extra charges and discounts) then the sales person can fix this price to be say $300.00 or $30.00 per item (however they prefer to specify it).

Fixed prices are displayed highlighted in yellow:

fixed line prices in yellow

Internally Primecut records these price fixes as adjustments to the line price, and these adjustments are accumulated art the bottom of the quote editor so that everything adds up and the salesperson can see the cumulative effect of their adjustments on a number of lines.

"Extra Charges" are now split into two rows: Item Charges being the sum of the line charges, extra off-machine processing charges, and Job Charges being the sum of the workorder/Job programming charge, freight charge and extra charges.

Note Line price fixing is after discounts and charges, ie you are fixing the final sell price for the item (excluding taxes).

Adjustments summary

In Place Editing of Line Quantity

In addition to the quantity tools described earlier (set, multiply,divide) setting line items quantities has been further simplified allowing you to edit the quantity in the grid view (along with line sell price and item sell price).  If the line price has been fixed, then changing the quantity uses the unit sell as its fixed price, eg doubling the quantity doubles the fixed total sell for the line.

Version 4.5.316 [Back to Top]

Edge Crops can now optionally define Offcuts

A Checkbox has been added to the Edge crop dialog; if ticked an offcut will be produced

Part Labeling can limit to n characters

You can now limit the part label to the first or last n characters to speed up marking, especially useful when many parts on a plate have a similar prefix.  The Wrap  option wraps the text onto the next line, whjich was the previous behaviour.

Version 4.5.317 [Back to Top]

Part Revision Filters Improved When Searching By Quote, Workorder or Customer

Previously the "Latest Revision " and "All Revisions " filters could produce some technically correct but undesirable results when filtering by customer, quote or workorder.All Revisions f or example would show all revisions of the part linked to (specifically referenced by) the workorders and quotes, not necessarily all revisions of the part, and in particular sometimes would often exclude the latest revision if for example when parts were edited in Parts mode, and not then used immediately in a quote or workorder.
The old "Latest Revision " filter in this instance would not show the part at all.  

For example if quote 999 referenced "Base Widget" rev 0, and then in parts mode Base Widget was modified creating rev 1, then searching for parts and showing ALL Revisions for quote 999 would show only rev 0, while Latest revision wouldn't show the part at all.   This could be somewhat misleading.

In this update the part revision matching has been made more general and more intuitive: If ANY revisions of a part are referenced by a quote or workorder, then ALL revisions of the part are associated with the same quote or workorder when searching. Thus All Revisions will show all revisions of the part, whether or not they are referenced by the filtered quotes/workorders, and Latest Revision will always show the latest revision- as users generally expect! 

To preserve the existing functionality another filter option has been added: Linked Revisions . When a customer, quote or workorder filter is in effect this filter shows only the specific part revisions referenced by those quotes and workorders.  If no customer/quote/workorder filtering is in effect, then this filter is the exact opposite of Unused Revisions , other wise it is equivalent to the old "all revisions" functionality.

Control over whether Text is Used or Ignored when Nesting

Prior to version 4.5.306 Primecut text was always accounted for when nesting, which can greatly slow down the autonesting process in particular due to the relatively high complexity of text geometry.  In version 4.5.306 we began ignoring text to speed up nesting, however this has some disadvantages:

NOTE In this last case the proper way to handle it is to create an Area Layer, and delete the cutout from the Area Layer.  This has two benefits, 1) the entire cutout is "occupied" and can't be nested within, even by tiny parts, and 2) the part ship weight, nest efficiency and scrap calculations will be correct; using the text only technique the cutout which is actually a part in itself is considered (mostly) scrap.

In this version we introduce a per part setting called Nest Text, which if set keeps the old behaviour, acounting for text when nesting.  In this way the nesting of text is up to the user.

Further there is a global setting Part Default for "Nest text"   which controls how existing parts created before this update are treated, and the default for new parts that are created:

What should the default setting above be set to?  That depends on how important to your company process seeing text on the parts and in in reports is.  Note that even with Nest Text off the text will still appear in the plate nestmap report images, but not in the overall nest image typically found on the summary page.  And if you have the default setting off, you can still activate it on a part by part basis as required.

New Report Viewer

The new report viewer was implemented to fix some issues with printing or viewing reports in quick succession which could cause lockups. Other benefits of the new viewer include thumbnail previews, a text search function, two-up layouts and smooth scrolling:

At the far left of the toolbar, to the left of the print buttons is a Refresh button, which regenerates the report if there is some reason to believe background database info may have changed.

The Print All button prints all tabs in a multi-tab report., while Print Tab just prints the current tab, or a page selection from it.   In a single tab report tyhses will be replaced with a single Print button.

Next there a four buttons for standard file exports (PDF ,CSV , XLS and XML ), the magnifying glass button lets you choose a different "item" for the report (eg enter a different plateID), or enter different filter information (eg different dates for the Plates reconciled Brteween dates report) and the binoculars button activates the Text Search function.  Note, text seach searches within the current tab only, and is case-insensitive

Next are the zoom controls, Fit Page , Fit Width and Full Size as well as an explicit zoom % control, then a self-explanatory page number control, and view style selectors: Normal Smooth Scrolling Two-Up and Smooth Scrolling Two-Up .  

Finally the Close button may be used to close the current tab, and during generation (while primecut is writing the report to screen) it acts instead as a Cancel button which stops the generation process.

Ability to close Incomplete Workorders added

Previously a workorder had to be completed (all parts reconciled) before it could be closed.  You can now Force Close one or more incomplete workorders from workorders mode:
  1. Login as an administrative user (one who has the permissions to change Global settings)
  2. In the workorder selector select the workorder you want to close.  (Completed or not)
  3. Right click and choose Close Completed Workorders (as usual...)
  4. You will be prompted when an incomplete workorder is encountered whether to force close it, or to force close all incomplete , to skip this one, or to skip all incomplete.

Version 4.5.320 [Back to Top]

Nesting to Dummy Plates Optimizes Template Choice

In quoting, when there were multiple different sizes of plate available, Primecut would previously select the biggest template when creating dummy plates from templates.  Primecut now tries each template size in turn, and will use the template that:
  1. Can nest the most parts (large parts may not fit at all on smaller templates)
  2. Uses the least mass of material (based on fiull plate weight, ie minimizes offcut and scrap weight)

Angled Pierce Support added for Bevelling

A new property has been added to Bevel processes: Vertical Pierce .  This defaults to true, and when true the torch will pierce vertically then tip over to the initial bevel angle (if there is one set) before moving off.  This is the standard and recommended method of piercing for bevelling.  There may be occasions however when it is needed to pierce on an angle, for example applying a top bevel above a land to the edge of an already cut plate.  In these cases set Vertical Pierce to false.

To assist with this we now display the bevel pierce vector in the processing editor, as well as the initial bevel transition "fan".  Additionally,  warnings are inserted into the NC program if non-vertical piercing is used, for safety, as detailed in the note below:

WARNING:  Piercing at an angle can cause a "rooster tail" of sparks and molten metal to be ejected from the plate at an angle away from the torch, much further than when vertical piercing.  This poses a Hazard to the operator and any other personnel standing near the cutting area.  Additionally it may result in shortened consumable life.   Use only when absolutely necessary.

Nestmaps now have Adjustable Label Size and Color

The nestmap labelling has been improved.  Nestmap label sizes can now be adjusted via the Tools menu, User Options ,  Reports tab.

The Nominal Label Height setting there allows you to set the approximate height of the labels when teh various nestmap images are printed full page.  ie if the Nominal label height is set to 10mm, and an A4 landscape nestmap image is printed full page landscape on an A4 piece of paper the labels should be 10mm high.  If the same A4 landscape nestmap image is printed full page lanscape on an A3 page size then the label heights will be approximately 14.1mm, whereas using the A3 landscape image on the A3 paper would result in the expected 10mm height.

If you generate a nestmap and the labels are the wrong size, go into the menu ( Tools menu, User Options ,  Reports tab), change the height to make them bigger or smaller, then hit the Refresh button on the report editor to regenerate the labels.  Note the changed label size is stored for each user.

You can also set a contrasting color, which is useful if printing in color or viewing on screen.

A third option Use Numeric Labels has been provided which defaults to true.  Disabling this, which is only recommended if your parts have very short names, will print the partnames on the nestmap instead of the key numbers.

Version 4.5.327 [Back to Top]

Quoting: New Customer settings for Machine Time Discount, Overall Discount

Customers previously had settings for default Material Discount and Cutting Discount.  Default settings for machine time Discount and Overall Discount have been added for consistency.  Note these may be represented visually as markups if Markup Based Quoting is in effect, see below.

Quoting: Markup Based Quoting

A global setting is now available which switches the Discount percentages (material, machine time, cutting and overall) to Markup percentages.  Note a negative discount is equivalent to a positive markup and vice versa, eg -20% discount is equivalent to a 20% markup.

Global Settings -> Quote Tab -> Markup Based Quoting
(default is false, ie represent as discounts)



If the discounts or markups are set negative, they are highlighted red when quoting, and blue if non-zero and positive.
An quote example with Markup Based quoting active, a material markup of 20% and a machine time discount of 5%:


Quoting: "Nest+" Cost Allocation Calculation Replaces "Nest Based"

Nest Based quoting has always provided the most accurate overall measure of material and machine usage, however a disadvantage in comparison to Part Based quoting is that individual parts have their costs affected by how they are nested and sequenced, and thus nearly identical parts may be assigned very different "item each"  prices depending on where the parts are nested and what other parts they are nested with, and depending on how the plates are sequenced.  ie the total price is "fair", but the distribution between items sometimes appears "unfair".

Nest+   rectifies this.  Nest+ will produce the same overall quote value and the old Nest Based system, now referred to as Nest (Legacy) . It calculates the prices in the same manner as Nest (legacy),  however it then performs a "fair" redistribution of part charges within each material/thickness group by allocating each item a weighted fraction of the total cost as follows:
Item Material Cost = Total Material Cost * Item fraction of Total Ship Weight
Item Machine Time Cost = Total Machine Time Cost  * Item fraction of Machine Raw Time
Machine Raw Time is the processing time excluding toolchanges and rapids, ie it is sequence and nest independent.  The Total Machine Time Cost does include allowance for rapids and toolchanges, so these are still accounted for, but more evenly spread over the items.

In some cases where relatively simple parts are being nested and quoted together with particularly complex parts, the Nest (Legacy) method may be considered fairer so that the toolchanging and rapids involved in the complex parts "stay with " the complex parts instead of being shared with the simpler parts and thereby inflating their apparent costs, and deflating the complex part costs.

Consumable or cutting costs are unaffected by the Nest+ redistribution as they are themselves independent of nesting and sequencing, being charges per process length, start or time.

New Account Type Customer Setting

Customers now have an integer Account Type field, useful for example for storing whether a customer is on cash, 7 day account or 30 day account terms.  The definition and interpretation of the Account Type fields is left to the user; Primecut only maintains this field for reporting purposes.

Due Date Enhancements: Deliver by, Delivery Lead Times, and Extra Processing Lead Times

Previously workorders had a Due date property, line items would effectively inherit this and when nested on plates the plate due date would become the mininmum due date of any of the line items nested on it.  This however took no account of deleivery lead times, or the fact that some parts would need to be cut earlier if they needed extra processing which also involved some lead time.

Now, workorder dues date is interpreted as Deliver By, and the line items each compute their own Cut By Date property based on:
Cut By Date = Workorder Delivery Date - Workorder Delivery Lead - SUM( Item extra processing lead times)
Delivery and Extra processing leads are specified in whole days..

The delivery and extra processing lead time subtractions are work week aware, and atthis time we assume a Monday-Friday work week; this may be customisable in future.  eg If the delivery date is a Tuesday, and the net lead time is 2 days, the computed Cut By Date will not be the Sunday, but will advance back to the previous Friday.

When creating a new workorder the initial delivery lead time is obtained from a per customer default, but is editable.  Similarly the standard off-machine processing types now have a default lead time, and the actual lead time applied for the extra processing is editable on the workorder item.



NOTE: Job and Plate reports showing Due Date will be still showing the earliest delivery date.  You may well want the plate to instead show the Cut by Date, if so see.


Miscellaneous Improvements

Version 4.5.333 [Back to Top]

Part-based Upper Bound on Nest Based Material Allocation

When calculating nest-based material allocation, either for a nest based quote or for costing a nested and cut workorder, the nest based material calculation method could under certain circumstances allocate an unreasonably large area/weight of material as being used.

A nest based costing uses the following rules to determine how much material to allocate to each part, first calculating how much plate has be "used" and then how much should be allocated to each part:

Plate Used Area Determination

  1. An initial estimate for the allocated plate area is formed by one of 3 means:
    1. If the plate has Charge Full Plate set, then the full plate area is charged (this is the true shape area of the plate if it is a remnant or skeleton).
    2. Otherwise, if a crop line (not a skeleton crop) has been placed on the plate, then the rea of plate used is the true shape area of the plate under the crop line.  (Crop lines can thus be used to control how much plate should be charged when quoting).
    3. Otherwise, the area used is the area of a rectangle encompassing the extents of the nest, expanded by the plate gap.
  2. (New in v4.5.33:) The initial area allocated is then compared to the sum of the nested part expanded rectangular areas multiplied by a factor ( the global setting Max Part Rect Area Waste which defaults to 120%), and is limited to that as an upper bound.
  3. The resulting area is finally compared to the true shape plate area multiplied by a factor (New in v4.5.333 : the global setting Full Plate Usage Threshold, which defaults to 90%.   Previously this was fixed at 90%).  If the allocated area exceeds this threshold, the allocated area is set equal to the true shape plate area (ie all plate is used, same as Charge Full Plate  above).  Note this can both increase allocated area on a plate where the computed allocated area is just less than the plate true shape area, or can decrease it when it exceeds the plate true shape area.
  4. Part Expanded Rectangular Areas are the areas allocated to the parts when performing a part based quote.  They are computed as the extents rectangle of the parts, expanded by the plate gap (if nested on a plate, or 10mm if not), multiplied by the part's Nest Efficiency .  The nest efficiency is typically 110% but is settable part by part as a part property, and defaults for this value for new parts are global settings.  It is intended to represent the inevitable waste introduced when nesting.

    Part Area Allocation

    Once the Nest area ahas been allocated the parts are allocated a proportional share of this based on the ratio of their individual  ship weights to the total ship weight of parts nested on the plate.  This is done plate by plate, so parts nested across multiple plates may receive slightly different material allocations from plate to plate depending on how the plates are nested.

    Global Settings Controlling Nest Allocation

    Two settings mentioned above are new in this version, and found on the Quote tab of Global Settings:

    Example of the Max Part Rect Area Waste Filter in use:

    The following was nested onto a skeleton plate.  The customer prefers not to use crop lines, or he could have cropped the right hand and top nested areas out of the plate, resulting in a fair nest allocation.  Instead Primecut will use the nest extents rectangle, resulting in an initial allocated area greater than the plate area itself.  This would then have been reduced to be exactly the plate area after determining the allocated area was greater than 90% of the plate true shape area in previous versions.  The nett result is that the full plate is allocated, and charged, which might be considered unfair to the customer's whose parts have been nested in this way!

    In 4.5.333 however the initial plate area is first compared to the product of Max Part Rect Area Waste (say 120%) and the sum of the expanded part rectangular areas.  As it exceeds this (by some margin!), the allocated area is limited to it.  This results in a fairer material allocation, and happier customers.

    Do Not Set Max Part Rect Area Waste Too Low!

    This filter places an upper bound on the charged material quantity, limiting it to a greater than unity factor times the area that would be allocated if a part based quote was performed.  As such it acts in the end-customer's favour only.  Your efficient nesting and packing of parts can still further reduce the nest calculated charges below this upper bound to the customer's benefit, but inefficient nesting, or parts that just don't nest nicely, can result in material waste which the customer is not charged for, ie a loss to the cutting company.  A suggested starting point is the setting default, 120%.  Remember also this is applied on top of the part nest efficiency which defaults to 110%.
    As it is applied at the nest allocation level, rather than the individual part level, it is still possible for individual small parts to be allocated an area much greater than expected if they are nested together with much larger parts, as the the filter works on the total area.

    Visual Enhancements to Quote and Workorder Editing

    Customers Are Color Coded

    The color setting in the customers section is now displayed editing and selecting  workorders and quotes.

    Workorder Nearly Due Is Colored Differently

    The workorder selector now only colors the Due Date column, not the whole row for clarity.  The "Nearly Due" coloring (yellow) now has a settable thershold, and the threshold is workday aware, ie it takes into account weekends.  The threshold defaults to the old fixed value of 2 days, however with now being work day aware, jobs due on a monday or tuesday will start highlighting in yellow on Thursday or Friday of the previous week.

    The setting controlling how many work days before due to highlight the job is set in global settings, in the workorder/Job tab:


    Number Required Is Editable In Place

    As it was in quoting mode..

    Part Revision Refresh Indication Improved.

    The refresh icons have been moved into the revision number column, indications have been simplified, and the refresh icons are now clickable to refresh a single line item.
    Lines with a zero quantity (often representing an older revision that must still be tracked as it is nested on plates) are now greyed out as "inactive".

    The orange refresh icon above indicates that the newest part revision is being edited in the workspace.  Clicking refresh, you will be prompted to first save the workspace, including the new revision, before doing the refresh.
    The lime refresh icon indicates that the latest revision exists in the database (has been saved).  In this case the newer revision is already in the workorder but with quantity 0,  as might happen immediately after editing a part and saving  and unlocking it.
    The grey icon indicates a newer revision exists, but as the quantity required is 0, it likely does not matter.  This is often the case when old revisions are still tracked in a workorder after being updated- they can't be deleted from the workorder if they exist on plates.

    New Progress Column Replaces Status Column

    Previously Primecut would indicate whether a part was partially nested, fully nested, overnested or all cut by means of ticks etc in its Status column.  These have been replaced with more informative Pie Charts which are available for line items as well as for workorders.  The example below is from the workorder selector showing workorder progress.  This column is sortable, which should be very useful for all Primecut roles (sales, nesting, production planning etc) to quickly identify work to be done.



    The portions of the pie chart indicate the portions of the parts required to nest (white), nested , scheduled  andready .  An orange halo indicates one or more parts have been overnested .  A red slice indicates rejected parts, for clarity this converts to a red halo around a lime circle if the workorder is ready.  A green tick may be superimposed if the workorder has been closed, or a red cross if the workorder has been cancelled.

    In the workorder or quote editor each items shows the same pie, and at the bottom right of screen there is an enlarged pie for the current selection of items (as well as a new enlarged part icon for single item selections).  A slider to the left has been added for increasing the display row height, to make the pie charts and the part icons larger.


    Some special cases are worth noting:

    White circle: No parts nested yet
    Blue solid circle: All Parts are nested, none are yet scheduled.
    Yellow solid circle: All Parts are nested and scheduled.
    Lime solid circle: All parts are ready
    Lime solid circle with orange halo: all parts are ready but overnested
    Lime solid circle with red halo: all parts ready, some rejected (6 cut in this example)



    Version 4.5.335 [Back to Top]


    Quote Reports can now use simplified data structure

    The need to use the QuoteLines and QuoteTotals "JITS" in the data source has been removed, which allows more ease and flexibilty in how these reports are structured, and allows them to generate faster as well.  

    TblWorkorder.QuoteValue
    is the total quoted price exclusive of sales tax if applicable.
    TblWorkorderItem.TotalSell is the line item price.   Divide by tblWorkorderItem.NrRequired to get the unit price.



    Improved Create Item From, Automatic Part Harvesting and Material Aliases

    Composite drawings containing a number of part drawings can now be processed much more quickly, as primecut now has some "AI" built in to aid recognition of labels representing quantity required, grade and thickness and Part Name.  To assist with recognizing material names, materials now support aliases , ie other names by which a given material or material family may be known by.  These aliases should be unique, ie any alias should only be an alias for a single material, or a single material family.

    For more detail see Material Aliases and also Part Harvesting

    Create a Quote from a Cut Job for Invoicing  (QFJ)

    A special type of (usually nested) quote can be generated from a (usually cut, or at least nested) job.  This is useful when a job has been processed without first quoting it and invoicing is to be performed.  If the job parts were nested together with parts from other jobs, while the nett charge is accurately calculated some imbalance in how the cut based costing is applied can result in parts from one job being more expensive than expected, while parts from another job are cheaper, especially in terms of the material charge.
    A function has been added to "retrospectively" quote the job, called Quote From Job or QFJ.  Right click on the active quote in the quote expliorer at top left of the screen and select "Quote From Job".  This copies the job into a quote 9with extra processing , charges and discounts) and then copies all the nests onto duplicate dummy plates; but only the parts from the job under consideration are included on these duplicate nests; other parts are ignored/excluded.  It will often be necessary to renest some of these copied plates to obtain a fair price as the excluded "other-job" parts will leave holes in the quote nests which will result in excessive material being charged.  Croplines may need to be removed or modified as well.

    Always check the QFJ nests visually for gaps before generating the quote!

    Example

    Consider the following nest of 8 rings (500OD, 400ID) for one customer, and a single disk for (Diameter 300) for another customer.  In this case all the parts happen to have the same ship weight , though each ring clearly uses more plate than the disk.  Being nested together, the material allocated is the expanded rectangle around the rings, and this allocated area is distributed based on part ship weight among all the parts, so each ring and the disk recieve 1/9 of the total allocated area/weight.  The end result is that the disk has 19kg allocated to it for charging.  If this disk was nested by itself (or a part based costing performed) the disk would only be allocated 7.5kg, ie the cut based allocation has "overcharged' material to the disk by around 150%.  The situation would be worse still if we decided to charge the full plate: the disk customer would be charged for 25kg of plate (ie 1/9 of the total plate weight), ie a 230% "overcharge".

    The overall charges are still fair however the allocation of those charges between different parts and thus jobs is based on ship weight of the parts, and in some cases this distribution can be "unfair"


    Similarly the rings customer gets a reduced material allocation due to the other part being nested inside.  The allocation of material to a job can depend strongly on the other parts it is nested with.  

    In this case it would be wise at least for the disk customer to generate a QFJ to charge from, if the customer is to be given a fair price.  The ring customer can probably be charged as per the cutting analysis (ie slightly discounted as some material was recovered for another job), or could have a QFJ generated which will charge them as though no ther parts were able to be nested.
      





Version 4.5.343 [Back to Top]


Machine Status/Planning Window

Zooming will now continue if the zoom in/out buttons are left held down.
Closing the status/planning window via the Windows 'Close Window Cross' will now return users to the Application's main window

Version 4.5.346 [Back to Top]

Support for Passthrough Machines

The new postprocessor (machine) settings are shown below:

For passthrough machines, set Plate Dragger Mode Active to true.  
you must set Trapdoor active to true and set up a trapdoor tool to allow the trapdoor to function.  Trapdoor drops are currently added manually in the sequencing editor.
Max Part Width and Max Part Height  define the maximum X and Y dimensions respectively of parts that can be nested on this machine's plates.  The restrictions are in place particularly on machines with a trapdoor but no outfeed conveyor, where all cut parts must be dropped through the trapdoor and so must fit the trapdoor and any subsequent part handling equipment.
The Clamp Zones define hazard zones on the plate where no parts should be nested, such as wehere the grippers grip the plate.  Their settings are self explanatory.
The Tool Envelope defines how close the tools can get to a hazard or clamp, and should represent in each direction the greatest envelope requirement of all the tools.  For example in the minimum Y direction the spindle may dictate how close we can nest to the clamps, due to the clamp foot geometry,  while in the other directions it may be the plasma bevel envelope.

The Trapdoor is set up as a "Trapdoor Tool", similar to a pause tool.  And also similar to pauses, trapdoor drops are manually inserted in the sequencing editor.

Trapdoor Format defines how the Trapdoor command is sent to the controller.  The two %s parameters are the X and Y coordinates to be sent, and how these are calculated depends on the setting of Aperture Part Placement, below.
Trapdoor Aperture defines the X-width of the trapdoor and is used for display purposes and computing what parts are dropped when a drop occurs.  Trapdoor height is the Y extent of the trapdoor.
Aperture Part Placement determines where on the trapdoor the part is to be moved to before the trapdoor opens as follows: 0 centers the part(s) on the trapdoor, 1 places the parts at the left edge of the trapdoor (minimizes plate movement before dropping, recommended) and 2 places them at the right hand edge.
Trapdoor Time is used to allocate time for the trapdoor drop for scheduling and costing purposes.



In the sequencing editor with a passthrough machine, narrow zig-zag zoned part by part sequencing  with start at the right top of the plate is generally recommended:


Afterwards you can select all parts, right click and choose Add Trapdoor After to drop each part immediately after it has been cut (recommended).  Alternatively choose Trapdoor Selected Parts in Batches, which will cut as many parts as can be dropped in a single drop, then drop them all together- this results in faster processing with fewer drops but also involves moving loose parts around in the skeleton while cutting, increasing the risk of parts jamming.

Trapdoor drops are displayed as red trapezia, we use trapezia rather than rectangles to clarify display when there are many overlapping drops.  


When adding trapdoors to groups, the actual trapdoor drops are added as the last item within the groups (be it a part, zone or other manually created groups). When editing a group a single trapdoor drop may be deleted by first selecting the trapdoor drop so it is highlighted, then clicking on the X handle.  The drop may be moved also by dragging its translation handle but this is not recommended- it alters the parts that are dropped but not position of the drop within the sequence, thus its effects can be confusing.



There is an option to Remove All Trapdoor Drops also to clear the trapdoors.  We recommend doing this after resequencing or optimizing order.

You can also choose  Add Trapdoor After after an individual cut or bevel process when editing a sequence/group/part.  This can be useful to trapdoor drop large cutouts which are unlikely to fall through the machine's cutting aperture.  

Sequence animation will now show completely cut parts (those severed from the plate but not yet trapdoor dropped) as solid red, and those parts which have been trapdoor dropped as black.  "Red" parts are loose in the skeleton until they are dropped or manually removed and can cause cutting issues.  If Add Trapdoor After has been applied to all parts then the animation will show the parts turning black immediately, while Trapdoor Selected in Batches will show them turning red (loose in skeleton) before several turn black at once as they are dropped.

New Postprocessor Edge Start/Stop conditions for Cutting Tools

Cutting tool parameters have been grouped more logically as can be seen above.  New settings have been added for special handling of cuts marked as Edge start or Edge Finish, as highlighted above.  In particular:
Edge Stop Overshoot can be used to extend an edge finish past the edge of the plate (whose exact position may not be known at programming time) for remnant cropping or skeleton cropping.  If given a negative value as above it will actually shorten the cut, so the above setting shortens the cut 10mm before the edge, but then an 18mm leadout is applied by the Edge Stop Leadout Length setting, resulting in effectively a 8mm overshoot.  Additionally the Edge Stop Pre-Leadout code inserts an M4 command which instructs Kinetic's Touchcut controller to ignore loss of arc.

Skeleton Cropping Enhancements

F8 (Ortho Mode) can now be enabled when shifting crop handles, to enable crops to be placed exactly parallel to plate edges.  As in the geometry editor, use the SHIFT key to dynamically switch the state of Ortho mode while dragging handles.
Endpoint, centerpoint and nearest snap points have been enabled, allowing crops to snap to cutting geometry and to the plate edges.
Crops can be dragged across processed parts, and they will automatically split into on-plate segments, removing the on-part sections.  Additionally the Lead Snaps value is used to shorten the crops a small distance from the cuts to allow for cut kerf.  A typical values for Lead Snap is thus just under twice the kerf offset/radius , ie just under the kerf diameter.  This allows crop cuts to start and stop just on the edge of the cuts.

Measure mode (F2) now also uses the snaps in the processing editors, so can be more exact.

Example Showing New Plate cropping, and edge finish codes

The following example shows a skeleton crop being placed across a nest of parts.  The end result is a series of short crop cuts.  The first crop cut at the bottom can apply an edge-start on the plate edge if required, and the last cut at the top can apply a plate runoff end criterion; this latter condition is particularly useful since the plate width is often not know exactly, meaning the top edge my not be exactly where we think it is t programming time.  A runoff condition is typically applied where a short distance before the nominal plate edge we pass a code to the controller telling it to ignore unexpected loss of arc, then we keep cutting a specified distance beyond the edge to ensure the plate is severed. The arc will "pop out" and the program will continue without raising an arc lost error.  Note of course these runoff cuts can cause shorter consumable life.












Processing Editor can now Change Machine

The processing editor now has a Change Machine button which remaps existing processing (on parts or plates) to a different controller, remapping tools dynamically with the Review Tool Matches dialog.  Previously the part or plate would have to have been reprocessed entirely which would lose programming intent, especially on complex bevelled parts.
 

Automatic Bevel Corner Loops

When beveling parts corner loops now appear and disappear as needed;  There is a new bevel process property Auto Cornerloop (defaults to true), turn this off on the bevel process to disable this feature.  Corner loops are automatically hidden if the torch is vertical both sides of the corner or if the bevel rotation changes by less than (180 degrees -bevel smoothing angle, typically 10 degrees) across the corner.