PALLETMANAGER is being continually enhanced, frequently as a result of user feedback. As one user remarked recently - 'we have looked at other software products but PALLETMANAGER still provides the fastest and most comprehensive range of solutions and yet uses a simple and easily understood interface'. The Manual Main Menu can be accessed here.
For Release 9.0.
This release includes a range of powerful new features. Amongst the new features introduced in this and other recent upgrades are:
This release uses included new and more efficient code to perform calculations more quickly and the programs have been created using a new compiler system.
Users may also be interested to learn that users are now utilising Mac equipment to run PALLETMANAGER and CARGOMANAGER. Specifically they are utilising Parallels Desktop 12 for Mac Business Edition, Windows 10 Pro all running on a MacBook Pro running macOS Sierra 10.12.5. "It worked perfectly was the comment" from the very satisfied client. Whilst we cannot personally test this out, we are happy to assist users who may be interested in utilising such platforms by proving a trial system of our software for testing.
Ongoing updates to Windows 10 and the Microsoft Edge browser have necessitated further changes throughout the software to accommodate the new options offered in these environments, doing so in a manner which ensures compatibility with earlier versions of both browsers and operating systems. We have also continues to make changes to try to ensure as far as possible that during both installation and running security products that the user may have installed do not generate false security alerts. As part of these updates it is now possible for users to utilise the 'Print to PDF' function included in Windows 10 [previously free utilities such as PDFMachine White were recommended and this is still an excellent choice for working with a wide range of other software].
A set of new routines activated by the new program BATCHPRINT1 (see Section 14.13 ) have been put together which allows users of STORE to print out ALL Ti/High reports held in their STORE database without any user interaction.
PALLETMANAGER includes in the installation folder 2 spreadsheet files containing links to the PALLETMANAGER calculation routines. These enable you to use two special functions PACK1210(a,b) and PACK(A,B,C,D) which between them (as described below), allow you to calculate the optimum number of cases / pallet layer on any pallet size and hence the optimum number of cases / pallet within an Excel spreadsheet. This has been developed to work with the latest Office 365 - v16 - 32 bit version of Excel and earlier 32 bit versions from Office 2010 and 2013 and has been updated to work with the latest Office 365 version.
As most users will be aware the Do Better facility available to the majority of users (selected from Screen 5) frequently provided users with major cost savings as a result of making very minor changes to case or product dimensions - sometimes a mm. or less. In this release we have extended the feature to allow users to view and explore in a graphical screen a chart displaying the current solution point and regions nearby where an improvement in number/layer can be achieved. This is explained in detail in Section 15.9 of the manual. The display of this information has been updated and enhanced in the latest release and further enhancement to the functionality have been included.
Whilst one has always been able to display 2D and 3D pictures of the pallet stack both on-screen and on the printed reports we have now added a new feature to Screen 6 where the pallet pattern is selected - the ability to display on screen how for the selected layout a mirror / flip or rotation of the base layer will work in respect of helping to form a stable stack. A new additional set of buttons 'Display 2D of Pattern Interlock' is now available and this results in the 'normal' base layer being displayed, with the arrangement of the 2nd layer shown in dark outline superimposed over the base layer.
In response to requests from a number of users you can now specify a logo to replace the standard PALLETMANAGER logo in the top left of ALL reports produced by PALLETMANAGER (Ti/High; Palletise, Collation, CUBE etc). The procedure to follow to provide this is described in detail in Appendix 1 - 17 of the manual. Obviously this is optional and the previous small default PALLETMANAGER logo is used otherwise. The logo, when used, will be displayed on all new reports, all reports printed from STORE database and any new reports saved to the Webbase database.
The CASEBASE Case Match Database has always 'flagged up' instances where an existing database case is big enough to be used with an example just run through Collation mode using a * in column 1 of the tabular results. As a result of user feedback this has now been extended to add a ? coding in column 1 if a CASEBASE database entry is close in size to but strictly too small to be used as a case for a given Collation result. This is described in Section 13.3 of the manual.
Users of the STORE module may not be aware of a facility to transfer details of ALL their STORE products into a spreadsheet (as a comma separated file) for further examination. This has been a briefly documented feature for some time and full details can be found in Section 9.3 of the manual.
In addition to the standard Palletise mode which optimises palletisation on a single stated pallet size, we have recently introduced a completely new Palletise Comparison Mode. This allows users who need to distribute product on 2 different pallet sizes (e.g. a EURO pallet of 1200*800 and a 'UK' pallet of 1200*1000) to see side by side how well a given case will palletise on the two user-specified pallet sizes and, of course, select either or both for display of stacks, Ti-High reports etc - See Section 5.15 of the manual.
Do Better - the function used in both Palletise and Collation modes to show how close you are to achieving a better solution (more/layer) was in the last release enhanced in a number of ways. Firstly, each result on on Screen 5 (where solutions are ranked and the user selects which to proceed with) is now examined and a *** (star) system is used to indicate those solutions where, with a small dimensional change, improvements can be achieved. [Previously users had to select Do Better after highlighting an individual entry to see whether that given entry might yield an improved solution]. Thus, in situations where a minor change in case size might be possible, users can more quickly identify which solutions might most usefully be examined further - the more starts (* to ***) indicate the degree of improvement possible - See Section 15.3 of the manual.
Secondly, Do Better can now be used in the new Pallet Compare mode to show how minor dimensional changes would provide more cases / pallet across the two pallet sizes being examined. See Section 15.7 for more details.
New controls have been added to allow users to quickly and easily adjust the proportion of a wide screen display that is used for window display (a utility configscreen), and to cater for larger (120dpi) characters. See Appendix 1-18 for further details.
The files created in Webbase can now be held in an alternate folder rather than in the folder jpgfiles immediately below the installation folder. See Appendix 1.2
STORE reports can now be converted as a batch to Webbase Ti-High format (as well as all previous report formats).
The quality of Webbase reports (JPG files) has been further enhanced without significantly increasing the size of the graphics files produced.
The completely new Ti/High report format (introduced in v7.9) has been further enhanced. The new format brings together the 2D pallet plan and the 3D stack view (as found on the 'traditional' Palletise and Stacking reports) into a single page report which we (and a number of test sites) believe will meet the needs of a wide range of users. Thus users now have available both the traditional and new Ti/High report formats, and these can be printed and saved to JPG (in the Webbase module). Those users who utilise the STORE module can also produce the new Ti/High reports from entries stored in the STORE database.
The Webbase module continues to be used by a large number of users as a powerful and simple method for storing specifications in a format that can easily be viewed by anyone with a web browser, or the same images can be emailed as attachments. Existing users will know that the .JPG files created are named according to the product code. Feedback from one user mentioned a restriction that this imposes - If you have a long product code and wish to produce specifications for that product that relate to different load heights of customers - then the filename character limit (14) is not sufficient. In this release the filenames now produced are made up of the 14 characters of the code plus the first 12 characters on the description, thus overcoming this limitation.
During data entry in PALLETISE / COLLATION / TERTIARY modes users have occasionally indicated that they have input the available loading height incorrectly. In order to make this totally clear the input screen now displays the height available for the product itself, the height of the pallet base and the resultant total maximum height of product + pallet.
The previous release included a new optional PALLETISE report format which had been requested by some users. The new format includes all the information presented on the standard report but does so with the graphical palletisation information at the top of the report. Users can select the new format using a tick box on Screen 7 (where reports are selected), and a mechanism is in place to make the new format the default as is described in Appendix 1 of the manual. The newly introduced Ti/High report also supports this process - so that the Ti/High report can be selected with either the 3D pictures at the top and 2D at the base (the standard) or 2D at the top and 3D at the base.
The 3D on-screen report has now been enhanced to be displayed in colour rather than monochrome, the the text on all reports has been enhanced to include a specific reference to Ti/High as has been requested by a number of users.
In Collation Mode users when browsing the ranked results on Screen 5 had to select a particular entry and then select the Collation button in order to see a graphic of the case make-up. In this release, as the user moves through the the results, a miniature graphic of the case made up is displayed as users select any particular entry:
At the suggestion of a number users we recently introduced a major new function - Contfill - to both PALLETISE and COLLATION modes of operation. This allows users to see immediately the impact of a particular case design on both pallet fill and container / trailer fill. A design maximising pallet fill might produce a poor utilisation when loaded, on or off pallets, into trailers or containers. This feature is described in detail in Section 5.11 of the online manual installed with the software.
We have also introduced a number of changes which will further enhance the user experience. These include extending the labelling on near-square cases to assist visual recognition in CUBE, PALLETISE and COLLATION modes, an extension to the spreadsheet export capabilities of the STORE module and enhanced graphics on a number of reports.
As well as adding graphics in the form of a logo to reports we have now also added facilities to display primary images on the faces of reports produced in Collation mode. Details of how this can be achieved is detailed at the end of Section 6 of the manual.
Whilst PALLETMANAGER has always been able to deal with the packing of tote boxes or tray units, the increased use of these has resulted in us tailoring the software to meet the specific needs of such users. As well as changes to display screens we have also introduced modified report formats which are automatically output when totes / trays or slipsheets are to be used.
On computers where screen resolution allows (1024*768 or better), the Collation / Tertiary reports now provide additional numerical information including both material and distribution costs. This information was previously only available on printed reports. This can be important as in some situations the most cost effective solution to a Collation / Tertiary problem may not necessarily fit the most units on each pallet - the potential packaging costs of different case designs are considered by PALLETMANAGER in ranking solutions.
A fully searchable manual can be accessed from the opening screen. This not only allows users to browse through the 160+ pages of the hyperlinked manual, but also allows then to search (using an inbuilt browser) for any required search term across the whole manual and receive back a report detailed links and their relevance. (The searchable manual is only provided on CD based installations and not on trial web downloads). You should be aware that the manual installed with the application is always the first to be updated with changes and thus should be used as a primary reference source
The Webbase module enables users to quickly and easily create palletisation specifications for storage on an Intranet / Internet or a CD. In all cases those viewing / printing the specifications do so using a standard web browser. Thus it will be easy to share specifications with others in your company, or with customers and suppliers. Further details on this procedure are given in Section 14 of the manual.
As ever we would encourage users to provide feedback (ideally by email to email@example.com) on new features they would like to see incorporated.