Thursday, 31 March 2011

Backing up your data


Data backups are often overlooked. It is vital that you make regular backups of your data to protect against virus infection, hard disk failure and computer theft. All three of these have happened to some our customers at some point.

What do I need to backup?

At a minimum, you need to take a regular backup of the ColorPoint Manager database. the CPM database backup is found in C:\SqlBackup\CPM\. Backing up the most recent file to a USB flash drive ensures that we can recover your system in the event of failure or theft.

The files are date stamped and rotated by the backup scheduler. There should normally be 7 backups named ColorPoint.Manager_Full_date_time.bak. If your computer was switched off when a backup was meant to run (03:00) there may be one or more missing. Ideally you want these backups to be made every day, so if needed contact Rexson support to have the scheduled time changed.

If you look in the backup folder and there are no backups, or the newest ColorPoint Manager backup is older than 1 week old (date format yyyymmdd, e.g. 20110331) please contact Rexson support immediately.

What else should I backup?

If you have other software installed on the ColorPoint Manager PC, e.g. spectrophotometer software, Word, Excel, it will be important to backup those documents too. It is beyond the scope of this article to tell you how to back up the other data on your system. Please check with your IT department and spectrophotometer manufacturer for guidelines on what to backup.

If in doubt it is worth using an external hard disk and using the Windows backup program to perform a full system backup on a regular basis too. As long as the hard disk is as large as, or larger than the hard disk on the PC you will be able to make a full backup.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

ColorPoint Manager Reporting


Dispense Summary

The dispense summary can be run over a range of dispenses to provide counts and totals as follows:

Dispense count, total press returns issued, neat ink weight, return issue weight, number of dispenses with returns in them, weight of dispensed returns, weight of returns as % of dispensed weight.


Simple Formula Sheet

The simple formula sheet provides a simple way to get your formulas into an excel spread sheet for analysis. The report gives the composition of all selected formulas.


Job Costing

The job costing report gives a detailed analysis of all inks and returns issued and created in a job. The report can be expanded to include individual materials used. Substrate costs and run length statistics are also taken into account.


Simple Design Sheet

The simple design sheet provides a simple way of analysing the coverage and usage factors of multiple designs simultaneously.


Design Sheet (Design Estimation)

The design sheet provides a method of creating estimations without having to create a job first. Simply enter the run length required and, provided all of you costing, coverage and usage factors are accurate, you will have an estimation for that design.


Usage Reports (Material, Formula, Material Usage By Date)

The material and formula usage reports break down the dispensing history by month. The Material Usage by Date report does the same but allows for custom date ranges to be used where months ends or reporting periods do not correspond to calendar months.


Returns Report

The returns report shows the current return stock, with formula code, weight, cost, strength and date created for each return. Scrapped returns are not shown.


Return Usage Report

The return usage report allows you to view and compare the creation and use of returns over a number of consecutive periods. The periods supported are, Monthly, Weekly and Custom. Monthly and weekly work to calendar periods. Custom uses the entered date range as a whole and does not split over calendar boundaries.


Stock Report

The stock report gives and overview of the total stock levels of each selected material.


Stock Valuation Report

The stock valuation report gives a more detailed view of the stock situation. Tick “Include materials with no weight” to see items that have zero or less than zero stock. Tick “Include obsolete materials” to see stock of materials that have been obsoleted and are no longer available for use.


Material Batch List

The material batch list gives a more detailed view of the materials in stock. The material batch and serial number details are displayed along with the usable weight of each batch. Finished batches are not shown.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Using Press Returns When Working With Jobs On ColorPoint Console


There are a number of ways to work off press returns on CPC. This post outlines the most efficient route when dispensing to jobs.

Select Job Item to Dispense

Go to the jobs screen and navigate to the job required using the navigation buttons on the right side of the screen.


A job consists of one or more job items. Each job item is a formula. The numbers to the right of the formula name indicate how much ink is estimated for this item and in brackets how much has already been issued against the job.

The panel at the left displays the job items on that job. Use the navigation buttons below the job panel to navigate up and down within the list of job items. When you navigate through the job items, a check is made against the returns database for the formula code of the currently selected job item. If a return with the same formula code is present, the “Returns” button will appear on the left side of the screen.


Pressing the “Returns” button will take you the returns database with the list filtered to the current formula code. Here you will be able to see all matching returns. If there are any returns that are a suitable size, you can issue them to press from here directly instead of topping up, remixing or dispensing new ink.

If there are no suitable returns and you need to dispense new ink for your formula press the select button at the top right. This will take you to the dispense screen.


The returns selection process in the dispense screen is more thorough. Once the required weight is known a check is made for any return that can be made into the target formula, not just returns with a matching formula code. If any returns can be recycled, the “Available Returns” button glows red.

To dispense without recycling any returns, just press “Start” or “Top-up” depending on the type of dispense needed.

To recycle returns in the current dispense press the “Available Returns” button.


In the returns screen you are presented with the list of whole returns that can be used. These returns will be fully converted into the target formula with nothing remaining. The advantage of this is that you may use the same vessel as the return is already in and simply top up to the required weight instead of decanting into a new vessel.

If no suitable return is listed, or you want to use part of a larger return first, press the “Part Returns” button on the lower edge of the screen.


Here the return will have to be poured into the dispense vessel. The list shows the weight of the return that will be used up. The detail panel on the left shows the actual weight of the return. On the screen shot it can be seen that 7.068kg of return will be used from a total size of 17.2kg.

To add a return to the list to be recycled press the “Add” button on the right. You may continue to add returns until there is no more remaining weight available to recycle them.

If you want to maximise the amount of returns recycled press the “Best” button. This attempts to recycle as much material as possible. Be aware that this could lead to having to manually add up to 8 or nine small returns, so this may not be the most efficient method for you to use.


Here “Best” has been selected, resulting in 3 returns being added for recycling. To continue press the “Select” button.

When the first return in the selection is a whole return, you will be given the option to use the return vessel for dispensing. Select yes if you want to dispense into the return, select no if you want to manually add the first return to a new vessel. Subsequent returns will always be added manually.


After making your selection you will see the dispense screen again. Notice that the “Available Returns” button is no longer red, and the recycled material amount has been filled in. In this case 97.8% of the ink will be recycled ink, with the remainder being new ink.


The “Start” button has changed to “Top-up” to indicate that you will be topping up an existing press return rather than using an empty vessel.

Press the “Top-up” button to begin dispensing.

If you change the weight to be dispensed, this will reset the returns list and remove them all from the selection. The “Available Returns” button will glow red again if returns are available for this new weight. This happens because with a different weight parameter some returns will no longer be viable for remixing, and the selection should be made from the updated returns list.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Material Types on ColorPoint


One of the subjects that seems to cause a lot of confusion with more advanced use of ColorPoint is the difference between the various types of base materials on the system.

Here is a brief explanation along with some examples of where you might use them.


Auto dispense Material

The auto dispense material is the most commonly used on ColorPoint. It refers to a material that is attached to a dispense valve and can be dispensed as required without any operator intervention. When a formula is being dispensed and an auto dispense material is required, the requested amount will be dispensed and then it moves along to the next item in the formula automatically.

The size of a ColorPoint system dictates how many auto dispense materials are supported on that system. An 18 has a maximum of 18 auto materials, and so on. If an Auto Dispense Material is deleted or unassigned from a valve, it appears as a Manual Add Material.


Manual Add Material

The manual add material is a material that will be requested by the dispenser when required in a formula, but it is not attached to a dispense valve and so cannot be added automatically. The operator must pull out the scale and manually pour the requested amount into the dispense vessel using the indicator lights to tell him when to stop.

To ensure your dispensing operation is as efficient as possible, it is best practice to make your most frequently dispensed items auto materials. When all dispense valves are allocated, the remaining materials will be manual add materials. Generally due to the quantity, manual materials are added to the formula last therefore appearing at the end of the dispense order.


Non-Dispense Materials

Non dispense materials often cause the most confusion. These are materials that are part of the formula, but will not be weighed by the dispenser at all. when a non-dispense material is requested in a formula, the dispenser marks it as fully dispensed at the requested weight and skips to the next item in the formula.

There are two common scenarios for this type of material:

  1. The material cannot be added at the dispenser and must be added elsewhere in the process.
  2. The material is part of a larger batch and is acting as a placeholder.


Non-Dispense Material Added Elsewhere

In this case the dispense vessel will be used to add the non-dispense material so the capacity/overflow checks are carried out taking the requested weight of non-dispense material into account. So a 20kg dispense that contains 10kg of dispensed material and 10kg of non-dispensed material would give an overflow warning if an 18kg vessel was placed on the scale. The dispense completes with 10kg in the dispense vessel which is then taken to another part of the process where the other additives are added.


Non-Dispense Material As Placeholder

In this case the dispenser is only dispensing the pigment part of a batch. The non-dispense material will never be added to the dispense vessel and the capacity/overflow checks on take the actual dispensed materials into account. This allows an operator to request the pigment based on the batch size without calculating how much pigment is required. Consider that a batch of 2000kg of product is being produced, but the pigment portion is only 0.95% of the total batch. The operator requests a dispense of 2000kg, but only places a 20kg vessel on the scale. The capacity/overflow check passes as the non-dispense material is excluded from the check. 19kg of pigment is dispensed into the dispense vessel.



A single dispenser cannot operate in both of the modes described above simultaneously. The setting that defines the mode of operation for non-dispense materials is set by Rexson personnel and cannot be altered by the end user.