Thursday, 18 December 2014

Creating Custom Attributes


ColorPoint has built in fields for many common data requirements, e.g. material cost, job run lengths. Sometimes you may need to attach additional data to an entity in ColorPoint that isn’t part of the main application. To do this you need to use attributes.

What is an Attribute?

An attribute is a piece of custom data that you can attach to any of the main data entities in ColorPoint. The entities that we can define attributes for are: Material, Formula, Design, Job, Return, Dispense, Supplier, Customer, Address, Contact, Cylinder, Downtime Event, Machine, Substrate, Material Batch, VOC Area, VOC Type, and Campaign.

Creating an Attribute

To create an attribute, you must be an administrator. Go to Admin | Configuration | Edit Attributes as shown below.


Select the entity you are adding the attribute to.


The existing attributes for your entity will be shown.


Click “Add New” to create a new attribute. The following fields are available:

  • Name – The display name of the attribute
  • Group – A selection from predefined group names. You can define new groups if required. All attributes in the same group will be displayed together.
  • Type – To enable validation of data entered into attributes, the type is specified. Types available are:
    • Text – Any text
    • Whole Number – Only whole numbers, e.g. 1, 2, 3
    • Decimal Number – e.g. 1.234
    • True/False
    • Date
    • Email
    • There are a few more types used internally with special meaning.
  • Optional – If this attribute is added, whether it can be left blank or not. If it is not optional, the user will not be allowed to save a record without entering a valid value.
  • Protected – Only users with permission may edit this attribute.
  • Filterable – Can this attribute be used in the filter panel. Enabling filterable on a large number of attributes may impact performance.
  • Shown in list – Is the attribute shown in the main list as a column.
  • Priority – Where the attribute is displayed on the entry page.
  • Unit Hint – An optional unit that shows next to the attribute when you enter data to hint to the user what value they are entering.

As an example, we will create a new attribute on Materials, called SAP Code.


The name is SAP Code. The Group is “General”. The Type is Text. It is not optional (must be entered), and not protected. It is Filterable and Shown in list.

Using Attributes

Below you can see the SAP Code in use.


The SAP Code is a first class data member and can be filtered as shown below.


Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Using prompted mode for manual additions


When performing manual additions requiring very precise small amounts of material, it is possible that the movement of the scale to get to the bucket causes the weight to alter before adding any material.

To keep the process as accurate as possible, prompted mode was introduced.

When the next item to be dispensed is a manual addition, the user is prompted to pull out the scale, then press continue when the weight is stable.


This ensures the starting weigh of the manual addition is recorded after the scale has been moved.

The manual addition then proceeds as normal.


Once complete the operator is presses continue to register the amount dispensed.


If the next material is manual then the process repeats. If it is to be dispensed from a valve then the user is prompted to push the scale back in.


Once the scale is in, the operator presses continue and the next material is dispensed automatically.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Setting Dispense Vessel Parameters



ColorPoint checks that the correct dispense vessel is on the scale before starting as dispense. To aid detecting that the correct vessel is on the scale, a number of parameters are set for each vessel size.

Below is an example of a dispense vessel:

  • Capacity: 20 Kg
  • Volume: 20 l
  • Minimum Empty Weight: 0.8 Kg
  • Maximum Empty Weight: 1.0 Kg
  • Nominal Weight: 0.85 Kg
  • Lid Weight: 0.1 Kg
  • Default Vessel for Head



The maximum weight the vessel can hold. This is also used to identify your vessel, and for overflow calculations.


The maximum volume your vessel can hold. This is used for overflow calculations.

Minimum and Maximum Empty Weight

The minimum and maximum weight a vessel of this type should weigh. This is used to detect that the vessel you have selected to use is the vessel on the scale. If an empty 20 Kg vessel is placed on the scale, it must weigh between 0.8 and 1.0 Kg, otherwise the “Wrong Vessel On Scale” icon will be displayed:


It is important that the range of weight between the minimum and maximum empty weight is kept as small as possible, as this makes handling the vessel more accurate. It is also important the vessels weight ranges do not overlap, e.g. a 25 Kg vessel with a weight range of 0.9 to 1.1 kg could be confused with the 20 Kg vessel and incorrectly detect the 20 Kg capacity as 25 Kg, allowing the user to potentially overfill the vessel.

Nominal Weight

The nominal weight defaults to the mid-point between the minimum and maximum empty weight, but may be different. It should be set to the value that you expect a brand new empty vessel to weigh. This value is used as the vessel weight in situations where the original empty vessel weight is unknown, e.g. booking in a return without the original dispense data.

Lid Weight

This value helps to accurately determine the weight of returned ink in a vessel. The lid weight is used if returns are booked in with the lid on. If returns are booked in before the lid is put on, set the value to 0 Kg.

Default Vessel For Head

This setting is only used on multi head dispensers where the scale size differs between heads, e.g. 300 Kg on Head 1 and 35 Kg on head 2. It is used to override the vessel selection when a vessel to large for the scale is selected. Setting this in other situations has no effect and it can be ignored.


Other Useful Information

No vessel on scale

When the scale weight is below 0.1 Kg the no vessel on scale warning icon will be shown.


If you see this icon and there is a vessel on the scale, it is possible that the scale was zeroed while the vessel was on the scale, especially if the vessel was on the scale when the system was started.

Unknown Vessel On Scale

If the vessel on the scale does not match the weight range of any know vessel, the unknown vessel icon is displayed.


This often indicates the the vessel on the scale is not empty, and that the top-up function should be used.

Vessel Overfill

This icon indicates that the amount selected is too large for the vessel selected.


This often indicates the the vessel on the scale is not empty, and that the top-up function should be used.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Import Validation Tool

The tool can be downloaded from here
The Excel template can be downloaded from here
The layout of the tool can be seen as follows:
This tool includes features listed below:
  • Validation of Materials and Formulas in CSV files.
  • Automated validation of Materials and Formulas in Excel files.
  • Detailed error description of invalid records.
  • Generate blank Material and Formula template.
  • Export valid data to CSV files from Excel files.
The list of error messages are listed below:
  • Code missing or too long (maximum 25 characters)
  • Name missing or too long (maximum 50 characters)
  • Missing materials from formulas

Validate from CSV

Press ‘Choose File’ button and choose the CSV file you want to validate. First choose a Material file and the records will be automatically registered. If the materials are not valid then error messages will be displayed. If the materials are all valid then continue the operation pressing the ‘Choose File’ button again to choose the Formula file.
Valid records are displayed in the table ‘Valid Records’ and invalid records are displayed in the table ‘Invalid Records’. When going through the rows of Invalid Record table, you will be able to see the detailed error description underneath the same.

Validate from Excel

Click ‘Choose File’ button and choose the Excel file. This will check if all the records are valid. Valid records are displayed in the table ‘Valid Records’ and Invalid records are displayed in the table ‘Invalid Records’. When an invalid record is selected from the table, you will be able to see the detailed error description below the table.
When all the records are valid, it will ask you to save the Materials and Formulas to a CSV file. Press save to save them in your preferred directory.

Generate File

If you want to create a CSV file with the Materials and Formula file template, click ‘Generate File’ button and save them in your preferred directory.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Setting Dispense Parameters for a Material


When a material is attached to a dispense valve, the tolerance and pump settings associated with that valve are used to control the dispense performance.

The pump settings are HIGH and LOW pressure. HIGH pressure controls the pump speed in full flow and LOW pressure controls the pump speed in low flow and during spitting. If the HIGH setting is too high the dispenser may over dispense. If the setting is too low, the pump may stall and fail to pump any material.

Generally the HIGH setting should be greater than the LOW setting unless advised by a Rexson engineer.

The tolerance settings are UNDER, ALARM and %. % tolerance comes into effect on dispenses larger than 1 kg. % tolerance works the same for amounts above or below the requested amount and is usually set to 1%.

In smaller dispenses UNDER determines the largest amount that the dispensed amount can deviate below the requested amount and still be in tolerance. ALARM determines the largest amount that the dispensed amount can deviate above the requested amount and still be in tolerance. On a water based ink system, these settings are usually the same at 0.005 kg for colours and 0.020 kg for non-colour products. Some strong colours may require smaller tolerances of 0.002 kg.

If the UNDER tolerance is set to 0.020 kg, any request for less than 0.020 kg of material will be seen as in tolerance, so no material is dispensed. This is the correct behaviour for absolute tolerances.

To set the tolerances and pressures you will need a supervisor (level 3) or engineer/master (level 4) RFID key.

From the Main Menu go to Configuration



then Operations


From here you can view the settings for each dispense valve


Using the arrow buttons on the bottom right of the screen, select the valve number for the material you wish to adjust. The material name and code will be displayed next to the valve number.

Press the Pump/Tank button to change pump pressures.


After making changes press the Save button to save the settings and write them to the controller.

Press the Tolerance button to change tolerances


After making changes press the Save button to save the settings and write them to the controller.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Enabling Local Formula Editing on CPC


When CPC is used along with CPM, the local editing controls are disabled. This allows the formula database to be controller from CPM providing a better editing experience for the user.

When CPC is used stand alone, it is possible to accidentally disable local editing if the user has a master key.

To enable local editing again, go to Configuration:


Then System:


Then check the CP Manager setting:


When local editing is disabled, there is a tick, as above.

When local editing is enabled, there is a cross, as below:


If this setting is disabled and you have a CPM installation, all database synchronisation will stop. It is therefore not recommended to disable this setting unless you are instructed to do so by a member of Rexson support.

If you have a standalone console and you cannot see the editing controls on the formulations screen, as below:


Then the CP Manager setting will be incorrectly set, and needs to be disabled.

Friday, 27 June 2014

Setting up information on Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)


Many states in the USA require that sites record and report on their output of Volatile Organic Compounds and this requires a little extra data to be added in ColorPoint Manager.  The functionality to achieve this is in a free extension to CPM that is not included by default as most users have no need for it.  If you need this functionality but don’t see the functionality described below then contact Rexson and we will be happy to include the functionality for you.

The first thing to do is to add the types of VOCs you wish to track to the system.  To do this go the Admin menu and then to VOC and then VOC Types.



The VOC types you need to enter will depend on what you wish to report and what state laws requires you be able to report on.  If possible the simplest course of actions is to as few VOC types as possible.  Some sites have only a single VOC type while others have several types such as Ink VOCs, Varnish VOCs etc. for each type of material they wish to report on.  In rare cases some sites will have a VOC type for every individual VOC they have to report on such as Ethyl Acetate but most state regulations do not require this level of detail. 

Once you have selected the VOC Types item in the menu then adding new VOC types is very similar to adding a new material.  The only things that you need to supply are a name and a code and a default specific gravity.

Once you’ve finished adding VOC types you need to go through each material and associate the VOC types you have created with the materials on the system.  To do this open a material and click the VOC button on the left hand side of the screen.  You will be presented with a screen that is much like the screen you see when creating a formula that will allow you to specify how much of the material is made up of various types of VOC.


The percentage field refers to the % of weight (either US pounds or kilograms depending on your system settings) that the VOC in question takes up in the material.  So if you you dispensed a material that was entirely made up of a VOC then the percentage would be 100%.  The specific gravity field is inherited from the value you put into the VOC type field but can be modified by double clicking on the value.  The specific gravity will be either US pounds per gallon or kilograms per litre depending on your system settings.

Once you have modified all your materials to accurately reflect their VOC composition you can then start receiving stock batches of those materials in the normal way.  If you have already received stock batches for those materials and need to apply the changes then contact Rexson and will apply the changes to your existing dispense history.


If you need to report on VOC usage for a specific machine or area then you will need to both create the areas and assign them to any jobs that you create.  Adding a VOC area is very simple just go to the Admin menu item and then to VOC and VOC Areas.  Once on this screen you can add a VOC area by pressing the add button and providing a code and name for the area.  How many areas you need to add will be dictated by your reporting requirements.  If you need to report individually on each printing press then simply add one area for each machine you need to report on.

If you are tracking VOC usage by machine then you will need to double click each machine in the machines list (which you can open by going to Machines in the operations menu) and selecting the area associated with that machine.


You can assign more than one machine to an area and if you are not interested in the other benefits of machine tracking then you can simply create a machine named after the VOC area you wish to track VOC usage for.


Finally to associate dispenses with a VOC area you need to create a job to assign those dispenses to.  On the job you create you can select the machine that corresponds to the VOC area that you want dispenses assigned to that job to be recorded against.  If you are not planning to use jobs then you can create a job specifically to represent a VOC area and then just keep that job open though we generally recommend creating a new job per VOC area per month just to make record keeping easier.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Changes to the formula screen to incorporate fixed % additives

Recently we have added an additional column to the formula items screen to make adding materials at a fixed % easier.


When you tick the ‘Is Fixed’ column for a given material it means that the parts of that item will not be changed when the formula items are re-apportioned.  This is useful for scenarios where you know that a certain material must always make up a certain percentage of a formula.  So if you increased the parts of the red in the screenshot above to 60 and then had the software reapportion the formula  (which it would do automatically when you pressed the save button), the result would be as follows.


As you can see the green has become roughly 1/3 smaller than the amount of red but the amount of medium in the formula has been unaffected.  This feature was in previous versions of ColorPoint Manager but was specified as a property of the material and once a material was marked as being a fixed % additive it was considered fixed in every formula.  The new system is more flexible in that it allows materials to be made fixed on a case by case basis.  It is important to note that ticking the ‘Is Fixed’ check box does not mean that you will not be able to change the parts of the material manually, only that they will not be changed when the formula is re-apportioned.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Finishing Stock Batches

When a tank of raw material is used up and the weight falls to zero (or below), ColorPoint Manager highlights the batch in red. This is a hint to the user to check the status of the stock and if appropriate, to finish the batch to prevent it from being used again.


Finishing the batch also keeps the Stock Overview tidy, showing only batches that are actually useful. To finish a batch, or a selection of batches, select the items from the list and right-click. Choose Finish from the contextual menu that opens.


If the Finish menu item is greyed out, this means there is a batch in your selection that is still allocated to a dispense valve. In this case, the normal refill procedure should be carried out first before finishing the batch.

Why Have Our Batch Numbers Changed?

Some customers have noticed on newly updated software that the format of the Dispense/Return Batch Number has changed.

The old format was Dyydddxxx:

  • D – batch number type: dispense
  • yy – year
  • ddd – day of year (1 – 365)
  • xxx – dispense number for the day

The new format is DyyddNxxx

  • D – batch number type: dispense
  • yy – year
  • dd – day of year using 0-9 and A-I
  • N – dispenser number.
  • xxx – dispense number for the day

This new format allows us to support multiple dispensers on a single installation of ColorPoint Manager by identifying the originating dispenser in the batch number. It also does not increase the length of the batch number. This is important where we print the batch number on labels as a barcode.