The cut list section does not print labels --
Quick question Will. I am not familiar with what you call 'label printing routines'. Are these actual hard copy labels that you stick on the real world parts to identify them? If not, can you elaborate on what that is an maybe supply a link where I can see an example?
Exactly. Hard copy -- stick on the parts.
It is necessary to mark the boards in some way. After you break down four to ten sheets your memory goes fuzzy. If there is only a difference of a few mm in a part, it is easy to start banding the wrong edges, or drilling system holes or construction holes in the wrong piece.
So a label usually has the following as a minimum.
Part ID xxxxx (Copy 1 of 1)
Thickness X Width X Length (units)
Part Name | SA
Where SA == Sub Assembly.
If you are merging projects, it should also have the assembly name, and perhaps the sub-assembly name.
Cutlist is pretty bad actually -- it is a curious mix of big shop and small shop techniques -- you should have a look at it. Though I am not sure you can print labels from the demo.
Cutlist is missing the Unit Name, and the Project Name.
So to me a good label would have at least the follwoing...
Unit Name: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Part Name: xxxxxxxxxxxx (Copy 1 of 1)
Dim: T X W X L Units: uuu
The copy number is used for things like two sides on a cabinet -- or maybe you are making four cabinets of different widths -- but they should all be the same height. So the label need only identify the part usage -- not as belonging to a particular cabinet in the run.
Material isn't necessary -- but it's a good check -- if you grabbed the wrong goods -- you might stop after one mistaken cut...
And some materials look the same to some workers PB MDF -- all the same eh?
Writing all of this on the part means a cleaning operation after the build -- not always possible -- or you have to write your own labels by hand -- time consuming and error prone. On melamine ok -- on cherry 3/4 " VC Plywood -- no way. (oops sorry -- 18, 19 or 20 mm Veneer Core Plywood, with Cherry Veneer covering -- for those who don't know the jargon or are used to Metric numbers...
A big shop would likely find the package useless on this point alone. Even I am reluctant to implement -- as It would allow me to merge all my work into one run -- meaning I would cut say 10 to 20 panels at a time and have a collection of PB Melamine I could not identify. It would actually slow down the production.
Their csv export is useless for import into another package like cutlist. All they need is the info I suggested above. However, with a label printout, they would be competing with the High End cutlist package very favorably.
If after optimization they exported the raw sheet usage -- which they know -- and the dimensioned and rough lumber usage -- that would feed back into a lot of ERP systems -- giving them a closed loop manufacturing package for the small shop. This would be enormously valuable even for simple updating inventory.
Based on my previous software experience in manufacturing systems, I could probably have this designed, documented and implemented in a month -- including all the feedback mechanisms etc.
The labels with documentation are about a weeks work in a small software company -- including design, implementation and documentation. And yes -- even I could do this in an afternoon -- but documentations and thorough testing take time.
Does this make sense?
I added quite a bit on that edit to make it more clear.
I am sure they are using a "Report Writer Add on to whatever tool they are using -- if not they should get one. I use the tool with Codegear Delphi Enterprise -- built into the compiler, -- and with access to the parts file for a project could have a variety of label formats implemented quickly (an afternoon). The real issue is documenting and allowing a routine which allows you to run multiple labels across and down and set spacing -- or else having a variety of label formats (for commonly available labels) built in and clearly identified so that you can stock labels appropriately.
I will keep reviewing and post here my results. I am reluctant to do a lot more than what I have done here in terms of design recommendations. Last time I did not get much of the financial benefit of my work.
Labels are kind of a simple issue though.