The other end of the spectrum from the "test station" are machines that utilize a “recipe” data base for setting up and controlling machine processes.
When a machine performs a number of processes with various sequences and parameters, these "recipe" software packages draws the appropriate settings from data base tables. This has the advantage of extreme flexibility that can be selected by the operator who only needs to specify a unique part number. One examples of this class of custom software is the project that punched holes in metal bases (Equip-Mech/ Tube Punch machine). A number of projects have been completed with custom data bases.
A hidden challenge for these projects is include the capability for adding new part numbers. The software needs to be designed so that the operator or setup-up person can add, delete, or edit individual part numbers. Good editing capabilities have been designed to prevent improper entries to be accepted into the data base. Therefore, those projects incorporated a number of "behind the scene" valid entry value data base tables. The results of incorporating effective design "guidelines" has resulted in dependable, and easy to use equipment projects.
Another aspect of these types of projects is the management of “batches”. (An example is shown in the picture). When these machines are connected to the companies intranets, work orders can be down loaded directly to the machine. The operator then only needs to work through the orders. These application not only help the Clients to be able to track the progress of orders but a number of other important measurements can also be automatically collected. The production rate, the number of rejects, various critical process parameters, the amount of downtime and many other measurements can easily time stamped and recorded.