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Scheduling Rules

Scheduling System Integration




FLEXSCHE GP Advanced Options




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Product Configurations and Prices

Information for Developers



New Features of Each Version

New Features of Version 16

New Features of Version 15

New Features of Version 14

FLEXSCHE - production scheduler and production planning > Products > FLEXSCHE Version 16 New Features

New functions added in FLEXSCHE Version 16

FLEXSCHE Version 16.0 was released on June 21, 2016. About 250 function enhancements are implemented. Here are some major ones. (Differences between Version 15.0 and 16.0)

[New Product] FLEXSCHE Workshop Option

A breakthrough new product that tackles "interference of the place for products" that existing production schedulers cannot handle

Interferences of positions in a workshop are critical issues when manufacturing large-scale products from a few meters to dozens of meters. "Workshop Option" is an optional product that allows schedule planning with automatic scheduling and manual adjustment while having positions of objects as restrictions.

Definition of shape

Shapes of a workshop and products (work) can be defined graphically. The shape of a workshop is defined with rectangles and excluded areas (entrances, pillars, aisles, unavailable parts). Shapes of products are polygons.

Of course the definitions can be incorporated as data externally.

Visualizing workshop

Positions of a workshop and products at a certain point of time is displayed on the workshop panel. Products can be dragged and moved, then fixed or rotate with the mouse.

When the mouse cursor is moved or clicked on the signboard row [task section display] which is positioned on a time series chart, the condition of that period is displayed on the workshop panel. Signboard rows can also show occupancies and violations at the period.

Planning workshop schedules

It is possible to schedule so that products would not stack on each other and fit in a workshop while having the shape of product (work) and the condition of the workshop as restrictions. It is also possible to move and fix the products with the mouse, or stack them on each other if necessary, and perform a scheduling while maintaining the condition.

Outputting workshop schedules externally

There are various ways to output externally the result of planning with the Workshop Option. It can be output as data to a database or CSV file with using FLEXSCHE EDIF. Graphic data in EMF or SVG format can also be output together, and it can be incorporated and utilized externally.

Reports which includes a drawing of the layout can be output with the Excel report function of the FLEXSCHE Analyzer. Or, with the external method of FLEXSCHE, SVG files which are output by FLEXSCHE EDIF can be processed and displayed or output as Web pages (HTML files).

Outputting as Excel reports
Outputting to Web (HTML)

[New Product] FLEXSCHE CarryOut

Previously, FLEXSCHE was for "schedule planning" only, but the new product FLEXSCHE CarryOut takes other steps to support "schedule execution."

The value of manufacturing schedules that are planned with the scheduler is maximized when the schedules are executed properly at the manufacturing floor. However, operations at the manufacturing floor don't always go along the scheduling.

"Check the condition of operations and progresses in real time, collect the results, pass the information to the scheduler, and plan a schedule again while reflecting the results"...It is the mission of the new product FLEXSCHE CarryOut to support to realize such obvious schedule operation cycle at a high level.

FLEXSCHE CarryOut is a product that the server and clients come in one set.

CarryOut Client is an application that works on an iOS/Android/Windows tablet. This application can communicate with CarryOut Server, obtain and display the latest work instruction information sent from the FLEXSCHE, or send entered operation results to the FLEXSCHE via CarryOut Server.

Screen image of CarryOut Client

In the future releases of the FLEXSCHE CarryOut, it will evolve to a front end system that is essential for executing schedules smoothly at the manufacturing floor by sharing the progress status or trouble information inside/outside of a factory and removing temporal and spatial barriers. You can look forward to it.

User Interface

Startup window

Now it is easy to manage and handle projects or sample data prepared by a user.

The startup window is displayed right after starting up the FLEXSCHE in the new version. User's projects can be specified quickly from categories such as history, favorite, or sample. Text search with name or comment is also available.

And the wizard is available for creating a new project. It is now easy to specify a save location for a project with the automatic folder creation or history functions.

Retention variables

When depiction contents of charts (such as strings, colors) are defined by expressions, depiction speed can be improved significantly in some cases.

When strings or colors to depict charts are defined by expressions, the same expressions are executed repeatedly (even several hundred or thousand times) to depict just one screen in some cases. For example, in order to realize "compare total working times of orders, and depict the top three of them with some outstanding color," the setting "check all orders and operations, create a sorted order list, and change the color when an order of an operation which is about to be depicted matches any top three of the list" needs to be set as a conditional expression of operation display color, however, if it is performed every time an operation is depicted one by one, the volume of calculation becomes tremendous.

For this reason, the part "sorted order list" which is common for all operations is calculated only once at updating a chart and is held in a retention variable so that it can be referred to when operations are depicted and the volume of calculation is reduced significantly.

Also, by using retention variables, values that are calculated at auto row composition can be held for each chart or chart rows, they can be referred to within variable scopes. It allows to create charts that are more flexible and effective than before.

Specifying time offsets for chart rows

Even such a special chart can be created in the new version.

Times can be changed and depicted for each chart row. With this function, a special chart which was impossible to be created previously can be composed now. For example, when resource Gantt charts are lined up while changing times by day/week/month and listed vertically, the long-term schedule for a resource can be grasped at a glance without scrolling.

Enhancing functions of signboard rows

Functions of signboard rows which were introduced as new functions in Version 15 are even enhanced.

- General-purpose signboard rows

Signboard rows now can be created from values of integer type, real number type, string type, hour type, or time type without depending on existing records (items, orders, resources, processes) like before. It allows to create more flexible charts.

- Outputting displayed data

Values calculated on signboard rows can be output to csv or xml files as tally data like load charts and inventory charts.

- Selecting layer of data cube

Previously, values of data cube which can be displayed on sign board rows are the ones related to the lowest layer only, but now target layers can be specified freely. It allows to display tallied values of "week," "month," or "year" layer or layers such as resource groups.

- "Mesh" and "Start day" for "Expression" display

For "Expression" display of signboards, a mesh for calculation and display can be selected from "day," "week," or "month" freely. Start day of week or month can be specified.

Enhancing composition display of load charts

"Details" of operations can be referred to in various ways.

Displaying one operation as one component
Defining components by product, and displaying the list of included orders on the data tip.

Component display of load charts is not only for displaying loads of resources but displaying the details with color coding. In Version 16, strings that are freely defined can be displayed on each component (each element of details). "Details" can be defined freely in various ways by such as products, specs., or any attribute (expressions can also be used), and the way of definition is more refined and clear in Version 16.

When a component is clicked, operations that are included in it are selected. The details of the operations can be checked and manipulated through the operation panel.

Displaying multiple layers of job Gantt charts

This can be utilized for actual versus forecast comparison

Times of various operations/operation graphs can be lined up and displayed at one row of job Gantt charts. It allows to compare and display conditions of schedules and results by operation or order.

* It was possible to compare schedules at several points by using snapshots in previous versions, however, timings to fix schedules and results are different depending on operations or orders, snapshots weren't good enough in terms of actual versus forecast comparison.

The elements can be displayed are the following.

Four types in total.

Displaying sequence charts by day

Sequence charts can be used as work instruction sheets in the new version.

When a sequence chart is divided by period and displayed, operations that cross a period is now displayed all through the period. An operation which is not completed on the previous day is listed up at the top of the next day. The start and end times to be displayed for the operation is the start and end times of the period.

Also, variables such as $_row or $_day can be referred to at points like display strings where expressions can be used. It is possible to display with these variables on sequence charts whether overtime works are required or not for the day.

Changing height of resource Gantt charts according to numbers of stacked tasks

Stacked tasks can be seen easily.

In the previous versions, when numbers of stacked tasks are different depending on chart rows, tasks are squashed and too thin to be seen. Row heights can be changed individually, but settings and manipulations are required for each row.

With this new function, row heights can be changed automatically according to numbers of stacked tasks.

Case 1: Fix the height of chart rows,
and change the height of tasks
Case 2: Fix the height of tasks,
and change the height of chart rows

Enhancing other chart drawing and manipulation

Hatched patterns for operations on Gantt charts
Drawing task bars slimly
Displaying numbers of resource quantities for displaying uncalculated load charts
Wrapping string on the left part of charts

Enhancing functions of FLEXSCHE Editor

- Changing column display names of tables

Column names of tables can be specified freely in the new version. Any name familiar to users can be set. The original names can still be checked on the data tip.

- Separating fields of selectors

Field separation for flags is available in the previous versions, but selectors for orders and items can also be separated in the new version. It allows to manipulate selectors more efficiently on the screen.

Scheduling and modeling

Process skip

As interim processes can easily be omitted by specifications from orders, various variations can be expressed while saving many steps for process definitions.

Even though the same product is manufactured, some interim processes may be omitted depending on differences of spec. in some cases. If the possible combinations of omissions are listed and process graphs for all combinations are defined, volume of work steps and data could be enormous. It is possible even in the previous versions of FLEXSCHE to put them together in one process graph using link selectors, however, data gets more complicated and it is difficult to maintain.

By using process skip, it is possible to set "signs" to points that could be omitted in one process graph in advance, and then corresponding processes can be shown or hidden by switching selectors on and off. Switching on and off is even easier when the field separation function of selectors of the order table in the FLEXSCHE Editor is used together. In make-to-order production, if several basic patterns of recipes (definitions of process) are defined in advance, operations can be easier; when an order is received, all you have to do is omit some interim processes or set estimated operation times of processes to only orders.

"Signs" can be defined in detail depending on purposes such as whether input or output settings shall remain when a process skip is activated.

Automatic lot pegging method

Automatic pegging is more flexible than before.

It is a new pegging method enhancing the existing "automatic order pegging method." The priority order for pegging can be specified, or targets for pegging can be limited with conditions. For example, when an object can be cut but cannot be united, it can be pegged so that such objects will not allocated across multiple supply lot.

In order to use this function, the advanced option "automatic order pegging" must be valid.

Resource restriction and operation period restriction on operation graphs

Connecting large schedule plans and small schedule plans.

"Resource restriction" and "operation period restriction start/end time" fields are newly added to operation graphs. Assign time ranges or resources can be restricted for multiple operations that belong to an operation graph all together.

It is useful, for example, times and places (such as factories and buildings) for a series of operations can be narrowed down roughly when a large schedule is planned, and schedules can be fixed within the range of the restriction when a small schedule is planned.

Operation period restrictions can be edited on job Gantt charts with mouse.

Having operation times and resource quantities inversely proportional

As "length" is changed, "height" is instantly changed.

When operation times are changed, required resource quantities (such as number of persons to work) can be inversely proportional in real time. Inversely proportional relations between times and resource quantities can be expressed with "variable capacity resources" in the previous versions, but from Version 16, when operation times are expanded/contracted on (non-variable capacity) multiplex resources, task resource quantities (height in load charts) can be changed in real time with setting a special key "#mwvr" (manufacture time adjustment ratio) to required resource quantity calculation link key of the BOR.

FLEXSCHE EDIF (data interface)

Repetition variable

The flexibility of incorporating data from the existing system is improved.

In some cases, one record in the database of the existing system at a factory corresponds to multiple records of FLEXSCHE. For example, in the case of process data, one record is for one process in the FLEXSCHE, but in the existing data, one record may contain data of multiple processes for each product.

The technique to read data with such different table structure is "Repetition reading." It is a way to read repeatedly while changing some target fields for reading and to record to the FLEXSCHE.

Previously, target fields for table mapping (definition of corresponding relationships between reading and writing) are fixed, and table mappings have to be defined as many as repeated. With repetition variables which is implemented in Version 16, target fields to be given to variables are changed automatically and read repeatedly by just preparing one table mapping. It will improve working steps of defining and maintaining mappings significantly.

Column specification by column number

Data can be incorporated safely even from CSV files with no header row.

The flexibility of import definition from CSV files with no header row is improved significantly. The field of column N can be specified with the special field name "#i.N" in the new version. Also, column numbers (integer value) can be specified to parameters of the Field function.

Exclusion for reading and writing CSV files

It is safe to read and write simultaneously.

It will wait when a CSV file is imported and there is a process which is writing data to the file already, or when the file is exported and there is a process which is referring to the file already. When the waiting time exceeds the time-out settings, it is considered as an error.

Adding expression fields to field groups

The volume of information for operation instruction can be increased.

When exporting "field groups" which bundle multiple fields such as input and output link or task information of the operation table as a group, additional information (ex. comments on materials, numeric specs. of subsidiary resources) cannot write out previously. Now they can be write out as field values by describing expressions.


Snapshot type dimension

Evaluations of multiple simulations can be compared.

Snapshot type is added as a data type of dimension. Multiple snapshots (conditions of simulations or planned schedules) can be evaluated at any angles and the values of the evaluation can be compared. They can also be visualized as a graph.

User defined items in radar charts

Unique evaluation criteria can be included in radar charts.

As evaluation items of radar charts, definitions by expressions can be added.

For developers

Generating unique data cubes without generation definitions

Data cubes can be added or generated from such as add-ins. Data cubes can be generated in unique ways that are different from the generation definitions prepared in the FLEXSCHE, and they can be displayed on data cube viewers or signboard rows, and create graphs.

Display an implementation example

Adding sub menus from add-ins dynamically

Previously sub menus for add-ins are limited to fixed ones, but now structures can be decided dynamically at execution time. For example, candidate resources for operations can be listed on a sub menu for selection. These sub menus can be checked or changed to invalid status.

Other major function enhancement

Drawing memo tags with display color of target objects

The background color of memo tags can be the same color as target objects (such as operations, free calendars).

Editing time markers of order Gantt charts and inventory charts

Time markers can be moved with the mouse on order Gantt charts and inventory charts. Order due times, order operation period restriction times, inventory receiving and shipping times, and receiving and shipping order times can be changed.

Closing tabs of views with middle-button click or switching tabs of views by wheel rotation

Windows can be closed quickly by clicking the middle-button (normally the wheel) of the mouse on tabs. Also, when the mouse wheel is rotated on tabs, the active view is switched.

Invalidating and hiding conditions of actions

Now it is possible to invalidate actions or hide menus for objects that meet certain conditions (defined by expressions). It allows to describe "actions for only some resources," for example.

Values with keys

Records such as "real number values with keys (=numeric specs.)," "strings with keys (=comments)," and "Booleans with keys (=flags)" are available in the previous versions, but now "Time values with keys," "Duration with keys," and "integer values with keys" are also available, and the flexibility and efficiency of modelings are improved. Previously, in order to pass times and durations, they have to be set as strings (comments) and converted into expressions at execution time.

Task multiplicity keys

Task multiplicities have to be passed to BOR as fixed integer values in the previous versions, but now they can be specified indirectly with using special keys, and for example, multiplicities can be passed as parameters from individual orders.

Expressions that return times to inter-process time constraint

Previously time constraints between two processes are expressed as "durations" like "they must have spacing of n hours." With specifying expressions that return "times," constraints like "start after 9 o'clock on the next day after the preceding process completes" can be described directly. If the same constraint is expressed with "durations," expressions for it could be considerably complicated.

Three types of tables of FLEXSCHE EDIF

Two dedicated tables for exporting "Task" and "Task section" and "one dedicated table for importing "Operation graph" are newly added. Image data in SVG and EMF formats is output at "Task section." By utilizing the "operation graph," properties of existing operation graphs on the FLEXSCHE can be updated.