BlueStone Manaufacturing and Accounting Software Solutions

Preactor 300 FCS

Preactor 300 FCS production scheduling is a multiple constraint scheduler. This means that you can define as many resources (constraints) as you like for each operation. Secondary resources can be made finite or infinite and you can set up secondary resource groups to define, for example, operator skill teams.

In Preactor 300 FCS production scheduler and higher versions the additional features over and above P200 FCS are as follows:-

Multiple constraints for an operation

User can define multiple finite constraints for an operation. In Preactor 200 FCS the user could define additional resources and plot the usage however these were infinite capacity and did not operate as a constraint on the schedule. For example you can define in P300 FCS that an operation requires a machine, an operator, and a tool and only when all three are available for the entire period of the process will Preactor load it onto the schedule. Another example of additional finite constraints is where multiple operations from different orders can be loaded onto a resource at the same time. Secondary constraints are then used to limit the number that can be processed. Another example of using finite secondary constraints is to use them to model the capacity of a tank. This will limit the quantity of material that can be emptied into the tank based on the capacity remaining in it.

Multiple batch match property

Multiple operations from different orders can be loaded onto a resource at the same time. The number loaded can be controlled using finite secondary constraints. You can also specify an attribute of the operation that must be common as an additional constraint. This is called a match property. An example would be that multiple orders can be processed in the same oven. The quantity would be controlled by a secondary constraint and the match property might be the cycle time in the oven.

Manual selection of alternate routes

User can specify completely different process routings for a product. For example you may have an in-house route and a subcontract route. The user can select which route to try and compare that with an alternative route in a schedule.

Resource specific occupation rules

User can apply resource specific occupation rules. In this you can specify operations that must not be located on a resource when another operation is on a different resource. For example you may have a number of operations in an order that can be done in any sequence. In this you might have three operation 20's that you wish Preactor to sequence in any order but not at the same time. Resource specific rules can be created to obtain this flexible sequencing.

Secondary constraint groups or teams

User can define secondary constraints in groups or teams. For example you may want to define secondary constraints as individual members of staff. These can then be put into teams or skill sets that must be required to carry out a specific operation. When Preactor schedules it will assign a specific secondary constraint to one of the members of the team. It is also possible to create a Secondary Resource Gantt chart where the operations assigned to each member of staff are displayed. A Work-to list report for each staff member may also be created. The Preactor 300 FCS 'Teams' example shows this in operation. This can be downloaded from the Preactor Web site using the 'Browse' button in the Preactor Configuration Selector.

Subsequent operation constraints based on current operation

User can define a resource group for a subsequent operation depending on the resource selected for the current operation. For example you may have two manufacturing lines, Line A and Line B. The first resource in each line may be selected for operation 10. If the first resource in Line A is selected then you may wish to force subsequent operations onto resources in Line A. If the first resource in Line B is selected then you may wish to force subsequent operations onto resources in Line B.

Preferred resource selection and time-out

User can define preferred resources within a resource group. For example you may have two machines that can carry out an operation. Machine A is a new machine, machine B is older. You would prefer to use machine A and will wait for this machine in preference to machine B for say up to an hour even though machine B will not be utilized. In this situation you would list a time-out period for machine A as zero and machine B, 60 minutes.

User definable maximum operation span

User can define a maximum span for an operation. For example a process may take 4 hours but, due to breaks or other zero efficiency periods the span has been increased to 6 hours. This may not be allowed and by specifying a maximum span Preactor will automatically avoid this condition.

User definable maximum delay interval to next operation

User can define a maximum delay between operations. For example a process may require operation 20 to start within 30 minutes of the end of operation 10.

Sequential and parallel lots at each stage of process route

User can define a batch to be split into smaller lots for an operation. All lots must though be completed before the next operation can start. In Preactor 300 FCS the user has the option to allow lots to be processed on subsequent operations independent of the other lot status within the batch.

Mid-batch update and calculations

User can apply a mid-batch update for a batch at an operation. For example you may wish to enter the quantity complete and time for part of a batch. Preactor calculates the process time per item.

Operation Progress Indicator

This feature provides a convenient and visual way of tracking the progress of an operation. As a mid-batch quantity and time is entered for an operation, part of the bar color will change equivalent to the progress made. The change color is definable by the user.

Additional job status report

User has another in-built report called Job Status. This displays the current status of each operation in an order and the critical ratio (a ratio of remaining process time compared to time till due date). In addition as each operation is completed or part completed for an order the recalculated process time per item is available in this status report. The user can then compare the expected time with the actual time for each operation in each order.

Cost calculation by job and schedule

User can define a number of data fields associated with costs. For example you can define the cost per hour for resources, whether these are multiplied depending on calendar state (e.g. on-shift and overtime variations), and material cost for each operation. The cost for each operation may be displayed in a tool tip in the sequence overview. As an operation is dragged and dropped to an alternative resource or is rescheduled or overtime added, so the operation cost is recalculated.

Additional order cost report

Where cost information has been added then a standard report is available which displays the cost for each operation for an order and a total cost for the order.

Additional Utilization Reports

These go beyond the Schedule comparison tables in P200 FCS in that it allows the utilization (by day/week) of resources, resource group and by secondary constraints to be compared for different schedules. This allows plant utilization, as well as customer delivery performance to be monitored.

Modeling of tanks and filling lines

User can cater with simple tanks and filling lines. Processes like these differ in many respects to other systems because:-

  • Filling of materials in a batch into one or more resources may take place at the same time as the emptying of one of more other resources
  • Material in a batch must reside on at least one resource throughout its process
  • The time that a batch resides in a resource cannot be predicted in advance, for example a batch may be held in tank waiting for a line to be available for filling.

In Preactor 300 FCS you can define a process time as being 'Previous Op Span' (e.g. to match the filling and emptying time between resources) and 'Time between previous Ops' (e.g. time between end of Mixing to start of filling). It should be noted however that more complex processes require more sophisticated and user created sequencing rules available in Preactor APS.

Deals with assemblies where all operations are in a single order

User can create an assembly structure within a single order. For example you may have two 'legs' of a process route (operations 10, 20, 30 in each leg) which merge at operation 40. You can also deal with 'disassembly' for example operation 10 produces two parts (each with their own operation numbers) which are then processed independently. To deal with this Preactor uses assembly levels and keys to define the structure and allow independent scheduling within each level.

ActiveX Open Planning Board Link

User has enhanced 'read only' access to calculated schedule information within the sequencer module. For example you may want access to resource utilization information to create a customized report for a specific order or generate customized statistics for the whole schedule file.


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