Quick Pallet Maker - Results Window
This page explains the Output (Available Solutions) Window, which is the area where the user will view a list of pallets and modify them or the cases to accomodate his/her needs.
The Output Window is important as it is the step where the user will pick from a list of solutions and adjust them to reach a conclusion. The main elements of the window are the following (from left to right and top to bottom):
- Detailed load information: Each time a pallet is selected, the detailed information for that pallet is shown in the left area of the window. This information is read-only.
- Pallet drawing: Displays the currently selected pallet. On Windows and Mac OSX, when the mouse enters the drawing, the pallet dimensions will be displayed. Clicking on the pallet drawing will switch pallet views (same effect can be obtained by using the "Toggle Pallet" command from the View menu). Clicking on the right mouse button (or Ctrl+click on a single-button Mac) will display a menu with several options as copying the pallet drawing to the clipboard (to paste on a third-party application) or to select different pallet views. The available pallet views are the following:
- Show one layer: Shows only the first pallet layer.
- Show all layers: Shows all the pallet layers.
- External view: Shows the closed RSC box or full trays, depending on box type.
- Empty Trays: If working with trays, will display them without the primary packages. This feature is useful to detect the tray layout in the pallet, which may not be so obvious when viewing the loaded trays.
- Show Corner Posts: Will display the pallet with corner posts, which are the corrugated board supports that are frequently placed on the corners of the pallet load to facilitate stretchwrapping.
- Total number of cases: Displays the amount of feasible cases, considering the input data (including case limitations).
- Total number of standard cases: If the standard case feature was used, this item will display the amount of standard cases that were found to match the calculated cases.
- Box List: This table displays the information for the boxes that were calculated by the application. Standard boxes will appear with a light blue background. The actions that can be taken in this list are the following:
- Delete boxes: Select a box and press Delete (or Del). This will remove the box and reduce clutter.
- Duplicate boxes: QPM can create duplicate boxes by selecting a box row and picking "Duplicate" from the Edit menu.
- Export Box: Saves the box data to a file for future use. Using this feature will allow you to keep boxes for combining with others to create a pallet that contains different products. This converts QPM into a program that can calculate multi-product loads. To export a box, select it and click the box drawing with the right button (Ctrl-click on a Mac). The resulting menu will contain a command to export a box.
- Import box: Opens a saved box. To import a box, select it and click the box drawing with the right button (Ctrl-click on a Mac). The resulting menu will contain a command to import a box.Imported boxes can be combined into a mixed product pallet. Your peers from other locations or departments can save boxes and you will be able to calculate the pallet configurations for your specific market needs.
- Recalculate a box: Selecting a box and selecting "Recalculate" from the tools menu will produce three pallets from that box. This is specially useful when the original pallets were deleted or when a box was imported into the list.
- Box Drawing: The box drawing displays the selected boxes or trays. The colors of the primary packages in the box drawing will be updated when the settings are changed in the Preferences window. When the mouse enters the box drawing, a small tag will show the box dimensions (external and internal). If slack has been added to the boxes, it will be displayed in the scaled drawing. Clicking on the right mouse button (Ctrl-click on a Mac) will display a menu where the following actions can be made:
- Copy box: This action will copy the box drawing to the clipboard.
- Internal View: Clicking here will display the box contents (primary packages) only. If you are working with an empty box, it will show an empty drawing.
- External View: Will display a closed box or a full tray, whichever the case type.
- Empty Tray: If the user is working with trays, will display the empty tray.
- Open Box: If the user is working with an RSC box, this action will open the flaps.
- Show Contents: If the user is working with an RSC box, this action will open the flaps and show the content by removing the front boards. This is specially useful for viewing the effect of slack on the box.
- Number of feasible pallets: Records the number of pallets that Quick Pallet Maker has calculated with the current input data. If the pallets are deleted from the list, this number will remain the same. If the user duplicates a pallet, this number will increase.
- Action Menu: This menu contains the pallet rearrangement actions that can be performed with the selected pallet. These actions can also be found under the Pallet Actions sub-menu of the Tools menu.To perform an action on a pallet, select an item from this menu and press the "Go" button. The actions that can be performed on a pallet are the following:
- Optimize Tries to create a new pallet with an optimized arrangement, based on the boxes and pallet restrictions of a selected pallet.
- Optimize and Flip Cases Creates two new pallets with optimized arrangements of flipped cases (i.e. on their sides), based on the boxes and pallet restrictions of the selected pallet.
- Mix layers and optimize in height This command will create a new pallet that mixes the first layer of each one of the selected pallets. The layers are mixed to fit as many boxes as possible within the available height.
- Alternate Layers Creates a new pallet with the boxes organized in mirrored layers for added pallet stability. If the pallet arrangement is regular (i.e. Types 1 or 2), then the new pallet will be created by mixing layers type 1 and type 2 (with lengthwise and transversal boxes).
- Mix Pallet Creates a new pallet with one of each of the first layers of the selected pallets.
- Display Box Length Creates a new pallet in which the boxes are placed in such a way that as many boxes as possible show the longest face outwards.
- Display Box Width Creates a new pallet in which the boxes are placed in such a way that as many boxes as possible show the shortest face outwards.
- Generate Stable Pallets This command alternates the boxes on the pallet so that lengthwise and transversal columns follow each other. The resulting pallet type is more stable (although doesn't necessarily fit more boxes).
- Pallet List: The section at the bottom of the Available Solutions window is known as the pallet list and it contains all the available pallets. As mentioned before, there are three pallet solutions per box, so if the calculations produce 8 boxes, there will be 24 pallets made from those boxes. The items in the list can be deleted (by selecting a pallet and pressing the Del or the backspace key), duplicated (by selecting Duplicate from the Edit menu) or sorted by selecting "Power Sort" from the Tools menu.
- Sorting a pallet: Selecting "Power Sort" from the tools menu will open the sorting window. This window contains two types of parameters to use for sorting (main and secondary) and two different types of sorting criteria (one for each parameter). To sort a pallet list, select the desired criteria and press "OK". The list should be sorted automatically.
- Internal box slack: Slack can be added to the calculated cases to obtain round numbers for the case dimensions and/or to add stability. Slack is also recommended to compensate for normal box manufacturing variation. When designing QPM, we thought that it made more sense to add the slack to a box after the box had been fit into a pallet than prior to the pallet calculation. This reasoning enables the user to see the limit to the slack that he/she could add to the case more clearly.To add slack to a box, select a pallet and its box dimensions (Length x Width and Height) will show up in the box slack squares. Adjust the dimensions to the desired values and exit the editing box. If the resulting pallet dimensions have not exceeded the predetermined limits, then a new box will be created with internal slack.
Box Compression Feature
Quick Pallet Maker's main purpose is to help design boxes and to help place them into a pallet. Besides the dimensions, the box design should involve the Top to Bottom resistance of the box in order to protect the box' contents.
The Box Compression feature was designed for this purpose and it is accessible through the Output Window. Select Box Compression from the tools menu to open the compression window
The elements of this window are the following:
- Menu with stacked pallets: If you will be stacking pallets on top of each other, select the total amount of pallets that will be part of a stack. If using racks, choose "One Pallet"
- Box number: Use this menu to select which box will you display the compression for. Most of the time, you will just be interested in viewing the compression for the first box from bottom to top.
- Compression per box Top to bottom (i.e. vertical) compression that is applied to each box. This number is calculated by dividing the weight on the bottom-most layer by the number of boxes in that layer. In other words, the most critical box is the one in the bottom layer. Note that is number includes the corrugate weight, besides the weight of the box' contents.
- Safety Factor This factor depends on the warehouse humidity, the box handling, the type of box stacking (interlocked or columnar box stacking), among other factors. If your company does not have general guidelines to choose the safety factor, then ask your corrugate box supplier for assistance. Please note that this value should be greater than 1, because it will be multiplied, not divided by the original box compression to obtain the final compression.
- Total Box Compression: This number indicates the minimum force that the empty box should withstand in order to protect the box contents and to provide stability to the pallet load. The units for this number will be weight units (kg or lbs). When the user clicks OK, this number will appear in the detailed report (as below).
- Use max compression checkbox: If this item is enabled, then all the boxes in the pallet should be manufactured to support the maximum compression that is present in any of them.