R.O. has designed and produced a powerful Parametric Shape management system

Date: 15 January 2005
Source: R.O.
The glass sector has the increasingly widespread requirement of having an unlimited catalogue of parametric shapes and creating new ones in a simple way without being an expert in the field.

"Tailor-made" solutions

The company R.O. (the acronym stands for Operational Research) has been producing cut optimization, CAD, and management (orders, bills, invoices, drafts, warehouse, etc.) software and Production Planning and Monitoring applications for more than twenty years. All these products share one common feature: "they have been developed and produced specifically to solve Glass Sector companies’ problems in the best possible way".

To satisfy the above mentioned requirement, R.O. has designed and produced a powerful Parametric Shape management system, perfectly integrated with its suite of optimization products.

In addition to more than a hundred parametric shapes already available, this program allows creating an unlimited number of new ones by using a very simple Metalanguage. Each shape is a text file containing geometric instruction to draw the parametric shape. In the same file the default values characterizing the shape are contained.

The software Perfect Shape, thanks to its simple and user-friendly interface, represents an effective tool to use and exploit the company’s shape collection. By using it, it is possible to select the shape and change its typical parameters. The shape will adapt automatically to the new parameters.

The main innovation is that new shapes can be added and/or modified very easily in the following ways:

  • Learning the use of the metalanguage to define new parametric shapes (a one-day course is enough to train an operator).
  • Modifying existing shapes (using a text editor Notepad) and saving the new ones with a different name, possibly after having changed the set parameters or added some element.
  • Addressing directly to R.O. for the definition of the most commonly used new parametric shapes of the company; in this case, R.O. would send via e-mail the relevant parametric file. Generally, the time needed for the definition of a shape ranges from 15 minutes to 2 hours for more complex ones.
  • Exchanging parametric shapes with other users (e.g. via e-mail or magnetic support).

Clicking on the shape in "Windows Resource Management" twice, it is displaced to the parametric shape directory, automatically launching Perfect Shape and displaying it. The user can therefore displace it, by using Perfect Shape, to the desired subdirectory using "Cut and paste". In the same way, it is possible to re-arrange the parametric shape library tree according to the company requirements.
The user can subdivide parametric shapes into "categories" different from the set ones by creating subdirectories, from Windows Resource Management, with the name to be given to the category. Placing parametric shapes into a directory (even changing the name) means assigning them to that "category" of shapes.

"Cut and paste". In the same way, it is possible to re-arrange the parametric shape library tree according to the company requirements.

The user can subdivide parametric shapes into "categories" different from the set ones by creating subdirectories, from Windows Resource Management, with the name to be given to the category. Placing parametric shapes into a directory (even changing the name) means assigning them to that "category" of shapes.

The following example is enough to highlight the simplicity of the Metalanguage. Having to define a "rectangle with four identical bevels", the text file defining the shape would be the following:

;TIT=Parametric shape name in different languages
;ENG=RECTANGLE WITH FOUR EQUAL BEVELS
;ITA=RETTANGOLO CON QUATTRO SMUSSI UGUALI
;GER=RECHTECK MIT VIER GLEICHEN RUNDUNGEN
;SPA=RECTÁNGULO CON CUATRO CHAFLANES IGUALES
;POR=RECTÂNGULO COM QUATRO CHANFRADURAS IGUAIS
;FRA=RECTANGLE AVEC QUATRE BISEAUX IDENTIQUES

!INIT ; Input parameters definition section:
$UNITS=0 ; Millimetre unit
|DOUBLE L 300 ; Rectangle base parameter with 300 mm from opening
|DOUBLE H 200 ; Rectangle height parameter
|DOUBLE L1 50 ; Bevel X parameter
|DOUBLE H1 40 ; Bevel Y parameter
"INT K ; Internal support variables
"DOUBLE Z
_LINE LINEA2 ; Object parametric shape: - Left vertical line
_LINE LINEA4 ; - Right vertical line
_LINE LINEA1 ; - High horizontal line
_LINE LINEA3 ; - Low horizontal line

!INSERTOR ; Insertor section defining the position on the surface (default: 0,0)

!GEOMS ; Geometrics section, values are given to the geometric elements indicated in !INIT
LINEA2[0,0,0,H] ; Left vertical line
LINEA4[L,0,L,H] ; Right vertical line
LINEA1[0,H,L,H] ; High horizontal line
LINEA3[0,0,L,0] ; Low horizontal line

!MODIFIERS ; Operator section modifying the characteristics of the elements defined in !GEOMS
#CHAMFER[LINEA3,LINEA2,1,1,L1,H1] ; Bevel definition
#CHAMFER[LINEA3,LINEA4,L-1,1,L1,H1]
#CHAMFER[LINEA1,LINEA4,L-1,H-1,L1,H1]
#CHAMFER[LINEA1,LINEA2,1,H-1,L1,H1]

!DIMENSION ; Shape relevant quotas section (quoting lines positions and related string)
Z=L/50
&QLINEAR[0,Z,L,Z,"L"] ; Quoting labels
&QLINEAR[L-Z,0,L-Z,H,"H"]
&QLINEAR[0,H-Z,L1,H-Z,"L1"]
&QLINEAR[Z,H-H1,Z,H,"H1"]

!END ; End of the parametric file section

Opening the above described file, the following shape is displayed:

figure 1
Figure 1

A primitive made by the minimum rectangle limiting the shape is associated to the instanced parametric shape, unless different indication is given applying the "Edging" method.

The user can change the instanced shape, asses the obtained result, cancel the changes, replace the shape or save it with a different name.

It is important to underline that the variation in the input parameters L, H, L1, and H1 can be done in absolute value or obtained as the result of an expression involving one or more of the other variables (in the example: H=L*2/3 e H1=L1/2).

Other useful methods can be applied:

• Mirror image
to transform the shape into its mirror image (horizontally).

• Offset
to reduce or maximize the shape (e.g. if the shape has to be 1 mm grinded an external 1 mm offset is set up). This method can be applied to close shapes only.

• Edging
to indicate shape margins from the edges of the limiting plate.

• Trim
to eliminate the part of the shape on the edge of the plate within the indicated limit (in order to avoid the intersection or coincidence of shape and linear cuts).

• Scale factor
to change shape dimensions proportionally.

The parametric shape created can be "passed" directly to Perfect CAD (CAD software specifically designed for the glass sector) to add further elements (e.g. cut lines for opening the shape).

There is also an ActiveX Control version that allows selecting the shape directly from Perfect Cut, placing the cursor on the "Shape" column and typing CTRL-P to activate the ActiveX Control. After having modified the shape, by accepting the change, the shape is passed to the Perfect Cut project, automatically defining the dimensions of the piece to cut and the cuts to be applied internally.

The ActiveX Control is also used by the management software distributed by R.O. to select the shape, print it in one section of the order and then pass it to the optimizer to cut it together with the other pieces. This control can also be used by other management software for these same applications.

An important feature of the software is its user-friendliness, despite the advanced technology used to develop it.

600450 R.O. has designed and produced a powerful Parametric Shape management system glassonweb.com

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