SECTION 5 -
Improving Solutions - Some more advanced features.
(Covers: Introduction, Advanced options on data entry, Advanced option on results display, Reducing number of cases/layer, Displaying layouts, Layout types, Manipulating layouts, Column & Brick Stacks, Elevations report, Using overhang, Comparing Pallet Sizes (a), Container Fill, Other improvement techniques, Pallet Comparison Mode )
This section of the manual discusses some of the more advanced features of PALLETMANAGER which are applicable to Palletise, Collation and Tertiary Modes and which will assist you in gaining best advantage from the software.
In both of the previous two sections reference was made to Screen 3 - Pallet and Style Selection. This screen is shown below. (The Style Database button is only shown in Collation and Tertiary Modes).
Previous discussion covered all of the buttons on this screen with the exception of the Advanced options selection. In all the PALLETMANAGER runs described so far, having defined the Pallet and Style to be used, the Pack option was selected. When selecting Pack on this screen all the Advanced options about to be discussed below are automatically turned off, regardless of whether they had been in use on a previous run.
5.2 Advanced data entry screen.
Selecting Advanced options results in the display of the Advanced Options screen (Screen 4):
As discussed below the entries appearing on this screen will depend on the operating mode (Palletise, Collation etc), and on the dimensional information you previously entered for the Case or Primary. Each (possible) entry is described in turn below:
Cylindrical tick box: In both Palletise and Collation mode you may have entered dimensions for Case / Unit / Primary length, width and height, two or more of which are equal. This might have been because you were specifying a cylindrical item. On this screen, if two or more of the dimensions were equal then they can if appropriate mark the Cylindrical tick box thus: . If dimensions were not equal then the tick box will be greyed. As can be seen from the first page of this section the option of selecting a cylinder can also be made using the selection box on the Pallet / Load Space details screen.
Are you palletising bucket / flowerpot shapes?: In Palletise mode this may be selected to produce palletisations in which the tapering cylindrical shapes (buckets) are alternated - upright and then inverted - so as to potentially pack more on a pallet. This option will only be available if (a) all 3 of the input product dimensions are different - these giving details of the larger diameter of the 'bucket', the smaller diameter of the 'bucket' and the height of the 'bucket' and (b) the height value has been ticked as being the height. (Please also see Section 10 for a more detailed discussion).
Alternative Pallet: If you have (say) to examine the loading of the given cargo onto both 1200*1000 and 1200*800 pallets at the same time then you can specify (on the Pallet Specification Screen) the 1200*1000 as the standard pallet size, and an underhang of -200 against the shorter pallet size. Then, by selecting this box the two pallet sizes will be compared in the results table. Further details are available here.
Top Layer tick box: This allows you to (potentially) make greater use of the available loading height. Normally the stacks you will construct in Palletise, Collation and Tertiary modes will use layers in which the height of every layer is the same. This can lead to situations where there is a significant amount of unused load height. If you are prepared to accept solutions in which the top layer (only) of the load may consist of cases on their side then this tick box should be checked.
Alternate Collation Qtys: During data entry in Collation mode you will have specified a Collation quantity, in this instance equal to 12. PALLETMANAGER can investigate a number of specific collation quantities, or indeed a range of values in a single run and allow a direct comparison of solutions.
You can enter up to 3 distinct alternate collation quantities, or, alternatively, a range of quantities between a lower and a higher value. If you wish to enter a range (e.g. 4 to 12) then enter the lower limit as Alternative 1 and enter -12 as Collation Alternative 2. (Notice the negative sign).
These values are considered at the same time as the 'expected collation quantity', and the results for all collation quantities are tabulated together. In doing so the figures entered earlier for Primaries / Case and Case Volume are used to determine the 'Annual Production of Primary units', and cost calculations for all collation quantities are based upon this common basis.
It is also possible to specify an enhanced range: Say you require a collation quantity between 10 and 24 which must be even (i.e. in steps of 2 from the lower limit). You can specify lower and upper limits as above (i.e. 10 and -24), and then set the Alternative 3 value = to the step (here = 2).
The remainder of entries on this screen relate to the Fixed Volume module in which case or primary dimensions are allowed to varied slightly in an effort to further improve palletisation solutions. This powerful module (and the input of data into the above screen for Fixed Volume) is discussed in Section 7 of the manual.
5.3 Advanced Options During Results Display.
Having input data and selected from either Screen 3 or from Screen 4 to perform the packing phases, after a short delay the Results Summary screen (Screen 5) provides you with a tabular set of results ranked according to cost. This was illustrated and discussed in Section 3 and is shown below:
The screen above shows the 'best' four solutions - the scroll bar or keyboard keys allow other entries to be displayed. As discussed during the Guided Tour (Section 3), the Height and Weight columns towards the right of the display indicate the amount of extra height and/or weight needed to allow an extra layer to be fitted. For the 3rd entry just 4mm extra will allow a further pallet layer to be accommodated.
Previously, in order to see what effect a 4mm increase would make we used the Back button to return to the data entry screens, manually changed the height restriction and re-packing.
The Advanced options button on the above screen provides you with a variety of options to quickly change the pallet height and weight limits.
Selecting Advanced leads to the following screen (Screen 5a):
Here the details regarding each of the cases is unchanged but a new set of buttons are now displayed. Most of these relate to the adjustment of the pallet height / weight limits to accommodate extra (or less) layers.
Examining the Layer Adjustment buttons:
Prior to selecting these buttons a particular entry in the results table should be highlighted. In this example we might well wish to see the effect of adding a layer to solution reference 3. We would therefore highlight reference 3 and select +1 Layer. The pallet height and/or weight limits will be adjusted - here 4mm will be added to the height limit - and the results for all the entries re-calculated and displayed once again in ranked order.
To return to the original height / weight limits then with any of the results highlighted on the Advanced screen Original would be selected. The same approach can be adopted with the -1 layer button (highlighting a specific entry and selecting the button). Either +/- layer options can be selected repeatedly.
The final button in this set Subopt can be used to produce solutions with less cases / layer than the PALLETMANAGER optimal solution. This can very occasionally be useful if the optimal layout(s) calculated by PALLETMANAGER are too complex for practical use or cannot be stacked safely. Given the wide range of optimal layouts considered and presented by the software this is unlikely to be needed. When selected the currently highlighted entry has the quantity / pallet layer reduced by one. It can also selected multiple times, and on each occasion the number/layer will be reduced by a further one case, so that it is possible to begin with a solution providing (say) 40 cases/layer and reduce this to 39, 38, 37 etc progressively.
One problem with the above procedure is that the algorithms within PALLETMANAGER are designed to product OPTIMAL layouts. Whilst it is possible to reduce the number / layer in the above tabular display to whatever numerical value you wish, it may not be possible for PALLETMANAGER to produce a graphical arrangement which produces such a 'bad' solution. In such cases the message: PALLETMANAGER is unable to produce a graphical solution for this problem' will be displayed when attempting to move forwards to display the available layouts. In such instances and alternate approach may be taken to produce the required layout specification and this is described below.
We occasionally receive support calls from users who needs to re-produce an existing (non-optimal) layout and find the above procedure fails to achieve the required solution. When dealing with a significant reduction in number / layer, or when packing a square / nearly square case this may well occur. In such instances the user may well know the 2D plan of the layout.
To produce the required layout with PALLETMANAGER the following procedure can be adopted.
Viewing the 2D plan of the desired plan, examine the pallet length and determine the total amount by which the cases fail to make use of the length dimension (underhang). In a similar manner determine the total amount unused on the pallet width. Exact values are not essential. If we assume that there is at least 80mm spare on pallet length and 50mm on pallet width, then return to the screen where you specified PALLET DETAILS and change the entry for 'Total OH or UH (-) changing longer dimension (i.e. pallet length)' from zero to -80 (note the minus). Likewise change the corresponding shorter dimension value to -50. Then carry out the packing once again. This should produce for you the number / layout you were seeking to achieve as PALLETMANAGER will now assuming that slightly less space is available on the pallet for the layout. Make any further changes to the underhang as required.
The remaining two buttons are Back and Boardsel. The former of these buttons returns to the 'standard' tabular results screen (Screen 5), whilst the Boardsel option is designed to assist you in selecting suitable case material for a given application.
Boardsel is discussed in detail in Section 6.
5.4 Displaying Pallet Layouts.
After highlighting (using the mouse) on the Results Summary screen (Screen 5) your preferred solution selecting Layout will result in the calculation of optimal pallet layouts for your chosen case. You are then presented with a two-dimensional view of the first of the available layouts on Screen 6:
Depending on the characteristics of the problem there may be dozens of possible pallet layouts for the selected case, each of which accommodates the same optimal number of cases.
You can browse through the available patterns using the + Pattern and -Pattern buttons. You can construct 3-dimensional pallet stacks in 4 ways:
Use the same pattern on all layers as a column stack.
Use the same pattern on all layers, but with alternate layers being a rotation, reflection etc of the base layer.
Use a number of column stacked layers to form the base of the stack and then create the remaining layers as rotation / reflection etc of the base layer - (Recently introduced).
or Use two different layouts for odd and even layers. Both layouts (chosen from the set available) will naturally accommodate the same umber of cases / layer.
The procedure for selecting (and manipulating) layouts will be examined a little later in this Section.
5.5 Pattern Layout Types.
In generating optimal pallet patterns PALLETMANAGER groups the patterns produced according to their characteristics. We code these as Types A through to F. These are shown on the following page:
|Type A: Simple layouts with all cases in one orientation forming a simple block.||Type B: Layouts having two, three or four distinct groupings on the pallet.|
|Type C: Symmetric and Asymmetric 'T' layouts.||Type D: Spiral and 'staircase' layouts.|
|Type E: Non-spiral complex layouts.||Type F: Horseshoe layouts.|
It should at this point be emphasised that for a given problem not all of these layout types may exist. In fact it might be that only one layout provides an optimal packing. However, in many instances layouts representing several, if not all, of these types may exist and will be available for display.
The Type of Layouts contained within each of the six categories are briefly described above. However, given the variations which can occur within even a single type, probably the best way of appreciating the various forms is by examining the notation (A to F) displayed on the Layout Screen as each layout is displayed.
Whilst the + Pattern / - Pattern buttons can be used to browse through the layouts available the keyboard keys Home and End can also be used to jump between patterns of each type.
5.6 Selecting / Manipulating Patterns.
The menu shown below is used to build up the 3D stack.
Typically, whilst displaying a 2D layout which seems suitable one of the 4 buttons to Build up Pallet Stack will be selected. If however the 2D layout is such that some movement of some of the cases prior to building the stack seems necessary then the Movement buttons can be used to centralise or space the 2D layout.
The topmost buttons allow you to browse through the various layouts available for the highlighted table entry.
|Sometimes the boxes in the layout need centralising on length or width or spacing out along that dimension. These buttons perform such actions.|
|Having identified a suitable layout the Build Stack
buttons allow you to build up a 3D stack using, as alternate layers an
identical, mirror, flipped or rotated image.
To gain a clearer view of the degree of interlock between layers the equivalent two dimensions view of 'layer 2 on top of layer 1' can be viewed using the Display 2D buttons.
|In 'extreme' circumstances it is possible to combine any
two totally different layouts to form a stack - something of a last
You can also specify that the base of the pallet stack is column stacked, with upper layers forming an interlocked pattern.
|These allow you to either return to the tabular results table or, use the displayed solution and view / print the reports then available.|
The move Length and move Width options allow you to move blocks of boxes towards the pallet edge in the direction of pallet Length or Width so as to form a neat packing edge. This option will also centralise a block of boxes on a pallet edge where that block forms the complete edge. You are also able to move the boxes on the pallet using the Spacing options Space len. and Space wid. Normally Length and Width will only have effect if applied before the application spacing options. The movement is applied to 'blocks' of boxes, though not to interlocking units. The effect of movements applied can be removed by re-selecting the appropriate layout number.
Having selected an displayed a suitable 3D stack then Print / View is selected.
The AlterMode button is used when you wish to mix two different pallet layouts to form a stack. This is not usually desirable in practice.
Earlier in this Section the input option to utilise a single top layer of cases in another orientation. When this is selected, and assuming a solution is highlighted which uses a single top layer, then after building up the base stack layers on the above screen the Pick toplayer option will be selected prior to selecting Print / View.
(Past users of the software should be aware that the keyboard keys - capitalised on the above menu, can also be used to control this screen. One feature not supported via the Windows buttons is that of examining 2D stack interlock. Whilst keyboard keys M, F, I, R produce Mirror, Flip etc arrangements in 3D, lower case keys will produce 2D interlock pictures on screen - as with previous releases.)
The use of the three dimensional screen view of the stack, (which can be viewed from both sides by repeated application of the I, M, F and R options) will assist in examining the degree of interlock, as will the use of the Elevation Reports discussed below.
5.7 Creating stacks combining both 'Column' and 'Brick' Stacking.
Whilst the options Mirror, Flip and Rotate on the Layout Selection Menu normally allow you to create pallet stacks which are far more stable than using identical (column stacked) layers throughout the pallet stack, they may not provide the strongest arrangement from the point of minimising product damage.
For some products it may be preferable to form a column stack of cases for the first few pallet layers (concentrating the product load onto the well-aligned case edges, each positioned exactly above those in the layer below), and then use alternating layouts for the top few pallet layers to produce the degree of interlock required for the complete pallet stack. The extent to which such solutions might provide beneficial will vary from product to product, and will also depend on the case material and the equipment available to align layer on layer.
PALLETMANAGER is able to produce such solutions. The layout selection tools described above allow you to define which layout to use, and how (for the interlocking layers) the 3D stack will be formed. If no other action is taken by the user then ALL layers in the pallet stack will be structured in this way.
You will note that on the Layout Selection menu there is an entry entitled 'Column Stack Base Layers' which by default has a value = 1. When producing layouts (using Mirror, Flip or Rotate) which do NOT have a column stack forming their base then this value indicates that there is as standard just the 1 base layer, with the 2nd layer being of a Mirror / Flip or Rotated form.
If, after creating the type of 3D stack that you require (using M/F/R) you change this value to (say) 3, and then when you select Print / View, the stack that will be produced on screen / printer will be one with three identical column-stacked layers forming the base layers on the pallet, with those layers above providing the interlocking form as constructed by you on Screen 6.
The printed / on-screen reports are designed to clearly show the form of the pallet stack, and these same reports can be saved to either or both of the Webbase or STORE databases.
You should note the following points:
The column stacking is only shown diagrammatically once Print / View is selected.
The maximum value selected for number of column stacked layers is limited to the total number of layers in the stack minus 1.
A value of 1 indicates the default action of 1 base layer followed by a mirror / flip / rotated image.
A mirror / flip / rotated pattern must have been selected for alternate layers (otherwise the value for column stacked layers will be ignored as you will be producing a complete column stack anyway).
The Column Stack Layers value will not be actioned in instances where Alternate Mode layouts (totally different layouts for alternate layers) is selected.
5.8 The Elevations Report.
This report provides further information on the degree of interlock in a stack by providing face-on views of each side of the stack.
This report is obtained from the same menus used to view / print Palletisation and Stacking Reports.
This report is best examined in conjunction with the relevant three-dimensional stacking report. The graphical views of the stack show the position of each case which would be visible to a human viewer standing at the side of the loaded pallet. Some of these cases may be on the periphery of the stack adjacent to the viewer. However, when there are gaps in the stack, other cases may be positioned well behind the face adjacent to the viewer. In examining the degree of interlock it is clearly important to identify such 'holes'. This is done on the Elevations Report by suitable shading.
Three types of shading are utilised:
Cases on the periphery of the stack adjacent to the viewer are left unshaded. (Coloured dark blue on screen)
Cases not on the periphery, yet lying less than one case width behind the face are cross shaded. (light blue on screen)
Cases lying further than one case width behind the front face are shaded in black. (on both screen and printer)
The reader is encouraged to examine the above description in conjunction with their own Stacking and Elevation Reports.
It should perhaps be mentioned here that even when the product size (e.g. a Case) is fixed then a palletisation improvement may be possible by simply allowing a few mm. pallet overhang (just 1mm might be enough!). This can be a very easy and powerful technique where this does not present problems from product stability / crushability viewpoints.
The potential improvement can easily be examined in any normal Palletise or Collation run. If you enter a pallet base size and then allow a small amount of overhang in the two overhang / underhang selection boxes on Screen 3 (where Pallet Size is selected), then the PALLETMANAGER run will solve both the problem using the allowed overhang and that using the base pallet size. Both results will be listed on screen with those results lines relating to the base pallet size being flagged with a < character to the right hand size of the results line. (Results using stated overhang / underhang will therefore NOT be marked).
The load space dimensions associated with both the base pallet size and the size of the load area including overhang / underhang are displayed at the top of the results screen.
The screen shows (as usual) values for % Fill on both area and volume. Where no overhang / underhang has been specified then naturally these values represent the percentage of the pallet base and the percentage of the pallet cubic space which is occupied by the product.
When an amount of overhang or underhang have been specified then all the utilisation figures are presented on a common basis - by comparison with the load space including any overhang or underhang.
For example, if you tackle a problem on a 1200 * 1000 pallet allowing 50mm overhang on each pallet dimension the area utilisation and volume utilisation figures for all result lines will be based on a 1250 * 1050 * 1620 pallet load space. This make comparison between results with / without overhang easy to appreciate.
5.10 Comparison of loading on two pallet sizes.
There may be occasions when products being designed / packaged are to be stored or distributed on two different pallet sizes - e.g. 1200 * 1000 and 1200 * 800 and you would like to examine the relative efficiencies of each design on each pallet on the same screen.
PALLETMANAGER has for some time been able to tackle such problems using a logical extension to the overhang analysis referenced above. This is described below.
However we have recently introduced a new module 'PALLETISE Comparison' mode which makes tackling such problems rather easier (though the results screens obtained are identical). This mode of operation is discussed in Section 5.14 below.
If we assume that the two pallet sizes of interest are indeed 1200*1000 and 1200*800 then the following procedure can be used.
Input case or primary details in the normal manner using Palletise / Collation / Tertiary modes.
At the point where you input / select a pallet size choose (say) a 1200 * 1000 * 1620 pallet size.
Input underhang / overhang values which would transform the chosen pallet size to the alternate size (in this instance a value of -200 on the shorter dimension.)
At this point one could select 'Pack' and obtain results for two load spaces as per the Overhang analysis described in the previous section. Whilst these results would be valid the area / volume utilisation figures would not allow you to make statements such as 'on the 1200*1000 pallet we achieve a 95% fill whilst on the 1200*800 pallet we achieve a 92% fill'. This is because of the basis on which area / volume utilisation are calculated in overhang mode as described earlier.
To enable an appropriate set of comparable utilisation figures to be obtained select the Advanced option (not Pack), and tick the box 'Apply over / underhang as an alternate pallet' and then 'Pack using Above'.
PALLETMANAGER will then calculate area / volume utilisation of each pallet size independently and thus allow a realistic comparison of load efficiency on each (this is discussed in more detail below).
In the example screen below the first 3 results are for the given case size on a 1200*1000 pallet, with the following 3 entries being on a 1200*800 pallet (as described in the text towards the top of the screen).
The results above show, for example, that a 1200*1000 pallet can accommodate 208 cases of size 350*250*100 high with a volume utilisation of 93%. However the same case size and orientation, entry 5 in the table, when fitted on a 1200*800 pallet can only load 160 cases (naturally a smaller number given the smaller pallet size), and achieves a 90% utilisation on that (smaller) pallet.
In practice one would need to consider the relative volumes of product being transported / held on the two pallet sizes in order to decide whether to choose a case size / orientation which gave an optimal loading on one or other of the pallets, or to use a case which performs moderately well on both pallet sizes (for example 350*100*250 high which achieves 91% utilisation on both pallet sizes.
Hopefully the above discussion has made it clearer why the basis used to calculate utilisation on this screen necessarily differs from that used in standard overhang analysis.
5.11 Container Fill.
We have recently added as a result of user feedback a new ContFill option which can be accessed using the ContFill button on Screen 5.
Screen 5 (the tabular ranked results screen), obviously provides users with information on the efficiency with which cases can be loaded in stacks given limits on stack length, width and height. This might typically represent the efficiency of pallet loads within a racked warehouse environment.
However a number of our users are either receiving goods from suppliers in containers or trailers, or will be using containers / trailers to 'export' goods which might initially held in warehouse racking. Whilst such goods might be 'loose filled' into containers / trailers (something which our CARGOMANAGER software is designed to solve), to minimise handling requirements it is increasingly common to load containers with stacks of product (on pallets or plastic slipsheets), using stacks whose length and width match the pallet racking of the warehouse environment. Thus the stacks might be 1200*1000 or 1200*800 in the European environment.
The Contfill option shows instantly how well the given product fits within each of a number of standard (user defined) containers. [As this is a new feature we would be keen to hear form users on how we might best develop this facility in future releases]
As will be outlined below the use of stacks of (say) 1200*1000 or 1200*800 - on either pallets or slipsheets does not make very good use of the space within any container size. We should mention a companion product SLIPSHEET MANAGER which allows users to appreciate the impact that using stacks of non-standard sized might have on container/trailer load efficiency.
Pallet sizes rarely match the internal dimension of containers. For example when using a UK pallet (1200*1000) - or even free stacks / slipsheet stacks of the same size footprint - then even if the product is sized so that it utilises all the available container height, then best %fill that can be achieved are as given below:
|Container Description||Maximum % fill possible|
|20' standard container (5900*2352*2393)||86.5%|
|40' standard container (12035*2350*2393)||93.3%|
|40' high container (12035*2350*2577)||93.3%|
|45' high Container (13582*2347*2696)||90.3%|
These figures ignore completely the height of any pallet in use.
Given the above figures it is not surprising that many companies are now considering using (a) custom pallet sizes or (b) use of slipsheets of standard or custom sizes or (c) packing cargo as loose items in order to obtain far higher container utilisation figures. Our own specialist software products SLIPSHEET MANAGER and CARGOMANAGER can help you maximise container fill.
Where goods must be packed using standard sizes (e.g. 1200*1000) in both the warehouse and container then Contfill can instantly provide you with information on the load efficiency when using various container sizes.
5.12 Using Contfill.
Inbuilt into PALLETMANAGER is a small database containing details of the internal dimensions of 4 common container sizes. This can be viewed and edited using the Container button on the opening screen (Screen 0). The sizes held are typical of those encountered in practice but when using this Contfill function you should ensure that they reflect the actual sizes available to you.
Of particular importance is the Internal Height value held for each container as it is this figure which usually has the greatest impact on load efficiency. There are various considerations which need to be made when specifying these values:
If goods within the container are to be block stacked on the floor or block stacked on slipsheets (which have negligible impact on the stack height), then the height specified can be set equal to the total available container loading height.
If goods within the container are to be palletised using a single pallet for each stack then the height available (in the Container Database) should be reduced by the height of that single pallet (say 160mm).
Once the Container Database is configured then it should not need to be changed on a regular basis. As noted on screen the first 6 characters used for the Container Description will be used to 'head up' results columns.
When running a PALLETISE / COLLATION / TERTIARY problem through PALLETMANAGER then on Screen 5 (the tabular results screen) the option Contfill can be selected. This will show the % efficiency with which any given solution will fit into the 4 different containers together with the number of primary units (Collation) or cases (Palletise) which can be fitted in stacks (using the same stack size footprint as is being used for the Palletise / Collation exercise).
When using this function, especially in Collation mode, and most especially when various collation quantities might be used, the following may be noted:
The result which provides the best %utilisation in the Palletise / Collation exercise may not perform as well in terms of container fill.
Frequently a slight 'lower ranked' solution in the Palletise / Collation exercise may provide better container utilisation (perhaps at the expense of a slightly lower pallet utilisation in the warehouse).
There will be typically be considerable variation in % utilisation for any given solution across the various container sizes - this is part reflects the Maximum % fill possible figures detailed in the table a little earlier.
If the product weight is such that the load in the container would exceed the weight limit then Contfill will automatically reduce the quantity packed and the % fill amounts by the necessary amounts. When this occurs the % fill figure for that container will be followed by a W to indicate that the container weight limit has resulted in a reduced load (e.g. 75.4%W). In Collation mode the number of primary units fitted when weight limits applied may vary slightly from line to line if a weight value have been assigned for packaging material.
The Contfill function does not display diagrams as to how the stacks would be placed in the container. However for standard pallet sizes the number of stacks and their placement within a container are well known (certainly by warehouse staff), and the placements for 1200*1000 stacks into common container sizes are shown below.
(10 stacks of 1200*1000)
(22 stacks of 1200*1000)
(24 stacks of 1200*1000)
As discussed earlier improvements in load fill may be possible through either the use of non-standard stack sizes (SLIPSHEET MANAGER can then assist), or obviously using loose fill of cargo (in part or in whole) - here CARGOMANAGER could be of assistance.
5.13 Other improvement techniques.
Where the case or primary size input is not totally fixed then the Fixed Volume module can be used to optimise the dimensions of a primary / case within your prescribed limits while maintaining the volume of product within the case. See Section 7 for further details of the Fixed Volume module.
Again, where the size of the product / case / amounts of packaging etc are not totally fixed the Do Better button available on the Results Summary Screen (Screen 5) provides a powerful set of tools to see exactly what change would be require in the dimensions to achieve more / pallet layer. This is described in detail in Section 15 of the manual.
The Cube module is specially designed to efficiently fill a container, a shipper or perhaps a caged pallet where interlocking is not a requirement. This is described in Section 8.
It should also be mentioned that a specific section of the manual - Section 16 - is dedicated to problems involving the packing of trays or tote boxes with product.
5.14 Pallet Comparison Mode.
As described earlier in Section 5.10 it is possible to use the overhang values when specifying load space, together with a setting on the 'Advanced Options' screen to examine problems where a given case could be loaded onto either of 2 pallet sizes and you wish to determine the relative efficiency associated with each.
We have recently made this even easier to perform by introducing a new module ' Pallet Comparison Mode' which can be accessed from the same screen (Screen 1) where Palletise / Collation etc are selected. The data input screen then displayed are similar to those of Palletise mode but are oriented towards the pallet comparison objective.
Having selected Pallet Comparison mode you are requested (as with Palletise) to enter details of the case to be packed, together with its weight and orientation constraints etc. Following this you proceed to define the Pallet / Load space details and it is at this point that the objective of your analysis is clearly defined in the screen prompts:
Whilst the screen looks similar to the normal Pallet Specification screen it makes specific reference to the two pallet sizes to be examined.
The details for Pallet 1 are the length, width and height of the default pallet in the Pallet database (which is exactly as in any normal examination), however the details for Pallet 2 have been extracted from Pallet Database Entry 2. In the system as installed the default pallet is set at 1200*1000 whilst that for Entry 2 is a 1200*800 pallet. The loading height of BOTH pallets is assumed to be the same - a total of 2100mm in the above example.
Thus the entries in the above are a combination of these 2 database entries, but any can be edited as required on the above screen to reflect the problem being tackled. In practice we would advise you to set up the pallet database with the 2 pallet sizes you wish to compare in advance as the entries for Pallet 1 (Default) and Pallet 2. They will then be correctly completed on the above screen and no editing will be required.
When 'Pack' is then selected results for the 2 pallet sizes are presented in the same table and any result can be selected and the pallet patterns etc be examined for that entry. You should note that the available loading height on both pallets is the same - the height as specified for Pallet 1, the default.
When used to compare the pallet fill obtained when packing cubic items the results displayed are the same as would be obtained if running the case size against each of the 2 pallet sizes in turn. This mode can also be used to compare the loading of cylindrical items onto 2 different pallet sizes in a similar way.