This is by far, the largest change to the software in our history. We have replaced the QCC file with two new options; the QCQ file and Microsoft SQL Server. You now have the option of choosing either (a) the file-based option (default) or (b) the server-based option allowing QC-CALC to read and write directly to SQL Server. This relates to QC-Gage through the overriding of part file paths, feedback on the run screen, and the support for Location and Categories.
Location and Category Support
If using SQL Server, location and categories have been added for improved grouping and categorization of part files in a multi-user environment. For QC-Gage, this means support for specifying the location and category during data collection.
New SP2 format for Spec Plans
The new SP2 format (created in QC-Gage 3.4) is now the standard spec plan format. This format is lighter weight and faster than its predecessor, the SPL file.
Administrative Tool Support
QC-Gage now supports the same administrative tools interface of shared settings and permissions as QC-CALC. In fact, you can use the same admin groups as QC-CALC creating consistent integration between both products.
Automatic Synchronization with QC-CALC 3.4
When you launch a spec plan QC-Gage can communicate with QC-CALC Real-Time 3.4 and tell it to open the corresponding database. This allows you to keep both on screen and have both showing the parts you are measuring.
QC-Gage now fully supports the CimWorks/GE GagePort NT hardware. This includes support for both analog and digital gages, mastering, smart cable setup, RS-232 setup, multi-probe measurements and both static and dynamic (min, max, TIR) measurements.
Heidenhain MSE 1000 Support
QC-Gage has integrated with the Heidenhain MSE 1000 hardware to provide data collection and mastering support for all modules and probes for the MSE series.
Ability to Import Spec Plans
QC-Gage supports the ability to import specifications and automatically create spec plans from InspectionXpert, GE Proficy Shop Floor, and Discus.
Live Data Collection for probing interfaces
Where supported (currently GagePort and Heidenhain MSE 1000), a live data collection option is available in the form of either a radial speedometer or vertial column gage. Live data streaming from the hardware updates the on-screen gauges instantaneously as gages are mastered or parts are measured.
Along with new hardware, fixture groups are now supported allow you to click one button and take simultaneous readings at once from multiple gages.
Improved Gage Script Interface
The interface for creating new gage scripts has been improved and converted into a wizard that walks you through the process. Along with the existing advanced parsing editor are two simpler options to either parse a delimited gage output string or take a particular fixed position from within the output.
This feature allows you to define groups of features/factors to measure. At measurement time, you can then set up which features/factors are entered based on the groups. This allows you to start with a full layout and then reduce your inspection after x parts without any defects. More patterns are being added to allow flexibility in the measurement process.
QC-Gage now has the ability to send a partial data to QC-CALC in Save/Continue spec plans. This allows you to start measuring your part, save the results until complete, but still send the data to QC-CALC and see it updated.
QC-Gage now has support for Solartron Orbit Network gages built in.
New Gage Mastering Ability
You can now choose to master your gages before running the actual spec plan.
QC-Gage now has the ability to zoom in on the plot and change the font size on the run screen. The feature's nominal information now displays in a panel at the bottom of the grid and the plot can display feedback from the QCC file including colors, data, and control limits.
Factors can now be typed in and validated from a list (either visibly or invisibly).
QC-Gage now has an option to display an individual feature in light gray color on the run screen.
You can add notes at the point, part or batch level with the new integrated notes panel on the run screen.
Support for File-Based gages
QC-Gage can now parse the small text files that are sent from all specialty type gages such as roundness, hardness, pull, and compression. The gage scripting is identical to normal RS-232 gages, but it points to a file path much like QC-CALC.
Support for TCP/IP Winsock gaging
QC-Gage can now receive data from a TCP/IP Winsock connection. The gage scripting is identical to normal RS-232 gaging.
You can now optionally skip parts when setting up your spec plans. This is useful for situations where you have high volume (5-10/second) and wish to only sample the data once every x parts.
This feature allows you to launch spec plans based upon a sequence of characters such as a bar code scanner.
Delete Points/Parts from within QC-Gage
It is no longer necessary to send the data to QC-CALC before being able to delete the data. You can now delete it from within the run screen of QC-Gage.
Multiple External Document Linking
Link an unlimited number of documents to each spec plan allowing several different sets of work instructions, videos, etc.
Popup Data Collection Editor
A new popup editor has been added to the Spec Plan Wizard allowing you to manage large lists of factors and features quickly. Re-order features by simply typing the new ordinal position without having to click the arrows.
Better Spec Plan Organization with Tabs
On the main screen, you can now organize your spec plan buttons and group them on tabs. You can create as many tabs as necessary in order to group your buttons. In addition, there is a new Explorer View for customers who have a lot of spec plans and want to organize the plans into folders.
Horizontal and Vertical Run Screen
The new run screen allows you to show the entry grid in either horizontal or vertical mode. Horizontal (same as QC-Gage 3.0) shows the grid with the parts represented in rows. Dimensions are columns. In Vertical mode, the parts are columns and the dimensions are rows. This is advantageous if you are using a checklist for measurement and there are a lot of dimensions.
All measurements and factors are now in one interactive data collection grid. Values are then color coded in the grid to either green (in spec) or red (out of spec) for each identification. This keeps the measurement process focused and much simpler.
QC-CALC Look Back Functionality
Spec plans can now pull back measurements from QC-CALC that were already committed and display them in the run plot as black read-only points. This allows you to see the history of your features as you measure new parts.
Delay Timer After Measurement
When you take measurements, QC-Gage immediately moves to the next measurement by default. When this happens you may not see the result in the plot before it switches to the next plot. To address this, we have added an optional delay of up to 3 seconds before moving to the next measurement. This allows you to quickly see the effects of the measurement before proceeding.
We have revamped our spec plan wizard to be easier to use and more complete. As examples, you can now assign a button to the spec plan while in the wizard, all screens now have a consistent look and feel (list management with plus, pencil, and trash can), and fields that are not necessary have been hidden to decrease distractions.
QC-Gage now allows you to create dimensions that are based on calculations. These can either be based on an entered value or on the values of other dimensions.
In the Calculated Dimensions, you can create shared lookup tables. These lookup tables can be queried as a part of the calculation in order to obtain constant values. For instance, the first dimension may be the temperature. The second dimension may then look up a constant based on the temperature and material in order to get the expansion coefficient.
Unlike QC-Gage 3.0 where the options applied to all factors as a group, all factor related flags are now at the individual factor level. These include the "Visible" flag, the "Clear value on send" flag, the "Required" flag, and the "Use first value for entire batch" flag. This allows for better granularity when setting up your factors. In addition, if you use a list for your factor there is the ability to allow users to enter a value that is not a part of the list.
Spec plans can now be saved and continued at a later time. This is a useful feature if you need to measure parts both before and after an operation. All you need to do is measure the part, then save and close the session. When the part is ready to be continued, simply resume the previous session for that part. Parts can be selected based on date/time or by a unique factor such as serial number.
Regardless as to how you set up the features and factors, you can change the order of their appearance during data collection. For instance, if you always want the factors to be entered before the measurements, you can simply move them to the top of the order.
By default, the inspection date that is sent to QC-CALC is the date/time of the last measurement. This new option allows you to override this date with any date you choose. Therefore, if you have a spec plan that takes hours, you may want to use the date/time the measurements were started.
External Work Instructions Link
You can now optionally link your spec plan to an external document that contains work instructions for measuring your part. When the inspector clicks the link, it will automatically open the document.
All spec plans are now automatically saved locally each time a measurement is received. If something goes wrong in the middle of your measuring, you can always recover the measurements you took before the problem.
Spec Plan Creation Defaults
You can now set up a set of Spec Plan Creation Default settings. At the current time, this includes both QCC Look Back settings and standard factors. You set these settings once and all new spec plans then automatically inherit them as they are created. This allows you to force certain factors to be present in every spec plan.
QC-Gage now allows you to assign descriptive names to the gages in your shop. This way, you can positively identify the gages by nickname rather than by just the gage definition. As you enter the names, a list is automatically created so you can simply choose from the existing list in future spec plans rather than having to type the same name again.