Preferences > Influences applies only to Crate Pro 6 releases 4138, 1712nn and 1807nn.
---- Influences are intended to allow you to adjust Crate Pro to your unique manufacturing environment and is one component of the program to that assures no two Crate Pro companies end up in a price war with each other. By adjusting the influences, you are indicating how much each saw or process is influenced by a change in the container's size, weight or quantity. While influences do change from one design to the next, they would never change for two exactly similar designs of the same quantity which is an example of why they would not be adjusted during the course of business.
---- First, it's important to understand that the Influence feature doesn't translate into any particular value so there is no way of taking a calculator and associating values seen in the Influences and relating those to direct times. The influences are an abstract reflection of variances of real world times required to fulfil various tasks. Influence adjustments may change greatly for different companies. Larger companies or companies with more experienced employees may find the default influences to be high. Understanding and adjusting them is not a one-step process.
The different areas of influence - size, weight and quantity - work both with and against each other therefore adjusting one may result in the need to adjust a different one. It's not a single-step process. It may be helpful to read the following paragraph multiple times as influences are not linear and likewise, I haven't found a simple way to explain them.
Each area of influence is affected at different rates and they level off at different values for different companies. Adjust influences first by determining what the maximum value is for each area. So, for example, what is the maximum weight of container that your manufacturing location can reasonably accommodate before you need to consider bringing in specialized equipment or before you have to turn a job away. The determined value would be used for the high end setting of the Influence Curve. Once that's set, consider how the container's weight may influence the processing time between a weight of 1 (pound or kilogram) up to the limit you set. This will be used to set your curve. The default curve, for example, reflects that the weight of containers doesn't begin to influence the processes until the weight has started going up past about 1000 pounds. So, if for example, the Weight slider were set to a maximum of 2000 pounds and using the default curve, the line reaches 50% of the height when it's at 80% of the maximum weight. This curve reflects that about 1/2 (50% of the full curve) of the total possible influence, is applied to a 1600 pound crate (80% of 2000 pounds). After setting the curve, the sliders represent how much of the value of the curve is applied for the individual process. Using our example of an 1600 pound crate, if we set the Panel Saw Slider all the way up, that is like pushing it up against the bottom of the curve at it's current point. So for a 1600 pound crate, with the Plywood Slider moved all the way to the top, we are indicating that the time spent on the panel saw process is fully influenced by that curve or is currently set at 50% of the fully potential influence. If the slider were set 1/8 of the way up, we're indicating that the panel saw process is only slightly influenced by the weight of the container. Noticing that the Packing Influence Slider for Weight is set to 0 by default indicates that the packing time is not influenced at all by the container weight. Now, having explained that, the curve reflects the MAXIMUM that each process may be influenced by that area of influence (size, weight or quantity).
Influences exist because crate making is typically a manual process. Being such, there are various factors that can affect the time. While Crate Pro has always differentiated between the time required to get the saw ready to make cuts of a particular size and the time to actually make the cut(s), it hasn't accounted for a person's improved skill resulting from repetitive action, i.e. 'getting into the swing of things'. Influences were added to Crate Pro 6 to account for this human nature. Some manufacturing methods don't have human influences which is why they can be unapplied. The best way to do this is by using the Equipment feature. The speed of manufacturing equipment isn't exposed to these influences so if, for example, you use a CNC saw for plywood, you can enter such a saw in Equipment then select it for the Panel Saw process in a Design. Pallets create another good example... For large scale pallet manufacturers, there is one setup time for a Design record then the time per unit is the same regardless of the number of units. Crate Pro will also accommodate this by using the Equipment feature.
- ---Some people have experienced problems with viewing the slider tool. The sliders are affected by your operating system's default browser settings. If you are having problems, enter a value below the slider that is between 0 and 1 where 1 represents 100% influence. You can change tabs then return to the Influence tab to assure the change is applied. You may wish to click between the Influence tabs - this often will reset your browser and allow the sliders to appear correctly.
Handling & Misc is completely determined by Influence settings.