A short time ago we started a new software package for component supplier. This package include as standalone module with a graphical user interface for data input and output and also a calculation blackbox engine used on the standalone module as well as for external programmers for software integration.
The standalone version has a presenting catalog selector to show the available products and the main information about the company and a project management system. On the login a user name and password is requested so it is possible to different between internal and extern user, between collaborator, agents, customer and guests. Depending on the rule is possible to hide or enable some fields and functions on the program.
The blackbox module for calculation is the heart of all. Here all the products are technically calculated and also the price and weight can be found. For price building no programmers help is need, here we are using a excel file and our customer are creating there one calculation. The excel file goes then read by our software without needs to have Microsoft Excel installed on the PC
Using this package we are able to implement calculation modules for finned coils, sound attenuators, plate exchanger, humidifier and others in a real short time and in very modern and powerful way.
Only the interface structure and the calculating kernel must be developed extra. So it is possible to save the investment of our customers done in some internal tools grooved up in the year. Also we are transferring into the software all the knowledge some people got during their work time before they got retired. Investment and knowledge gets saved and in the same time new people goes activated to support the customers.
Please note: if we are developing such a calculation blackbox then immediately the DLL will be also inside of our software airCalc++ for AHU design and calculation and you can reach on release of the software more than 30 AHU producers in one day. If you go then to contact the producers you can win maybe some new customers.
All the programming we have done using Microsoft Visual Studio 2015. Programs and DLL are ready for Framework 4.0 (also 4.5) and for 32 and 64 Bit Systems.
It is a modern program made with modern development tools.
Standalone Project manager
Each project you calculate goes saved in a database. A project consists in a header and positions. The header contains the customer data what you can read out from a excel sheet (maybe created from your ERP system) and it contains also the project number, data, customer request and contact data.
A position corresponds to a heater. It contains the requested data and the calculated data. Also price and weight goes saved.
A project can contain more positions and because of this a quotation letter can be created. This quotation is made in a MS-Word docx format file and you can manage to change the automatic generated document.
Also is possible to create a unique document as a PDF file containing the quotation and for each position one page of technical data requested by your customer.
As the database for projects can be saved on a server (also MS SQL Server is possible, full or free version) all user in your office are having access to all calculations.
The report generator permits you to define your report layout for technical data printout. A graphical interface makes you able to design modern looking printouts.
The printouts are not part of the Blackbox calculation module but the reports are parts of the Project manager. Report scan be saved as PDF, EXCEL and WORD documents
If you start the program, a catalog will be shown. Here is the right place to present your company and also your product. T he User can use a copy / past function co include some technical description into your own documents.
If one of your customers calculates bigger projects with more than one product than he can create an export file containing the project header an all calculated products. You are t hen able to do the Import and you have immediately visible what your customer has calculated.
Please note that you can also distribute this project manager to your customer because it is the standard for the standalone version.
Product Selector module
The product selector module makes you able to select in a simply and graphically way the type of product you want to calculate. On a horizontal menu you can select the main product group (Heater, Cooler, Heat Recovery, Sound attenuator, Humidifier, ....) and a step down on an image library you can select the Geometry or coil type, execution of an Sound attenuator and others.
Entered all technical requests and air quantity and temperature and also dimensional requests then the user can execute the calculation using automatically the product calculation blackbox module.
After the calculation a grid with some results is shown. Here the user can sort each column, he can filter and group all results. By clicking on a result line he will see all result details from the selected product size on the mask.
This product selector is the fastest way to select the right model size and product type for the actual requests. More results from one calculation make the user able to select the product about technical requests or also about the price. Maybe the fin space can be variable? Then the software is able to show for each fin space a result.
Product Calculation module Blackbox
The heart of the system is the calculation module.
We are defining a public interface based on a simple string (the simplest what is possible) for data exchange and then we are going to develop the calculation of each technical data requested for each products
This part of the Framework is individual, based on our existing work and our experiency we are deveopling ad Tuning some modules for AHU componets like:
Finned coils for fluids, steam and refigerants
Sound attenuator sets with and without casing
Telephonly sound attenuator
Rounded and flexible sound attenuator
High pressure humidifier
Gas and oil Burner Chambers
Counterflow and crossflow Plate exchanger
Direct driven fans
and a lot more of components
The blackbox kernel has only a set of input and a output functions. Using this function also an external programmer is able to implement this blackbox into his own solution. The interlacing DLL is written for DOTNET Framework 4.0 (4.5) with public functions so the link between two systems is very simple. Usually we are delivering also an example in source code and a possible wrapper if someone wants to link the blackbox with an older language.
Very important: al technical and catalog data are saved in a protected mode into some files. The technical data and catalog data and also data need for equations and coefficients (like for efficiency and pressure drop calculation) are available for to modify and to extend. So no programmer is need if you want to change the base data.
The Blackbox kernel contains also a validation and licenses period control so that you can manage where and how long can use the calculation DLL.
Usually a jpeg image will be printed on technical data. It is a schematic drawing with A, B, C indication and on side of the drawing is printed then a table with the A, B, C Dimension.
The 3D Drawing interface permits you to create a 3D drawing of your product starting from the calculation data. The created drawing is fully compatible with autodesk autocad format from 2000 till 2013 file version.
A 2D drawing is create d by showing the right view on a viewport, some dimension lines are added too then on 2D view.
Instead of the schematic jpeg image a 3D drawing is then printed on technical data sheet, also you are able to save the drawing as a dwg autdesk autocad file.
The program setup
Each package is split in two parts: the blackbox calculation module and the standalone package.
The blackbox module is a set of DLL and files and is a simple zip file what you can distribute to other programmers. It contains also the source code for an example and a description about the Interface. If you change base data on some files, it is enough that you replace the files on the zip file
The standalone package has a setup file. Here we are delivering a script file for the the open source setup maker inno-Setup. With a simple mouse click you can create your own setup to distribute to your customers, agents and collaborators.
In case you changed some data on files you can simply replace these files and you can create the new setup for distribution. Again you will be free from each programmer help, you are your own manager of the setup.
Additional program notes
The whole software is "multilanguage" ready. As standard you will get the software ready in English and German language und you can translate it in each other language you want. It is quite simple because no text strings are not hard coded; all text is outside of the program code
Of course we have some different measurement systems available. m3/h, m3/s, cfm, °C, F, K kW BTUH and others are implemented.
To create the quotation letter we are using an integrated word text Editor to create docx files. So no Microsoft Word must be installed for this.
The same is valid for price calculation, here we are using our one fast excel simulation. You can create your one Price calculation using Excel and no programmers support is need if you change your calculation.
The program has an integrated office user and right management. You are able to define a license period, some login names and keys and you can also define what a user can do or not do.