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Factory Commander® v3.4 Build 1294 Release Notes

Updating Factory Commander

When updating Factory Commander, if the application is running, it is best to first close it down before running this update.  In situations where the program is running and the update is also executed, the update will detect instances of the program being run and close them before replacing the updated files.

From Windows Explorer run the self-extracting executable program, 'FC3.4Build1294Update.exe', which will automatically extract the updated files to the program’s installation folder, which is either: C:\Program Files\Factory Commander 3.4, or C:\Program Files (x86)\Factory Commander 3.4, for 32-bit or 64-bit Windows operating systems, respectively.  If a different location was specified when the program was installed, you will be prompted for that folder as part of the update program’s routine.

This update is an archive containing several program files, such as the revised program executable (FC.EXE), the Help File (FC.CHM), and other support files.  Note that these files replace ones already existing in the program’s installation folder. 

Once the update program is finished, run Factory Commander and view the ‘About Factory Commander...’ form from the Help menu. The release version indicated on this form should be “Version 3.4 Build 1294”.  If an earlier release is shown, it is likely the update file did not apply correctly.  In this situation, verify the location of the program’s installation location (FC home folder) is consistent with the program’s installation folder indicated above. 

This update is cumulative and includes all fixes, changes and enhancements with respect to the initial version 3.4 release. 

Functionality Enhancements and Error/Inconsistency Fixes

Listed below are the enhancements and bug fixes included in this update, as well as all prior updates since the initial release.  The latest changes are listed first.  New features or new functionality enhancements have an “F” prefix, errors/corrections have an “E” prefix, and any other changes are prefix with a “C”.  Except where noted, an error found has been corrected. 

Build 1294 - Release date: Jan 14, 2017

F170114-1 – Added a link to the Help menu to the Release Notes document posted on the WWK Products web site.

Build 1293 - Release date: Jan 5, 2017

E170104-1 – Corrected issue in the Equipment Category and Tool Group Total Cost report omitting the test unit cost component from total cost category.

Build 1292 - Release date: Jan 4, 2017

E170103-1 – Corrected issue for labor cost allocation for alternative tools assignments at step.

F170103-2 – For a model where the name of the Test Unit (test wafer) or Starting Material (start wafer) is left blank for the product, the calculated reports now show the term as entered in the Default Term page of the General Model Data form (from the Model menu).  Previously, the row title in the category cost reports would be blank for the cost category.

Build 1291 - Release date: Dec 28, 2016

E161228-1 – Fixed an import error relating to the Tool Group data where records replaced those pre-existing in a model.  This error related to errant zero values for periodic availability factors and capital cost later than the first year.  This related specifically to the Tool Group data import where the imported template only contained Year 1 values.

Build 1288 - Release date: Dec 22, 2016

E161220-1 – Fixed error occurring in certain models where the input value for throughput capacity was incorrectly calculated, and likewise reported in the Production Capacity at Step report.  This error occurred in models where two or more products had the same process associated.

Build 1287 - Release date: Dec 16, 2016

E161216-1 – For a model where an automation equipment expenditure amount was entered in the “Prior” field, the export of the Capital Cost Summary report would omit the value in the exported spreadsheet.  The amount did appear on the printed/previewed version of the same report.

Build 1286 - Release date: Dec 7, 2016

E161207-2 – Fixed the error where export of Product Data would result is the Classification ID to not appear in the exported spreadsheet.

Build 1283 - Release date: Nov 28, 2016

E161128-1 – Fixed error in Product Cost and Resources report when attempting to export the report data to Excel.

F161128-2 – Added feature to separate Standby Time Electricity Usage Input for Tool Group.  A separate input now exists for usage of electricity for a tool when in standby mode.  This input is in addition to the tool's electricity usage when dedicated for its manufacturing purpose.  This input is found on the Utility Costs tab of the Tool Group Data form. 

Build 1281 - Release date: Nov 24, 2016

F161124-1 – Expanded the Materials items from a simple type classification of direct or indirect to multiple classifications.  This feature enables one of 5 pre-defined material classifications to be assigned to each material item defined in a model.  The available classifications are: [1] Starting Material, [2] Direct Process, [3] Indirect Material, [4] Consumables, [5] Supplies, or [6] Utilities.  For details see the Define Material Items form from the Materials menu.  

F161124-2 – The summary reports now show the sub category costs for Tool Operations, Tool Maintenance and Tool Utilities as defined in a model.  If cost are not defined for these categories, their row will not be presented in the reports.  This feature applies to the Product Cost Summary, Product Classificaton Summary, and Total Cost Summary reports.

E161124-3 – Fixed error where the calculated cost for tool group’s capital upgrade was 4X of the correct value.  This applied to input entries made in Year 1 or Year 2 for models run in the Uniform Annual timeframe.

Build 1280 - Release date: Nov 21, 2016

E161121-1 – Corrected the issue where the fiscal year did not appear correctly on several of the standard reports for models set as Uniform Annual and the Start Date occurring early in the calendar year.

Build 1279 - Release date: Nov 18, 2016

F161118-1 – Add feature to report “Process Cost” on the cost summary reports.  A new row titled “Process Total” has been added to Product Cost Summary and Total Cost Summary reports. For this row to appear in these reports, it will first need to selected as an option via the Report Settings |Other Record Option tab | “Show Process Total row on the Product and Total Cost summary reports” checkbox.  Process cost is defined at the product total or grand total minus the starting material cost.  See Other Report Record Defaults from the Reports menu.

F161118-2– Add the feature to optionally omit the starting material cost account in the cumulative total column values on the unit step-level report. This option causes values in the cumulative cost column on the Unit Cost at Step report to be either omit or include in the starting material cost.  If this feature is checked, the cumulative cost reported is only those costs derived at the process steps.  See Other Report Record Defaults from the Reports menu.

F161118-3 – The fiscal year can now be defined to be any date prior to the calendar year.  Previously prior fiscal year could only be defined 6 month before Jan 1 of the next calendar year.  A new check box has been added to the Modeling Timeframes (from Model menu) to enable this feature.

E161118-4 – Fixed error where a previously opened model wasn’t able to be re-activated via the menu or toolbar button.

Build 1278 - Release date: Nov 15, 2016

E161115-1 – Corrected error where certain model would result in the program error message when opened.

Build 1277 - Release date: Nov 7, 2016

E161107-1 – Fixed error where the calculated cost for equipment category’s depreciation was 4X of the correct value.  This applied to input entries made in Year 1 or Year 2 for models run in the Uniform Annual timeframe.

Build 1273 - Release date: Oct 27, 2016

F161027-2 – Added ability to assign the headcount for labor groups to the product classification level.  This feature is in addition to labor assigned at the tool groups, workcenters and product.  See Labor Groups at Product Classification form from the Labor menu.

Build 1272 - Release date: Oct 13, 2016

F161013-1 – Added feature to show or hide the pre-tax metrics on the Financial Summary report.  This option is a checkbox add to the Other Record Options of the Reports menu.  It controls whether pre-tax metrics for Net Present Value (NPV), Cash Flow, Break-even and Payback periods on are included on the Financial Summary report.

Build 1271 - Release date: Oct 5, 2016

E161005-1 – Corrected the error where the row for starting material cost was omitted from the print/preview version of the Income Statement report. 

Build 1267 - Release date: Sep 21, 2016

F160921-1 – Negative input values for overheads costs are now allowed.

F160921-2 – Add inputs for facilities depreciation.  A new page titled Facility Depreciation and set of inputs are available for this feature.  See Facility Category Data | Facility Depreciation tab (from the Building menu).

Build 1265 - Release date: Sep 19, 2016

E160909-2 – Fixed error (Error 9, Data type mismatch) that occurred when calculations were run on certain models.

Build 1263 - Release date: Sep 15, 2016

E160915-1 – Fixed error that occurred when the Floor Space by Tool Group report was attempted to be printed or previewed.

Build 1261 - Release date: Sep 9, 2016

E160909-1 – Fixed the error where import of the tool group’s Unscheduled Downtime and Availability Efficiency are override respectively with 0% and 100%, respectively.

E160909-2 – Fixed the header misalignment issue with the export of the tool group data template.

F160909-3 – Added feature to define the character as the separator for large numbers and as the decimal.  A new feature called Number Separator and Decimal Format has been added enabling presentation of the separator and decimal for numbers in program.  The two options are: [1] Comma for Separator, Period for Decimal, e.g.: 1,234.5, or [2] Period for Separator, Comma for Decimal, e.g.: 1.234,5.  See Program Settings form from the File menu.

Build 1254 - Release date: July 15, 2016

F160715-1 – Added the feature to filter individual workcenters for the Input Value Reports and calculated Standard Reports.  Added to both those respective selection forms are new controls for this purpose: Use Default Workcenter checkbox and a button titled Workcenter Defaults.  That latter accesses a form to pick which workcenters can be defaulted for reports.

Build 1253 - Release date: July 14, 2016

C160714-1 – Changed the icons for reports selection forms to be generic and language neutral in nature (no longer shows the “I” or “S” letters).

C160714-2 – Removed the “Export” button from the Input Value Report selection form as those reports cannot be exported to Excel output.

Build 1251 - Release date: May 5, 2016

C160505-1 – Added the Electricity Rate input to the See General Model Options | Other Options tab (from Model menu).  This input also appears on the Tool Group Data | Utility Cost tab.

Build 1245 - Release date: Feb 12, 2016

F160212-1 – Added Time Based Non-Recurring Engineering Cost to enable modeling NRE at a designated period.  This feature is in addition to the Tool Based NRE Cost inputs.  A drop-down field title “Period for Time Based NRE Cost” has been added to accommodate the new feature.  See General Model Options | Operational Cost tab (from Equipment menu). 

Build 1241 - Release date: Jan 7, 2016

F160102-1 – A progress window has been added and is presented for lengthy calculation processes.  Where used, this replaces the “Wait Window”, a temporary message in the upper right corner of the main Factory Commander window.  The progress window also appears in the upper right, but provides more details of what’s occurring in the calculation sequence, and allows the user to see what has occurred after the calculation sequence is completed.  A progress window is displayed during the following events:  when a new model is created, during model updates or upgrades, import or export of multiple spreadsheets, import or export of the Model Data Sets, model comparisons, when a model’s timeframe has been changed, and other lengthy calculation events.  Note that the standard Program Calculations form is still used when running model calculations, to include sensitivity calculations.

Build 1229 - Release date: Oct 28, 2015

F151028-1 – Feature added to allow the number of decimals to be defined for Material Usage Factor.  See General Model Options | Input Decimal Digits (from Model menu).

Build 1227 - Release date: Oct 27, 2015

E151023-1 – Fixed error that occurred when the Copy button was clicked via the Define Step List. 

Build 1226 - Release date: Oct 26, 2015

F151026-1 – Feature added to enable modeling unit assembly between steps in process flow.  A new field titled Assembly Unit Conversion Factor has been added as a user input to allow conversion of assembled units between any two linked steps in the process flow.  This feature enables a more accurate means of modeling capacity and production volumes for assembly-oriented manufacturing.  The conversion factor represents multiples of WIP units that become assembled together in the next step of the process flow.  See Assembly Unit Conversion on the Step Data | Process Route tab (from Process menu).

Build 1223 - Release date: Sep 30, 2015

F150930-1 – Added a field to the process step data titled “Step Grouping”.  This an alpha-numeric field which is used as means of grouping or categorizing the individual steps.  This field does not have any bearing on the program calculations.  Its main function is for inclusion in the export of several of the step-level reports for post-export data manipulation.  See Step Data | Define Steps tab (from the Process menu).

Build 1218 - Release date: Sep 1, 2015

E150901-1 – Fixed error with export of Model Data Set files and versions of Excel 2013 or prior.

Build 1217 - Release date: Aug 30, 2015

E150830-1 – Fixed error related to calculation of depreciation associated with in-place tools.

Build 1216 - Release date: Aug 27, 2015

C150827-1 – Changed how the xls/xlsx headers are created for data template and report files exported to Excel.  Headers are now created programmatically as opposed to copy and pasting stock header files.

Build 1209 - Release date: Aug 13, 2015

E151023-1 – Fixed error where the program was not able to export more than 65,000 records. 

Build 1154 - Release date: Apr 1, 2015

F150401-1 – Added a field to enable a default term for a model’s “Production Lot Name”.  This term is initially set as “Lot”.   The default term is used when a new process record is defined in a model.  See General Model Options | Default Terms (from the Model menu).

Build 1087 - Release date: Feb 1, 2015

F150201-1 – Expanded Facility Capital Expenditures Timeframe so that the inputs for facility capital expenditures are now expanded to a 10-year timeframe from 6-year.  See the Facility Capital Expenditures form from the Building menu.


Features Introduced in the Initial Production Release of Factory Commander 3.4, December 2013

Added ability to assign alternative tool groups to the process step.  You are now able to make multiple, optional assignments of tool groups for a given process step.  This feature allows capacity differences for the different assigned tool to be accommodated, thereby achieving more accurate calculations for the tool's counts, utilization levels, and costs. 

Added sets of input at the equipment category level.  Inputs for equipment depreciation, spare parts and test units (wafers) can be assigned to the equipment category level of the model.   New forms and sets of inputs have been added to accommodate this feature. See the forms under the Define Equipment Categories item of the Factory menu.

Product classifications added as a modeling level to the program.  You are now able to classify products in groupings for high-level reporting purposes.  Reports for Product Classification have been added as selection on the Standard Reports form.  See Defining Product Classifications and Define Products (for assigning a product to a classification), and the Product Classification Summary report.

Added feature to enable assignment of labor group headcount to the products. This allows modeling headcounts for a labor group by product-level assignments.  This feature is in addition to labor assigned at the Tool Group and Workcenter.  See the Labor Groups at Products form from the Labor menu.

Added a model comparison feature to the program.  The ability now exists to compare data between any two models to determine differences in their inputs and calculated values.  See Model Comparison form from the Analysis Tools menu.

Reports & graph selection forms have been redesigned.  The forms designed to select reports or graphs for output have been redesigned so that the output option buttons (Preview/Print/Export/Convert) now appear on the right side of the form as opposed to its bottom as they had in previous releases.  This change applies to the selection forms for Standard Reports, Input Value Report, Graph & Charts, and Custom Reports.  Also, the buttons for selecting the record type filter options (time periods/products/tool groups/material items) now include image icons for easier identification and better familiarity. 

Added feature to choose the character(s) separating a program's record key from its description.  See the input on the Program Settings page from the File Menu.

New 'Import' menu added to the program's main menu system to allow arrangement and collection of both the import and export functionalities general to a model's data.  This menu contains access to features that in previous releases (v3.3 and prior) were available on the Model menu.  Access to the import/export functionality for individual spreadsheets (Excel Workbooks), model data sets, and other program file types is available from this menu.  Also, the Import/Export Settings form, that was a page of the Program Defaults form in prior releases, now exists as its own form and is listed as the first item on the Import menu.

Renamed the Sensitivity menu to Analysis Tools. The menu titled Sensitivity in previous releases has been renamed to Analysis Tools.  This was done to accommodate the Model Comparison feature (see above), in addition to the Sensitivity Analysis functionalities.  The input and reporting of the standard sensitivity analysis and multi-variable sensitivity analysis functions are accessible from this menu.

Redesign of the program’s main menu structure.  The main menu has been reorganized to arrange and group inputs based on modeling function.  In particular, labor group usage is now on the Labor menu along with the inputs for the labor groups, and material item usage at the step and tool group are now on the Material menu along with the material item inputs.  The following characterizes this reorganization:                       

Labor Menu and Material Menu Moved - These two menus now appear to the right of the Process menu.

Forms for Labor Usage at Workcenter and Tool Groups Moved to Labor Menu

Forms for Material Usage at Steps and Tool Groups Moved to Material Menu

Forms for Equipment Categories and Material Categories Moved to the Factory Menu

Name for specific user-defined Test Unit displayed on Menu Item and Form – The program now displays the user-defined name for the test unit in the menu and the form's title. If a name other than 'Test Unit' is defined as the default in a model, for instance 'Test Wafer', that term is used in the title of the page and menu item of the Product menu.

Sectors re-titled to Workcenters as the Default Term.  The program's default name of the process grouping has been changed from Sector to Workcenter.  This applies to all uses of this record type in Factory Commander, including the form used to defining the records and assigning steps and tool groups to them.  As with prior releases, you can change the term "Workcenter" to any other desired term, including "Sector", via the input titled Term for Process Grouping found on the Default Terminology section of the Program Defaults form.

Separated Factory Availability and Financial Data to Individual Forms.  These two classes of inputs are now provided on separate input forms, each accessible via the Factory menu. In previous releases these forms were each page on the Factory Data form.  

Modified row coloring scheme for grids of assigned records.  The row coloring is now a combination of the two associated record types.  For instance, for materials used at steps, the rows colors are from the step data records (cyan) and the material item records (light green), one from each respectively.  This gives the grids for the various assigned record types a unique row color configuration, making them easier to visualize and identify.

Feature added to allow filtering for Product Cost Summary & Total Cost Summary reports.  Options have been added to allow the presentation of several standard reports to be customized such that several elements can be hidden from display.  These include: Ability to hide Normalized Cost column, the ability to hide Total Scrap Cost column, and the ability to hide the sub-categories rows for zero calculated costs.  This feature applies to the following reports: Product Cost Summary, Product Classification Cost Summary, and Total Cost Summary.

New form added for Model Allocation inputs.  A new input form is available that provides various allocation inputs at the model-level.  This form is accessible from the Model menu.  See Model Allocation Options form.

New page added to Model Data from for Other Options.  This page includes several model-level inputs.  Some these include the option for the Floor Space Unit, checkboxes for modeling availability calculations, and the option to Treat Equipment Sales Tax as a Capital Expense.  See Model Data | Other Options from the Model menu.

Revised the Building-to-Tool Group Cost Allocation Method.  Manufacturing Time has been added as option for this method.  Also, this input has been moved factory level from the building level, thereby allowing the feature to apply universally to all buildings defined in a model. 

Tool Group Maintenance Labor data has its own template for Import/Export. These inputs for maintenance labor assigned to tool groups now have their own template for import and export.  In previous releases, these inputs were part of the Tool Group Data import/export template.

Added Import/Export template for Tool Groups Over Time Data.  The data for periodic data associated with the tool group now has its own import/export template.  This can be access from any of the "Over Time" input forms for the tool groups, such as Availability Over Time, Capital Over Time, etc.  See import file specifications for Program Settings data.

Lot and batch size inputs moved from product level to process level.  The inputs for lot and batch sizes now appear at the process-level (formally at the product level) to allow more direct relationship with the process steps.  

Expanded AMHS Inputs so that the input for dollar amounts have been added, in addition to or in place of, the percent rates.  See Automation & Material Handling Cost from the Equipment menu.

Floor Space and Facility Capital inputs moved to their own forms.  Inputs specific to the floor space and facility capital expenditures have been separated from those for the building and are now available as their own forms.   These inputs had been tabs on the Building, Facility & Floor Space form, now re-title to Building Data, and remain accessible from the Building menu.

Revised the Additional Required Floor Space form so that it is now separate from the forms for building data and floor space records.  Also, records representing additional floor space are now user defined, and rows are only shown for positive input values of space required.  See Additional Required Floor Space form from the Building menu.

Revised the Model Data Set import and export feature.  Two different forms now exist for the import and export of the Model Data Set records.  See Model Data Set Import (or Export) form from the Import menu.

Renamed the Labor Usage Factor page to Labor Availability.  The 2nd page of the Labor Group Data form formally titled Labor Usage Factors has been renamed to Labor Availability.  This allows a more intuitive reference and achieve better consistency.

Changed how labor is modelled at tool group when based on tool utilization.  This change effects how labor assigned to tool group is modelled as a function of the rate of the utilization.  This is now achieved as an option at usage for the tool group (via the Labor Used at Tool Group form).  Two new modeling method options are available:  "People/utilized tool/shift' and 'People/utilized tool'.  As a result, the labor group level option "Calculation Method for Labor Used at Tool Group" (formally available on the Labor Availability Factors tab) has been removed in this release.  See Labor Used at Tool Group inputs on the Labor menu.

Import/Export Template Added for Program Settings.  Data for the settings and defaults general to the program is now able to be exported to and imported from a spreadsheet template.  See import file specifications for Program Settings data.

Expanded the Default Tool Group Default Throughput to be Periodic Inputs.  These inputs are now expanded to reflect a model's native periods from non-periodic entries in previous releases.  See Default Tool Group Throughput Over Time.

Direct Conversion of Report to Document Type from Selection Forms - You have the ability to send a specific report directly to PDF/Word/HTML/RTF from the report selection form without having to specify the file type by way of a dialog as was required in previous releases.  This applies to Standard Reports, Input Value Report and Custom Reports.  The feature to change this setting is now found on the Report Export page and its referred to as Report Export Conversion option.