OptiScout system consists of a customized software and driver suite and an optional CCD camera. For the installation no hardware intrusion is necessary. The software can recognize printed register marks and material edges independently and compensates deviations.

In case of oversized slabs or rolls, where a feed over several job segments is necessary, the segmentation in OptiScout can be done automatically or manually. Thus the OptiScout system extends the possibilities of production machines and increases their productivity.

Before the job is operated the tool head mounted camera locates the position of the register marks which were printed before on strategic positions on the material. The OptiScout correction algorithm compares the current position of the register marks with the ideal position in the original job. Using this data deviations, resulting of the print process, can be compensated.

Job data are created in a host program (e. g. AutoCAD) and imported, processed and given out in OptiScout Production. It is also compatible with Adobe Illustrator and CorelDRAW.

Key Features

Usability

User Interface      

The functionally designed user interface can be adjusted by individual profiles. The so called Sidebar includes layer management, Job Manager, Object Manager, Clipart Manager and Macro Editor.

 

Prepress / Design

Universal Placing Tool   

Use this command to enable the mode for defining any - even non-geometric - character styles. These shapes or objects can be placed with the mouse anywhere on the Workspace.

Note: This function takes any object from the clipboard (vectors, text blocks and bitmaps).

 
platzierwerkzeug_dialog.png

Job Preparation

Plug-Ins      

New plug-ins in OptiScout 8 (State 07/2020):

- AutoCAD 2017 / 2017LT - 2021 / 2021LT
- CorelDRAW X8, 2017 - 2020
- CorelDesigner X7, 2017 - 2020
- Adobe Illustrator CC 2017 - CC 2020
- Adobe InDesign CC 2017 - CC 2020

A Plug-in is a macro, which is integrated in the menu structure or toolbars of a host program, such as AutoCAD, Illustrator, InDesign, Inkscape or CorelDRAW. It works like a generic part of its host program. Plug-ins extend range of functions of the host program.

OptiScout plug-ins export data from host program's desktop to the OptiScout desktop simply by clicking on their respective toolbar icon.

 

CorelDRAW
 
AutoCAD

Pre-Settings for Import Filters   

The settings are independently configurable for the individual file formats. In particular, macros can be executed before and after the import, duplicate lines can already be removed during import, axes can be mirrored or the size factor can be changed.

 

Import Filters      

OptiScout has a wide variety of file import filters - vector and bitmap formats. That means nearly all data can be imported and given out.

Vector / CAD:

*.PDF, *.AI, *.EPS, *.WMF, *.EMF, *.DXF, *.IK, *.GTP, *.JTP, *.JOB, *.HPGL, *.CMX, *.GBR, *.ISO (Gerber), *.SVG

Bitmap / Photo:

*.PCX, *.TIF, *.BMP, *.GIF, *.JPG, *.CMP

Special Filters:

*.DMPL Summa DMPL files with OPOS markers

These filters are necessary for data exchange with other Finishing Systems:

*.CUT    I-Cut Vision (up to Version 6)
*.ZCC    Zünd Cut Center
*.ACM   Esko
*.OXF    OptiScout

Special features: When importing, special operations such as Mirroring and Insert at position can be set.

 

Barcode Import

Files can be imported using a barcode scanner, which is provided with pre-defined output profiles.

Instead of looking for a job in the file system, only the barcode is scanned. Then, the appropriate job is loaded on the work area and can be given out immediately.

  BarcodeScanner.jpg

Node Editing

The node editing tools serve the individual editing and manipulation of vector objects. This tool is particularly useful before the output, when post-editing at the contours is required.

Particularly noteworthy is the possibility of horizontal and vertical alignment of nodes at a reference node, and the positioning of nodes using X / Y values or coordinates.

 
 

Rotation Direction Indicator   

Often, it is important to know the object's direction of rotation - clockwise or counter-clockwise, because the rotation direction determines how the tool processes the contour. By means of this function, the direction of rotation will be displayed (milling); the direction of rotation can be changed using the change direction of rotation button.

 

Identical Line Removal      

This function removes double lines that lie one above the other and merges them to one curve. The required tolerance can be defined.

It is needed to prevent that a tool follows the same path twice (milling, lasering).

This function can also be activated directly via the object menu..

 

Convert into Grid Lines   

This function converts an array of adjacent rectangles in a sorted line grid without double lines.

Initial situation:

A grid of rectangles that are exactly on top of each other. This has the consequence that each two lines are superimposed. This results in the problem that every line would be processed twice. To fix this, the "Convert to gridlines" function has been implemented in OptiScout Production 8.

 
screen1-kopie.png

Final result:

Applied to the example above, the result is the following:

1. All duplicate lines have been removed, and
2. are welded into a coherent line.
3. The routing paths are optimized.
4. The cutting direction is now alternating.

Separating Cut (Cut Off Line)   

This function inserts cuts in the X axis - at a definable distance to the cutting objects -; Distance, length and variant (1 cut, 2 cuts outwards) can be set individually.

A separating cut can be inserted automatically or manually.

Assignment to Layer and Tool

When inserting a separating cut, a so-called "Cut Off Layer" is automatically appended. If the layer already exists, then the cut off line is placed into the already existing layer.

Step 1: Select cut off tool for the cut.
Step 2: Start output when output device is ready

 
trennschnitt_illustration_xinharesized.png

Weeding Lines on the Workspace   

Weeding lines serve for the better processing of big jobs. Material lengths of several meters in length or width are difficult to handle, so you can insert weeding lines when cutting the film into smaller, handier parts.

Important note: When using so-called weeding lines, the object contours are not cut when given out - they are spared.
 

Rounding

The rounding is used to round the corners of objects e. g. fonts. Whose nodes can be rounded defining an appropriate radius?

The rounding can be done inwards or outwards. It can, as well, pertain to the entire object or only to a few selected nodes.

 
verrunden.png

Welding

The welding function merges two or more vector objects together in a combination. Depending on the number and shape of the selected objects, you can choose from the following options: manual, automatic, trimming (cuts through objects with straight lines or curves), Open trimming, filling, by color, full surface, or screen printing.

 



Close Open Objects

While importing all open contours are closed, that lie in a pre-defined distance to each other. This option is necessary, if the objects have to be filled with a fill color. Only closed vector objects may be equipped with a filling.

 

Milling and Engraving Functions

Hatching
Here, the to clear out area is provided with a hatch. The total area is removed along the paths. The angle can be defined.

Hatching with pocket connection
Here, the to clear out area is provided with a hatch, where the tool is not being raised, as long as the hatch paths can remain connected to each other.

Multi Inline
When this option is selected, the area to clear out is provided with concentric Inlines. Along this Inlines the area is removed from the outside to the inside - with island formation.

For all functions: The milling process can be continuously at multiple depths. All milling and engraving paths are automatically created and displayed - the tool diameter is taken into account.
 
Fraesfunktionen.png
Hatching with pocket connection, Hatching, Multi Inline (concentric)

Milling Tool Radius Correction - Interactive and Dynamic      

Interactive

Any change in tool diameter and rotation is performed immediately and shown on the working area. The milling objects are displayed with transparent fill and full-colored radius correction.

Dynamic

At every scaling of the milling objects a recalculation is performed.

Optimal Workflow

If the data are prepared in a way, so that the color matches that of the corresponding milling layer, then immediately after the data import an output-capable job is created automatically. Tool, tool diameter and material are predefined in the Quick Layer.

Automatic Bridges

Bridges prevent falling out of milled parts. Parameters such as length, distance and number can be specified individually. With manual bridges, the position can also be changed.

 
Fraeserradiuskorrektur
Predefined Material/Tool Combination

Fraeserradiuskorrektur-Beispiel
Object views radius correction

automatische-stege_xinharesized.png
Automatic Bridges

Tool Path (Lead In / Lead Out)

When Milling or laser cutting, it often happens that immersion traces are visible at the starting point of an object. The task of "Prevention of immersion traces" is done by so-called start tool paths. So that the quality of the objects from the point of immersion is not compromised the starting point with the start tool path can be placed outside, inside, tangentially or on a certain place of the object.

Start animation

 
Anfahrfahnen.png

Dynamic Lead-In / Lead-out - Milling   

Lead-in and lead-out flags are indispensable for high-quality results when milling. In OptiScout, you can use manually or dynamically set flags. The dynamic flags change with each change to the object, eg when moving individually object nodes - in particular the object start point (see figure).

This function can be assigned to a layer in conjunction with a suitable device driver. The flags are then assigned dynamically to all objects located in this layer and are adapted to changes to the object.

 
Anfahrfahnen_xinharesized.png
Dynamic replacement of the flag position

Tool Correction

The tool correction - also known as path adjustment - prevents that the output contour gets greater or less than foreseen in the original because of the diameter of the used tool. A corresponding correction value can be specified for a given tool diameter.

The correction can be an Inline or an Outline; the orientation can be specified clockwise or counterclockwise.

 

Cleaning Path - Milling   

The cleaning path is an important function in high-quality milling. When the individual milling depths are executed, ridges or clearly visible traces are formed at the milling object.

In order to optimize this, a so-called cleaning run is carried out, which trims and smoothes at the end of the process.

This function can be assigned in OptiScout to a layer in conjunction with the device driver. The cleaning run is then carried out automatically for all objects located in this layer.

Start animation

  Anfahrfahnen.png
 

View and Edit Sequence of Objects   

With this function, you can display the order of the objects first, and then interactively change them by clicking the object contours one after the other, in the desired order.

Note: This manual form of sorting is particularly useful when milling.
 

Reorder Objects (Sorting Manually)

This function serves the optimization of the cutting paths. For output time it is critical in which order objects are handled. OptiScout has the possibility to determine start (S) and end (E) of a vector and order of processing.

 

Job Property - Keep Sorting   

With this option, pre-sorted jobs are not sorted again before output. This can prevent the sorting sequence from being changed during the import of external data.

 

Simulation of Traverse Path   

Traverse path can be simulated for each layer before output. Simulation speed can be adjusted continuously.

Aim is to shorten the traverse path. A base sorting after selection of main direction is done by OptiScout itself. Improvements can be done at any time and validated with a new simulation.

 

Simulation with Start Point Optimization   

Additionally to the other traverse path optimizations the start point of the objects can be replaced automatically in order to minimize the traverse paths. The figure on the right hand side shows the start points of the contour objects before and after the optimization - represented through an arrow. The direction of the arrow shows the orientation - clockwise or counter-clockwise.

 
ueberschnitt_ja.jpg   ueberschnitt_nein.jpg
Before optimization
After optimization

Workflow Manager   

The Workflow Manager is embedded in the user interface of OptiScout. It is used to summarize complex processes and to arrange them in a way that they can be done by not specially trained users. The individual processes can be flexibly adapted to different requirements. 

 

Quick Layer / Device Switch   

The quick-layer control element has been extended by a device switch, which allows a fast machine change. All connected devices can be directly selected from a list.

 

Quick Layer / Tool Assignment   

A Quick Layer is a layer with special function for the usage in the integrated Workflow Manager. With the Quick Layers colors, tools and materials can be assigned to OptiScout objects. All settings are visibly for the user.

 

Macro Player   

The figure on the right side shows a macro with text info, options, parameters, and buttons. Clicking the Execute button runs the macro. The macro player provides that the macro can be controlled - start - pause - step (back and forth) - cancel.

 

Macro Editor   

The macro editor is a tool which allows the creation and modification of OptiScout macros. The administrator can therefore combine any program functions and put them together to represent an individual workflow.

 

File Manager   

An integrated file manager is responsible for file management. A preview shows the file content using a thumbnail. The list view offers overview for large file sets.

Any directory with subdirectories can be searched automatically. Individual search paths can be defined for direct access. A search box makes it easier searching by file name.

All important functions are accessible with a few clicks. This ensures a fast and comfortable operation.

 
File Manager - here with list view

Clipart Manager   

The Clipart Manager permits fast access to frequently required graphic vector objects such as logos, cliparts, pictograms, …

The organization takes place via individual groups. Access to contents of the respective group is done by double clicks or "Drag & Drop".

Each graphic a short info text can be added.

 

Object Manager   

The task of the Object Manager is to provide access to any object that is on the desktop with the help of a clear tree structure. This is important when the access is challenging because of the complexity of the design or overlapping objects and graphics. In addition to single objects, the structure of groups and combinations is also depicted.

Functions

- Clear tree structure
- Object preview with zoom function
- Navigation on the desktop and the working sheet
- Cross access on the layer is possible
- Definition of object names, -types and -attributes
- Colored Thumbnails (minimized object preview)

 

Object Properties

Independent from its properties, like contour and fill, each vector object can have multiple restrictions. So output can be restricted for the device which is used (printer, plotter, router, engraver, laser).

Furthermore all vector objects can have specific attributes, which are important for job processing. 

 

Setup / Print

RIP and Workflow Compatibility   

RIP and Workflow Compatibility means that is OptiScout can be seamlessly fit into existing workflows. OptiScout offers a very flexible data import and is supported by the following RIP manufacturers.

  • Agfa Asanti
  • Aurelon PrintFactory
  • Cadlink RIPs
  • Caldera RIPs
  • ColorGATE RIP
  • EFI RIPs
  • ErgoSoft PosterPrint / TexPrint 
  • IGEPA MasterRip
  • ONYX RIPs
  • Pjannto RIP
  • PosterJet
  • Prepare-it
  • SAi
  • Wasatch RIPs

Packaging Software Compatibility

  • Arden
  • ERPA
  • EngView
  RIP.jpg

Mark Detection

Camera Window

The recognition process, localization of the video marks and process itself can be tracked in the preview window. A real time camera image informs the user about the state of job production at any time. Using the optional extra radio remote control the camera image can be used for orientation and tracking of the tool head.

Figure shows cross hair cursor of the camera located near the printed video marks and job objects. The start button initializes and starts the recognition process.

 

OptiScout camera image and job overview

Camera Module

The sophisticated CCD camera can be mounted on many different tool heads. The image view can be varied by changing the lens. The offset between camera and tool axis is calibrated using software preferences. The attainable accuracy lies within the range of few tenth millimeters (<= 0.2 mm or 0,008 in).

The used camera system is very tolerant with low-contrast or reflecting materials. Normal room illumination is sufficient.

OptiScout is compatible with already existing cameras on Zünd and Wild flatbed plotters.

 

OptiScout camera with case mounted on multi-tool head of a Zünd flatbed cutter

Compensation of Print Inaccuracies

All compensations, which occur in everyday practice are with OptiScout manageable - no matter whether film, textiles, cardboard, .... The mark recognition provides the data for a correction of the arisen inaccuracies. Number and position of the video marks determines the attainable accuracy of compensation.

To achieve the desired accuracy the dynamic mark placement ensures that a sufficient number of video marks in the right places is produced.

 

Register / Video Marks   

Video marks for contour cutting are comparable with the so called jog marks in the printing process. The OptiScout system uses a CCD camera with high quality lens system. The camera is mounted near or on the tool head.

Figure shows how video marks are placed in OptiScout.

Shape and color of video marks can be different. Color can be user-defined. This is important especially for unicolored screen prints, so that no additional print pass for the marks is necessary.

For each object you can define any number of video marks. OptiScout calculates the optimal combination of marks by itself before output. This increases accuracy.

 
 
 

Video marks in several shapes and colors on different backgrounds

Compensation Techniques

Accurate Fit - "Adequate" -

Here, the appearance is crucial - 100% accuracy in size and cut is not required.

Object Fit - Accuracy related to the object

The required accuracy is reached providing the cutting objects with the attribute "Fixed size at output".

Job Fit - Accuracy related to the whole job

This technique is required when the accuracy must be given over several segments - regardless of material deviations. It defines the position of the individual contours to each other.

The accuracy is achieved here by providing the cutting objects with the attribute "Fixed size at output" and grouping the contours with the associated video marks.

Note: All techniques can be combined with each other!
 
Kompensationstechniken_xinharesized.png
Adequate and object precisely
Kompensationstechniken.png
Job precisely

Corner / Edge Recognition   

An edge recognition is useful if a material is used which doesn't allow visible register marks, e.g. plexiglass.

Before mark detection register marks must be placed virtually on corners or edges of the print job or the material.

Classical application:
Recognition of the position of a cardboard using its edges.

 
Camera Window: Material corner and edge recognition

Finishing

Output Dialog   

The figure on the right shows which output device, which mode, which tool / material, and which settings - during the output - are used.

New is the direct access to the Sorting settings.

Note: For a simplified machine operation this dialog can be skipped with the help of presets!
 

Control of Device Parameters

OptiScout allows the control of the device parameters, which are defined in the device driver. In a clear table all relevant parameters are listed and can be controlled by the user.

Depending on the connected devices, the entries change, and provide a software-sided access to the connected device. The individual parameters can be stored in material and device profiles.

 

Output / Job Modes

OptiScout Production 8 provides the following output modes:

The parts to be given out can be processed as follows:

- Manually (Placing of objects by hand
  
   - Tandem - on both sides / Lay on / Read out

or- with Feeder

   - Single sheet  / Fill table

or - on Roll / or - as Multi copies

 
job-modus_xinharesized.jpg

Production Modes without Tiling

OptiScout can output any number of copies of each object. As well as each job can be repeated any number of times (number of outputs).
The distance of copies is thereby also selectable, such as the possibility of stacking, in which the output objects are cut first only in X-direction (one above the other) and then in the Y-direction.

 

Production Modes with Tiling   

If not all copies and jobs fit on the device table, tiling or segmentation is necessary.

The following segmentations are supported with OptiScout:

- Material, Segment-, Feed- Optimization

In addition, the overlap of the segments in X/Y-direction can be defined. The size of the overlap is dependent on material and assemblage.

 
Sektionierung.png

Minimize Cut Through (Smartfeed)   

Goal of this optimization is that the contours of the objects, as far as possible, are not separated. To do this, the segmentation lines - and thus the device feed - are moved dynamically so that no segmentation occurs.
Exception: The object to cut is greater than the existing device table.

The figure on the right illustrates the process. The upper illustration shows the original job with the nested objects. The grey-colored objects are first cut, then the unfilled objects with blue outline.

The bottom figure illustrates the machine feed (green arrows). The green-shaded object is omitted when first cutting and cut after the feed. Thus, the objective - minimal cut through - is reached.

Start animation

 

Smartfeed with Video Marks   

This feature extends the classic Smartfeed. It takes into account the segment boundaries calculated using printed video marks as well as the segment boundaries based on object sizes that exceed the table length. Smartfeed ensures that - except in exceptional cases - no cutting object is separated.

The red-bordered object will not be considered in Phase 1 (First Cut) because it exceeds the maximum table length.

 
beide_segmente_ft1_xinharesized.png

The segmentation is based on table, segment and object lengths, as well as the printed video marks, with the result that objects which are no longer than the maximum table length and can not be completely cut in the current segment, will never be split.

It is cut after the feed in phase 2. The same applies to the two uncut objects above it.

Layer Handling (Driver)

On output, it can be set how the Plot Manager manages the layers in conjunction with the device driver. So, for example, only layer can be considered where a tool was assigned with.

Or the output is made dependent on the layer color, i. e. only objects that lie in a specific color layer are given out.
 

Object Sorting (Driver)

This sorting is performed automatically when the corresponding option is enabled.

Special algorithms sort the output objects newly and set a favorable output sequence that has a minimum of tool head movement to the objective.

 

Overcut Elongation   

What is the Benefit of this Feature?

A so-called overcut elongates the cutting contours.

As a result, it facilitates the weeding of vinyl. For thicker or flexible materials, a burr at the start point is avoided.

 
ueberschnitt_xinharesized.png
Left without Overcut Elongation - Right with

Overcut Compensation for Tangential Tools (Driver)

When processing thick material there is an overcut at the corners. The length of these overcuts depends on the used type of knife and the thickness of the material to be processed. OptiScout offers tools to rectify this error. The tools are contained in the drivers of OptiScout.

Start animation

   
ueberschnitt_ja.jpg
 
ueberschnitt_nein.jpg
Material here cardboard

Segment Helper (Driver Option for the Textile Cutting)   

Problem:

Segmentation generates - by the deformation of the fabric - an offset of the cutting contours when cutting woven fabric. While feeding a run is generated, when not all fibers are cut through.

Solution:

The fit accuracy und the reliable cutting through can be however achieved by using so called segment helper. Possible helpers are hook, circle or T-Shape. The former are used with lasers, the latter with round knife tools.

Start animation

   
Segment-Helper1.png Segment-Helper2.png Segment-Helper3.png
Hook
Circle
T-Shape

Plot Manager

Figure on the right shows which and how many devices are driven by OptiScout. Preview shows which data was given out. A Job Queue for each device let user manage Job order and priority.

 

Post Processor

OptiScout post processor converts job data into a new format. Each machine can have then their special post processor, which converts the output data into a format readable for it. All HPGL and G code devices can be controlled.

 

Error Handling

Via push SMS status and error messages of the production system can be transferred to a mobile phone.

Note: For sending email and SMS messages an email client and net access (LAN or internet) are required.
  optiscout_sms2-e.gif
Parameters for automatic status or error messaging

Error message in clear text

Export Filter

OptiScout has a wide variety of file export filters - vector and bitmap formats. That means nearly all data can be exported.

Vector / CAD:

*.EPS(OPI), *.EMF, *.DXF, *.PDF, *.HPGL, *.CMX

Bitmap / Photo:

*.PCX, *.TIF, *.BMP, *.JPG

 

Production Data Acquisition (PDA)

Logging of PDA Data   

Important note: Only if Module Material Database is available and licensed / activated.

Logging is the automatic creation of a log from the output of a finishing process. The PDA data can now be written independently of one another in a CSV file or in the material database.

For each cutting job data such as start time, end time, status, machine name, material name, cutting length, movements, production time and material consumption are recorded.

 
einstellungen_dialog_BDE_kopie.png

Reporting and Evaluation   

For the evaluation of the production data our Production Information System (PIS) is responsible.

In connection with the Material Database the following technical operating data is provided in a database: runtimes, interruptions, jobs, devices, worker, material, material thickness, cutting path length, empty runs, cutting time, material consumption.

A connection to Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) is possible.

 
uebersicht-proddata-teil1.png

Maintenance

Remote Maintenance / Support

Integrated in OptiScout is the possibility to support and maintain the system via internet. The supporter is given a secure access on the user's computer system.

In addition to the online support you can of course ask questions regarding the software by phone or e-mail.

 

Interface for News and Support Messages   

A message interface in OptiScout ensures that the user is informed about new software versions and live updates. This function can be disabled if required.

 

 

Conclusion

OptiScout is the ideal extension for Print & Cut workflows. The output is done on multifunctional flatbed plotters with customized tool heads, conventional HPGL and G-Code routers and Zünd or Wild flatbed plotters with/without milling option.

One market segment in which it has an outstanding relevance is POP industry, who wants to mill outline-exactly printed material for billboards. Besides this market segment OptiScout is a precise tool for industrial usage wherever the position of work pieces has to be recognized, corrected or compensated.

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