GAGEpack® 10.0 saves time, ensures accuracy in gage management

A new release of GAGEpack from PQ Systems features a redesigned add-on module called GAGEmail that serves as an automated email gage alert system. An improved, flexible “To do” list and new reporting capabilities are among other highlights  that enhance the efficiency of gage management, saving time and ensuring accuracy.

GAGEpack is powerful gage calibration software that maintains complete histories of measurement devices, instruments, and gages. To guarantee timely calibration, the software provides a variety of tools, such as:

  • Calibration schedules and reports
  • Alerts about failed and past due calibrations
  • Gage location and status tracking
  • Gage repair records
  • Audit trail for traceability
  • A Task tab with a “To do” list
  • Gage event alert system

Never miss a critical gage event using the optional GAGEmail alert system that sends reminders via email. Set it up once and then forget it−let GAGEmail do the work to remind you of upcoming gage events, overdue events, and failed calibrations. GAGEmail puts you in control of who should receive the messages, what gage information to include in the email, how far in advance of an event the messages should be sent, and the frequency of the messages. (Watch a video about this feature.)

The “To do” list in the newest release indicates items requiring attention for a user-selected period of time. The new features of the “To do” list include the abilities to estimate due dates for gages coming due based on number of uses rather than time and to print worksheets directly from the “To do” list. The list can be filtered by action and ordered with a simple click of column headers, and can be sent via an email attachment to designated receivers. (Watch a video about this feature.)

If a Temperature Humidity USB Monitor (THUM) is connected, GAGEpack will automatically record the temperature and humidity for a new calibration or verification event, providing critical information at one’s fingertips. Acceptable temperature and humidity ranges during calibration can also be easily defined in the software.

GAGEpack 10.0, like its predecessor, is a .NET program, so it will continue to evolve and improve using the newest available technology, according to lead program developer Jeff Aughton. Current users will find the transition to the new release seamless, he adds and new users will find the software easy to implement and customize to fit their organization’s needs.

Software tip: GAGEpack printer issue

David ShattuckShortly after GAGEpack 9.0 was released last fall, we began to get calls from users who were having trouble printing labels after upgrading to the new version. Naturally, our GAGEpack development team grew concerned, and launched an investigation to track down the problem and resolve it. Our findings surprised us.

After talking with users who were experiencing these problems and doing a hefty bit of testing internally, we were eventually able to isolate the trouble to those systems that were using all three of these components: GAGEpack 9.0, Windows XP, and Brother printers. Any user running a different version of GAGEpack, a different version of Windows, or a different type of printer would have no label problems at all.

This was an extremely peculiar conclusion, because we knew that each of those three components will work correctly on its own or combined with just one of the others. If GAGEpack 9.0 works fine with Windows XP and it works fine with a Brother printer, why do we see problems when GAGEpack 9.0 tries to work with both Windows XP and a Brother printer at the same time? It was quite a mystery.  Our tech sleuths were all over it.

As it turns out, the trouble lies with the drivers that Brother has published to enable their printers to communicate with Windows XP. These drivers were last updated in March 2002. In software terms, they are ancient. This was not a problem in GAGEpack 8.5 because every version of GAGEpack released since the early 1990s had been written in Microsoft’s VB6 programming language. However, VB6 has been officially unsupported as a software development language since March 2008. GAGEpack 9.0 is written in the new VB.net, which was extremely young and not commonly used the last time the Brother Windows XP printer drivers were updated.

Windows XP is going to be around until at least April 2014, and we hope that Brother will update its antiquated drivers before then. In the meantime, if you are a GAGEpack 9.0 user struggling with this problem, we offer two solutions. The first option is to upgrade your operating system to a newer version of Windows. Windows Vista and Windows 7 both work great with the label printing. If you decide to go that route, I recommend Windows 7, for reasons far too numerous to discuss here. The second option is to replace your label printer. During our testing on this issue, we purchased a Dymo printer to replace the Brother p-touch that we’ve been using for many years. The new Dymo hasn’t given us any trouble.

Based on these findings, we’re recommending non-Brother printers to our customers who may be in the market for replacement printers.

Software tip: GAGEmail – The secret treat included with GAGEpack

David ShattuckWhen I do a product demonstration of GAGEpack and I arrive at the segment where I talk about GAGEmail, I often find myself introducing it by saying, “I wish more people knew about this.” In fact, it is not uncommon for me to come across veteran GAGEpack users who are unaware that they have a program like GAGEmail at their disposal.

GAGEmail is a tiny program designed to run in the background and continuously scan GAGEpack databases to watch for upcoming gage servicing events. When it finds an event, it will e-mail a reminder to the person responsible for that gage. This proactive approach to calibration reminders makes GAGEmail unique amongGAGEpack‘s notification methods. Normally, users must remember to remind themselves of upcoming events by checking their reports or filtered gage lists. With GAGEmail, the reminder is entirely automated.

In addition to being automated, these reminders are also quite flexible. The user can specify which types of events trigger e-mails, how far in advance of the event they should be sent, who should receive them, and what they should say.

In order to use GAGEmail, customers simply need to install it by contacting a PQ support representative.

As always, I am available to offer assistance with setting up GAGEmail. You can call me at 800-777-5060, e-mail me at support@pqsystems.com, or leave questions for me below.

Help us welcome the new addition to the GAGEpack family

Mike ClearyWe celebrated the release of GAGEpack 9.0, the newest member of the PQ software family, this week. As the youngest child, it comes from good stock—GAGEpack has been known and loved by customers since the release of the first version more than 20 years ago.

Infant that it is, it has more grown-up features than you can shake a stick at, and will serve a highly mature audience of calibration professionals with new ways of assuring accuracy in records and proof of efficiency. But I still feel like a new, proud father as I look at the screen shots with their clarity and ease of use.

I hope you’ll have a chance to hold the baby…and take it for a free ride!

Learn more about GAGEpack 9.0.

Software tip: Automatic emailing in the new GAGEpack 8.5

Scott JohnsonLast month we released GAGEpack 8.5 that includes a new software utility GAGEmail. GAGEmail is a separate application that improves the way automated emails are sent.

  • 24/7 email alerts (emails even with GAGEpack is closed)
  • IT folks can manage this as they do other applications that run as a service
  • GAGEmail can run on a separate PC, so the GAGEpack PC can be shutdown and users still get alerts
  • Automated emails will not affect the performance of GAGEpack

GAGEmail also makes email options from GAGEpack more versatile. Here are a few options that before now, were not possible:

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New gage calibration software release – GAGEpack 8.5!

Scott JohnsonWe are excited to announce the newest release of GAGEpack EZ, the most complete and affordable software for gage calibration tracking, is now available! GAGEpack EZ 8.5 now comes with two free utilities. These will make your gage management easier than ever before:

  • GAGEpack Remote is a new utility that can be installed on a laptop to take with you to the shop floor, or wherever your gages are maintained.
  • GAGEmail is a utility to help manage email alerts 24/7, such as reminders to calibrate gages or friendly warnings of overdue calibrations.

Check out the GAGEpack ‘What’s new?’ page to learn more and to download a 30-day trial!

Software tip: 9 easy steps to creating GAGEpack reports

Scott JohnsonEach week I get calls from GAGEpack users who need to create new reports. It just so happens that we have an easy way to create new reports without having to know a single line of SQL coding. Creating your own report allows you to pick all the columns and design it just the way you like. I’ll outline how to make a report in 9 easy steps.

1. Open the Reports List.
2. Click on the ‘New’ button.

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Software tip: Software pricing based on usage

Steve Daum

For 20+ years we have been selling our software based on a per-workstation license. The idea is that for each computer where the software is installed, the user must purchase one license. This has worked well and we will continue to offer this option into the future.

One of the trends we are watching is software licensing based on how much it is used. There are different usage-based pricing models but most of them tie the price to how many people use the software rather than the number of computers where it is installed. In the past, the technology for managing this type of license added complexity to the installation and deployment experience. With networks, the internet, and new license tools, the usage-based license model is becoming more appealing.

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Software tip: Creating a wild card filter in GAGEpack gage calibration software

Scott JohnsonMany people are surprised when they see GAGEpack’s Search and Replace function in action. This is a powerful feature that I think most every GAGEpack user could use. But, use this feature with caution, as ALL gages can be modified.

First, let’s suppose you name all of your gages with a 3-digit code for department. In this example, we will say your gage numbers in the plating department start out with the letters ‘PLT’. Next, we assume you are interested in using the group field to record the department the gage is assigned to.

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