Welcome to the Synrad Laser Marking FAQ!

In a continuing effort to provide the best in customer support and technical assistance, we’ve created this information to help our valued customers (YOU) with any issues that might come up relating to the use of our products. This document will be continuously revised, updated, and improved. Please visit often and provide feedback on information that you think belongs here.

Click on any of the underlined questions below to hyperlink to the section of the document that provides the answers that you are looking for. If you like, you can simply scroll down through the document to find topics of interest, or use the Find feature on your computer (CTRL-F) to search on individual words or sentences. In some cases, you will be referred to other technical publications elsewhere on the Synrad website, just click on the words ‘Click here’ and you should have the document displayed on your screen. Note that most of our publications are in Adobe Acrobat format, so you will need to have Acrobat Reader installed to view them. If you don’t have Acrobat Reader installed on your computer, you can download the software at no cost from Adobe’s site at http://www.adobe.com/prodindex/acrobat/readstep.html.

If you can’t find the information that you want, email support@synrad.com and let us know what you need. We will be glad to help you!

 

 

Product Upgrades

Software

How do I save my custom date codes before upgrading WinMark Pro?

How do I upgrade my WinMark Pro software?

After upgrading my WinMark Pro software, my old files are marking the wrong size. What happened?


Firmware

How do I upgrade the firmware in my Marking Head?

 

FH Flyer/Fenix Flyer and WinMark v5/v6
New Features

What is a Network File Share and how do I use it?

What is Radial Marking and how do I use it?

What is Banner Marking and how do I use it?

What is Modbus and how do I use it?

What is the Master Control File and how do I use it?

 

General

Why is my Flyer head hissing at me?

Should I use the Ethernet or USB port to run my Flyer head?

Why does WinMark open in demo mode?

How do I test the status of the Flyer I/O?

What do I need to do to replace my older marking head with a Flyer?

How do I enable the Fast Acting Safety Interlock on the Flyer or Fenix Flyer?

 

ActiveX

What is different about the ActiveX control in WinMark v5 and v6?

 

Marking in Stand Alone Mode

What can and cannot be done in Stand Alone mode?

What is the difference between SA mode and Tethered mode?

What is the Flyer Filestore?

How do I configure the Flyer to mark in SA mode?

Why can’t I see the head properties or the filestore contents when I open WinMark?

 

General Troubleshooting

My marker doesn’t seem to work at all. What should I do?

Why isn’t my laser power following the values set in my WinMark Pro files?

Why don’t I get any laser power unless I press the Test Mark button first?

Why are some of my parts partially marked or completely unmarked?

How do I measure my laser’s output power?

At low power levels, my marks look great. At high power, the marks are trashed. What’s going on?

Why do I have to resize my imported graphic images in WinMark Pro to make them mark properly?

 

WinMark Pro Automation

General

What is an Auto Text Type and how do I use it?

What is the Event Builder and how do I use it?

How can I setup my mark file to select one or more of multiple objects to mark?

Hardware I/O

How do I setup my Marking Head to mark automatically with a PLC?

Why does my automation only mark once?

Why is my marking head not marking the first few characters of the serial data I send?

My Fenix (or FH head) has four inputs and four outputs, but WinMark Pro shows eight of each. What’s up with that?

RS232 Serial I/O

How does the Serial port text input routine work?

How do I use the serial port to input data into my WinMark Pro file?

How can I get Serial port input data to format as multiple lines of text in one text object?

Will my serial port input data get lost if it is received by the WinMark Pro PC before the next part is ready?

Is there a way to force handshaking between the serial port data generator and WinMark Pro?

Serialization

Why doesn’t my serial number value increment when I mark?

 

Tracking Operation (Marking “On-The-Fly”)

How do I determine the line speed I’ll be able to support with my Tracking marking head?

Why does my Tracker marking head make smaller marks when the line slows down?

Why does my Tracker marking head mark diagonally?

Why doesn’t my Tracker marking head give me the line speed I need?

 

ActiveX

What is ActiveX, and how do I use it?

Using ActiveX, how do I change my font from Stroke to True Type?

How do I use the ActiveX AutoTestMark method?

How do I load multiple files and switch from one to another in ActiveX?

 

Other Marking Questions

Why don’t I see the object properties in WinMark Pro?

 

Back to top

 

Definition of Terms

The following terms are used throughout this FAQ:

Mark Loop         The Mark Loop is the main body of the WinMark Pro’s automation scheme between the On Before Mark Session and the On After Mark Session Event Builders. (Viewing the Automation Flowchart illustrates the various steps in the automation scheme. The Automation Flowchart may be viewed in WinMark Pro by selecting the Help menu, then the Automation Flowchart.) Every cycle through the Mark Loop causes the laser to fire once. The number of times that WinMark Pro cycles through the Mark Loop in one Mark Session in dictated by the drawing’s Mark Count property. By default, WinMark Pro completes one Mark Loop each mark session, but can be configured to cycle a finite number of loops, or an infinite number of times (Mark Count = 0).

Mark Session    The Mark Session begins by pressing the F1 key or the Mark button on the toolbar in WinMark Pro or the WinMark Pro Launcher, and ends when Mark Count is satisfied or the Escape (ESC) key is pressed. Using the ActiveX MarkDrawing method, the Mark Session begins when the method is called and ends when control is returned to the calling procedure.

 

Why doesn’t my marking head work?

The system that comprises the marking head, laser and software is fairly complex, so it is vital to take a detailed, step by step approach to troubleshooting the problem. Click on the model of marking head you are using and follow the troubleshooting steps for that model:

 

FH Index

FH Tracker

FH Smart

FH Flyer

Fenix

Fenix II

Fenix Tracker

DGM

Fenix Flyer

 

Fenix, Fenix Tracker, Fenix II, DGM

1.       Do you have the correct Status indication on the marker?

The Ready LED should be green and the Lase LED dim red. If your marker has a two digit display on the side panel, the display should count down from 5 to 0 after the keyswitch is cycled.

a.       If the status is OK, move on to step 2.

b.       If not, check the power: you need to provide 85 – 240VAC to the marker (no switches need be set to configure the power range). Check the fuses – there are two fuses located inside the power entry module on the marker’s rear end cap. The power entry module cover opens to reveal the read fuse holder. If the power is good and the fuses are good, you should hear the cooling fans running when you set the unit’s power switch on.

c.       Check to make sure the Remote Interlock and Remote Keyswitch circuits are closed and that you’ve cycled the keyswitch after applying power to the unit.

If you get to this point and cannot get the correct status indication, drop down to step 6.

 

2.       Do you get a mark using the Test Mark button on the marker?

a.       If you do, move on to step 3.

b.       If not, check the following:

                                                               i.      Is the focusing lens attached, uncovered and clean? (No offense intended, but some customers have called in for help when they didn’t have the lens cover pulled off.)

                                                             ii.      Is the part at the correct focal length for the lens being used? Depending on the lens, the Depth of Focus can be as little as ½ a millimeter. You can check the marker’s Final Test report for the actual measured focal length of the lens. If you can’t find the FT report, write down the serial number of the lens and give us a call at 425-349-3500 and we’ll look up the measured focal length from our database.

                                                            iii.      Are you trying to fire the Test Mark on a difficult material? If so, try using paper or cardboard. It could be that the Test Mark’s 50% PWM is too low, or the 15ips mark velocity is too high, for your material. (Keep in mind that marking paper or cardboard with a laser WILL generate smoke and can cause the material to ignite.)

                                                            iv.      Is the laser’s Lase LED flashing during the test mark? If not, double check the FLCC card to verify that the FASI function is turned off:

1.       For an ISA card, switch #6 should be off.

2.       For a PCI card, switch #5 should be off.

            If the FASI switch was turned on, turn if off and try the test mark again.

                                                              v.      Try opening the DigScope utility, using the Laser Duty Cycle slider to set the duty cycle to 100%,  and pressing the Toggle Lase button to briefly fire the laser. Try the Test Mark again. If the test mark suddenly works, AND you have an ISA FLCC, follow the steps listed here.

 

If you get to this point and cannot get the marker to fire a test mark, the problem might be that the Test Mark button is not working correctly or the test mark file is corrupted. Continue on to step 3 to see if the marker is still capable of firing a mark.

 

3.       Are you able to communicate with the marker through Winmark?

Open the WinMark software, go to the Help menu, select About WinMark and click on the Head Info button. The Head Info window should show the model as a Fenix or DGM marker and correctly list the head and FLCC firmware.

a.       If you get the correct unit, FLCC and firmware info, move on to step 4.

b.       If not, check the following:

                                                               i.      If the marking head type is not listed correctly:

1.       Double check the fiber optic cable for damage.

2.       Double check for good connections at both ends of the cable and verify that the light coming out of cable is being mated to the dark side of the marker or FLCC connection.

3.       Try moving the FLCC to a different slot in the PC.

                                                             ii.      If the FLCC is not correctly identified:

1.       For a PCI card – double check the card selection found in the WinMark Tools/General Settings/D/A Card (or I/O Card Selection) property. If this does not match the card you are using, or if it says ‘No PCI Card Installed’, turn off the computer, physically move the card to a different slot, and reboot the PC.

2.       For an ISA card – double check that the dip switch positions 1 – 4 on the card match the center digit of the Hexadecimal address of the card shown in WinMark’s Tools/General Settings/D/A Card Address property. Note that this property lists the Decimal value of the card address – look here for a lookup table of Decimal vs. Hex address values.

                                                            iii.      Are you using the correct WinMark version and FLCC card type for the operating system on your PC?

1.       For Windows XP or 2000, you must use WinMark version 4 with a PCI card.

2.       For Windows NT, you must use WinMark versions 3 or 4 with a PCI card.

3.       For Windows 98, you must use WinMark versions 1, 2, or 4. To use v4, you must have a PCI card. To use version 1, you must have an ISA card. To use version 2, you can use either an ISA or a PCI card.

4.       For Windows 95, you must use WinMark versions 1 or 2. To use version 1, you must have an ISA card. To use version 2, you can use either an ISA or a PCI card.

You can download WinMark versions 2 or 4 from our website at www.WinMark.com. Be sure to NOT download a WinMark version that is greater than 4, as the newer software is not meant to be used with the older fiber optic markers.

 

If you get to this point and cannot get the marker to properly communicate with Winmark, drop down to step 6.

 

4.       Try creating a very simple mark in WinMark and press F1 to fire the laser.

a.       If the unit marks, move on to step 5.

b.       If not:

                                                               i.      Are there any errors shown in the Mark Log that is on the right side of the marking window? If so, write them down and drop down to step 6.

                                                             ii.      Do you see the Lase LED flashing when you press the F1 key to mark? If not, check the FASI setting on the FLCC as described in step 2.b.iv.

                                                            iii.      If you get to this point and cannot get the marker to mark through Winmark, drop down to step 6.

 

5.       Can you mark with one of your mark files?

a.       If so, you must have found your problem. If you were using the FASI feature and not able to mark, check the wiring and voltage to IN3 on the head. IN3 must be active for the head to enable the laser when marking with FASI enabled.

b.       If not, record the messages shown in the mark log to the right of screen in the WinMark marking window and proceed to step 6.

 

6.       If you get to this point and still haven’t found the problem,

a.       Record the model and serial number of the marker that you are using.

b.       Record the version and build information from your WinMark software (from the Help menu, select About WinMark).

c.       Take note of the steps in this troubleshooting guide that you’ve completed and where you got stuck.

d.       Contact us: either send an email with all of the information you’ve recorded to support@winmark.com or give us a call at 425 349 3500, between the hours of 8AM and 5PM Pacific time. We’ll figure it out.

 

Back to top

 

FH Index, FH Tracker

1.       Do you have the correct Status indication on the marker?

The Status and Power LEDs should be green.

a.       If the status is OK, move on to step 2.

b.       If not:

                                                         i.      Check the power: you need to provide 30 +/- 2VDC to the head.

                                                       ii.      Check the fuse – if it is open, the Power and Status LEDs will both be dark.

                                                      iii.      If the Power LED is green but the Status LED is red, a fatal error has occurred in the head. Note the condition of the LEDs and drop down to step 6.

If you get to this point and cannot get the correct marking head status indication, drop down to step 7.

 

2.       Do you have the correct Status indication on the laser?

Our lasers use such a large variety of status indication and troubleshooting methods that it doesn’t make sense to put them all in this guide. Please refer to your laser’s operation manual for the correct status indication and troubleshooting methods. If you can’t find a copy of the manual, you can download one from our site at http://www.synrad.com/Manuals/manuals_laser.htm.

 

If you get to this point and cannot get the correct laser status indication, drop down to step 7.

 

3.       Do you get a mark using the Test Mark button on the marker?

a.       If you do, move on to step 4.

b.       If not, check the following:

                                                               i.      Is the focusing lens attached, uncovered and clean? (No offense intended, but some customers have called in for help when they didn’t have the lens cover pulled off.)

                                                             ii.      Is the part at the correct focal length for the lens being used? Depending on the lens, the Depth of Focus can be as little as ½ a millimeter. You can check the marker’s Final Test report for the actual measured focal length of the lens. If you can’t find the FT report, write down the serial number of the lens and give us a call at 425-349-3500 and we’ll look up the measured focal length from our database.

                                                            iii.      Are you trying to fire the Test Mark on a difficult material? If so, try using paper or cardboard. It could be that the Test Mark’s 50% PWM is too low, or the 15ips mark velocity is too high, for your material. (Keep in mind that marking paper or cardboard with a laser WILL generate smoke and can cause the material to ignite.)

                                                            iv.      Is the laser’s Lase LED flashing during the test mark? If not, double check the FLCC card to verify that the FASI function is turned off:

1.       For an ISA card, switch #6 should be off.

2.       For a PCI card, switch #5 should be off.

If the FASI switch was turned on, turn if off and try the test mark again.

                                                              v.      Try opening the DigScope utility, using the Laser Duty Cycle slider to set the duty cycle to 100%,  and pressing the Toggle Lase button to briefly fire the laser. Try the Test Mark again. If the test mark suddenly works, AND you have an ISA FLCC, follow the steps listed here.

If you get to this point and cannot get the marker to fire a test mark, the problem might be that the Test Mark button is not working correctly or the test mark file is corrupted. Continue on to step 4 to see if the marker is still capable of firing a mark.

 

4.       Are you able to communicate with the marker through Winmark?

Open the WinMark software, go to the Help menu, select About WinMark and click on the Head Info button. The Head Info window should show the model as an FH Index or FH Tracker head and correctly list the head and FLCC firmware.

a.       If you get the correct unit, FLCC and firmware info, move on to step 5.

b.       If not, check the following:

                                                               i.      If the marking head type is not listed correctly:

1.       Double check the fiber optic cable for damage.

2.       Double check for good connections at both ends of the cable and verify that the light coming out of cable is being mated to the dark side of the marker or FLCC connection.

3.       Try moving the FLCC to a different slot in the PC.

                                                             ii.      If the FLCC is not correctly identified:

1.       For a PCI card – double check the card selection found in the WinMark Tools/General Settings/D/A Card (or I/O Card Selection) property. If this does not match the card you are using, or if it says ‘No PCI Card Installed’, turn off the computer, physically move the card to a different slot, and reboot the PC.

2.       For an ISA card – double check that the dip switch positions 1 – 4 on the card match the center digit of the Hexadecimal address of the card shown in WinMark’s Tools/General Settings/D/A Card Address property. Note that this property lists the Decimal value of the card address – go here for a lookup table of Decimal vs. Hex address values.

 

                                                            iii.      Are you using the correct WinMark version and FLCC card type for the operating system on your PC?

1.       For Windows XP or 2000, you must use WinMark version 4 with a PCI card.

2.       For Windows NT, you must use WinMark versions 3 or 4 with a PCI card.

3.       For Windows 98, you must use WinMark versions 1, 2, or 4. To use v4, you must have a PCI card. To use version 1, you must have an ISA card. To use version 2, you can use either an ISA or a PCI card.

4.       For Windows 95, you must use WinMark versions 1 or 2. To use version 1, you must have an ISA card. To use version 2, you can use either an ISA or a PCI card.

You can download WinMark versions 2 or 4 from our website at www.WinMark.com. Be sure to NOT download a WinMark version that is greater than 4, as the newer software is not meant to be used with the older fiber optic markers.

 

            If you get to this point and cannot get the marker to properly communicate with Winmark, drop down to step 7.

 

5.       Try creating a very simple mark in WinMark and press F1 to fire the laser.

a.       If the unit marks, move on to step 6.

b.       If not:

                                                               i.      Are there any errors shown in the Mark Log that is on the right side of the marking window? If so, write them down and drop down to step 7.

                                                             ii.      Do you see the Lase LED flashing when you press the F1 key to mark? If not, check the FASI setting on the FLCC as described in step 2.b.iv.

If you get to this point and cannot get the marker to mark through Winmark, drop down to step 7.

 

6.       Can you mark with one of your mark files?

a.       If so, you must have found your problem. If you were using the FASI feature and not able to mark, check the wiring and voltage to IN3 on the head. IN3 must be active for the head to enable the laser when marking with FASI enabled.

b.       If not, record the messages shown in the mark log to the right of screen in the WinMark marking window and proceed to step 7.

 

7.       If you get to this point and still haven’t found the problem,

a.       Record the model and serial number of the marker that you are using.

b.       Record the version and build information from your WinMark software (from the Help menu, select About WinMark).

c.       Take note of the steps in this troubleshooting guide that you’ve completed and where you got stuck.

d.       Contact us: either send an email with all of the information you’ve recorded to support@winmark.com or give us a call at 425 349 3500, between the hours of 8AM and 5PM Pacific time. We’ll figure it out.

 

Back to top

 

FH Flyer

1.       Do you have the correct Status indication on the marker?

The Flyer Power LED should turn green as soon as power is applied to the head, the Status LED blinks green about twice a second while the head is booting up, going to solid green once the head is ready.  

a.       If the status is OK, move on to step 2.

b.       If not:

i. Check the power: you need to provide 30 +/- 2VDC to the head.

ii. If the Power and Status LEDs are both dark, an internal power fuse has likely opened up. This most often happens if the head's power cable is connected or disconnected while the 30VDC supply is up and running. Note this situation and drop down to step 8.

iii. If the Status LED is slowly blinking green but does not boot up after 30 seconds, the Operating System has likely been corrupted. This can be resolved in the field, so note the condition of the LEDs and drop down to step 8. We'll give you the procedure and required files to reprogram the head.

iv. If the Status LED is solid red, a fatal error has occurred in the head. Note the condition of the LEDs and drop down to step 8.

v. If the Status LED is rapidly blinking green, the head is likely setup to mark in Stand Alone mode and is trying to mark. Drop down to step 3.

vi. If the Status LED is rapidly blinking red, the head is likely trying to mark with FASI enabled, but IN3 is not active. Drop down to step 6.

NOTE that the FH Smart head cannot use mark files created in WinMark versions of 5 or higher. You MUST use WinMark versions 1 – 4 to create files for your FH Smart head.

2.       Do you have the correct Status indication on the laser?

Our lasers use such a large variety of status indication and troubleshooting methods that it doesn’t make sense to put them all in this guide. Please refer to your laser’s operation manual for the correct status indication and troubleshooting methods. If you can’t find a copy of the manual, you can download one from our site at http://www.synrad.com/Manuals/manuals_laser.htm.

 

If you get to this point and cannot get the correct laser status indication, drop down to step 8.

 

3.       Is the head marking in Stand Alone mode?

If the Status LED is blinking rapidly, it is likely running in Stand Alone and trying to mark. To see if this is the case, open WinMark. Does the head name show up in the mark button in the toolbar?

a.       If so:

                                                   i.      Click on the marking button to open the marking window.

                                                 ii.      Press the ESC key and see if the head aborts the mark session. If it does, drop down to step 4. If not, continue on.

b.       If not:

                                                   i.      Remove power from the marking head.

                                                 ii.      Hold the Test Mark button down while applying power to the head. Keep holding the button down until the head has booted up (yes, you need to wait the whole 30 seconds). This will abort the mark session and clear the mark on startup setting in the head.

 

4.       Do you get a mark using the Test Mark button on the marker?

a.       If you do, move on to step 5.

b.       If not, check the following:

                                                               i.      Is the focusing lens attached, uncovered and clean? (No offense intended, but some customers have called in for help when they didn’t have the lens cover pulled off.)

                                                             ii.      Is the part at the correct focal length for the lens being used? Depending on the lens, the Depth of Focus can be as little as ½ a millimeter. You can check the marker’s Final Test report for the actual measured focal length of the lens. If you can’t find the FT report, write down the serial number of the lens and give us a call at 425-349-3500 and we’ll look up the measured focal length from our database.

                                                            iii.      Are you trying to fire the Test Mark on a difficult material? If so, try using paper or cardboard. It could be that the Test Mark’s 50% PWM is too low, or the 15ips mark velocity is too high, for your material. (Keep in mind that marking paper or cardboard with a laser WILL generate smoke and can cause the material to ignite.)

                                                            iv.      Is the Status light on the head rapidly blinking red? If so, the FASI function is enabled but you don’t have an active signal in IN3. Continue on to step 5.

 

If you get to this point and cannot get the marker to fire a test mark, the problem might be that the Test Mark button is not working correctly or the test mark file is corrupted. Continue on to step 5 to see if the marker is still capable of firing a mark.

 

5.       Are you able to communicate with the marker through Winmark?

Open the WinMark software, go to the Help menu, select About WinMark and click on the Head Info button. If the head properties are displayed, continue on to step 6.

 

If you get a message box saying that WinMark cannot find a marking head, or see some other type of communication problem, the troubleshooting steps depend on which port of the head you are using.

 

USB

Close the WinMark software and check the status of the LED to the right of the USB connector on the head.

a.       If the USB LED is green, drop down to step 6.

b.       If the USB LED is red or dark, unplug the USB cable and plug it back in again.

                                                               i.      Did the USB LED go green? If so, drop down to step 6.

                                                             ii.      If the USB LED stayed dark, try plugging the USB cable into a different port on the computer.

                                                            iii.      If the USB LED went red again, make sure there are no WinMark processes still running:

1.       Be sure to close WinMark, Digital Scope and Launcher.

2.       Check in the Windows Task Manager to see if there is still a WinMark process open in the Applications or Processes windows. If you find one running, close the process and verify that the USB LED on the head is green.

c.       Try a different PC. Be sure to download and install the latest WinMark software (v6 or higher) from our site at http://www.winmark.com/products/download.html. Once the Winmark installation is finished, plug the USB cable into the PC and allow the Add Hardware wizard to install the Flyer USB driver, then check to see if the head’s USB LED has gone green, then red when WinMark is opened. If you get this behavior, drop down to step 6.

d.       If you get to this point and can’t find the problem, there is likely something wrong with the USB port on the Flyer head. Try connecting to the head through the Ethernet port (see the instruction on doing this in the FH Flyer manual), or drop down to step 8.

           

Ethernet

Check the two LEDs on the head’s Ethernet connector. When the network cable is connected to the network, the yellow LED should be blinking. When WinMark is open and communicating with the Flyer head, the green LED should be on solid.

a.       If this is the case, drop down to step 6.

b.       If the yellow LED is not blinking, try using a different network cable and network port.

c.       If the green LED does not come on when the WinMark software is opened and should be communicating with the head, try pinging the head:

                                                               i.      Close WinMark.

                                                             ii.      Click on Windows’ Start menu and select Run…

                                                            iii.      Open the command prompt.

                                                            iv.      Type ‘ping’ (without quotes) followed by the head’s IP address and press the Enter key.

                                                              v.      If the head replies to the ping command, its Ethernet comms are working. Close the command window and try connecting to the head through WinMark again.

            If you get to this point and cannot get the marker to properly communicate with Winmark, drop down to step 8.

 

6.       Try creating a very simple mark in WinMark and press F1 to fire the laser.

a.       If the unit marks, move on to step 7.

b.       If not:

                                                               i.      Are there any errors shown in the Mark Log that is on the right side of the marking window? If so, write them down and drop down to step 7.

                                                             ii.      If the Status LED is flashing rapidly when you press the F1 key to mark, you likely have the Fast Acting Safety Interlock enabled, but do not have an active signal on IN3 of the head. Check your wiring to determine why the signal is missing.

If you get to this point and cannot get the marker to mark through Winmark, drop down to step 8.

 

7.       Can you mark with one of your mark files?

a.       If so, you must have found your problem.

b.       If not, record the messages shown in the mark log to the right of screen in the WinMark marking window and proceed to step 8.

 

8.       If you get to this point and still haven’t found the problem,

a.       Record the model and serial number of the marker that you are using.

b.       Record the version and build information from your WinMark software (from the Help menu, select About WinMark).

c.       Take note of the steps in this troubleshooting guide that you’ve completed and where you got stuck.

d.       Contact us: either send an email with all of the information you’ve recorded to support@winmark.com or give us a call at 425 349 3500, between the hours of 8AM and 5PM Pacific time. We’ll figure it out.

 

Back to top

 

Fenix Flyer

1.       Do you have the correct Status indication on the marker?

The Fenix Flyer Ready LED should turn green as soon as power is applied to the unit and the keyswitch is cycled OFF then ON. The Lase LED will be dark until the Flyer head has booted up, then turn light red.

 

a.       If the status is OK, move on to step 2.

b.       If not:

                                                         i.      Check the power: you need to provide 85 – 240VAC to the marker (no switches need be set to configure the power range).

                                                       ii.      Check to make sure the Remote Interlock and Remote Keyswitch circuits are closed and that you’ve cycled the keyswitch after applying power to the unit.

                                                      iii.      If the Power and Status LEDs are both dark, check the fuses – there are two fuses located inside the power entry module on the marker’s rear end cap. The power entry module cover opens to reveal the read fuse holder. If the power is good and the fuses are good, you should hear the cooling fans running when you set the unit’s power switch on.

If you get to this point and cannot get the correct status indication, drop down to step 7.

 

2.       Is the head marking in Stand Alone mode?

To see if this is the case, open WinMark. Does the head name show up in the mark button in the toolbar?

a.       If so:

                                                   i.      Click on the marking button to open the marking window.

                                                 ii.      Press the ESC key and see if the head aborts the mark session. If it does, drop down to step 3. If not, continue on.

b.       If not:

                                                         i. Remove power from the marking head.

                                                       ii. Hold the Test Mark button down while applying power to the head. Keep holding the button down until the head has booted up (yes, you need to wait the whole 30 seconds). This will abort the mark session and clear the mark on startup setting in the head.

 

3.       Do you get a mark using the Test Mark button on the marker?

a.       If you do, move on to step 4.

b.       If not, check the following:

                                                   i.      Is the focusing lens attached, uncovered and clean? (No offense intended, but some customers have called in for help when they didn’t have the lens cover pulled off.)

                                                 ii.      Is the part at the correct focal length for the lens being used? Depending on the lens, the Depth of Focus can be as little as ½ a millimeter. You can check the marker’s Final Test report for the actual measured focal length of the lens. If you can’t find the FT report, write down the serial number of the lens and give us a call at 425-349-3500 and we’ll look up the measured focal length from our database.

                                                iii.      Are you trying to fire the Test Mark on a difficult material? If so, try using paper or cardboard. It could be that the Test Mark’s 50% PWM is too low, or the 15ips mark velocity is too high, for your material. (Keep in mind that marking paper or cardboard with a laser WILL generate smoke and can cause the material to ignite.)

 

If you get to this point and cannot get the marker to fire a test mark, the problem might be that the Test Mark button is not working correctly or the test mark file is corrupted. Continue on to step 4 to see if the marker is still capable of firing a mark.

 

4.       Are you able to communicate with the marker through Winmark?

Open the WinMark software, go to the Help menu, select About WinMark and click on the Head Info button. If the head properties are displayed, continue on to step 5.

 

If you get a message box saying that WinMark cannot find a marking head, or see some other type of communication problem, check the following:

a.       If you are using the USB port to communicate with the marker:

                                                               i.      Unplug the USB cable and try a different port on the PC.

                                                             ii.      Try connecting to the head through the Ethernet port (see the instruction on doing this in the Fenix Flyer manual).

b.       If you are using the Ethernet port, try pinging the head:

                                                               i.      Close WinMark.

                                                             ii.      Click on Windows’ Start menu and select Run…

                                                            iii.      Open the command prompt.

                                                            iv.      Type ‘ping’ (without quotes) followed by the head’s IP address and press the Enter key.

                                                              v.      If the head replies to the ping command, its Ethernet comms are working. Close the command window and try connecting to the head through WinMark again.

           

            If you get to this point and cannot get the marker to properly communicate with Winmark, drop down to step 7.

 

5.       Try creating a very simple mark in WinMark and press F1 to fire the laser.

a.       If the unit marks, move on to step 6.

b.       If not:

                                                               i.      Are there any errors shown in the Mark Log that is on the right side of the marking window? If so, write them down and drop down to step 7.

                                                             ii.      If the Status LED is flashing rapidly when you press the F1 key to mark, you likely have the Fast Acting Safety Interlock enabled, but do not have an active signal on IN3 of the head. Check your wiring to determine why the signal is missing.

If you get to this point and cannot get the marker to mark through Winmark, drop down to step 7.

 

6.       Can you mark with one of your mark files?

a.       If so, you must have found your problem.

b.       If not, record the messages shown in the mark log to the right of screen in the WinMark marking window and proceed to step 7.

 

7.       If you get to this point and still haven’t found the problem,

a.       Record the model and serial number of the marker that you are using.

b.       Record the version and build information from your WinMark software (from the Help menu, select About WinMark).

c.       Take note of the steps in this troubleshooting guide that you’ve completed and where you got stuck.

d.       Contact us: either send an email with all of the information you’ve recorded to support@winmark.com or give us a call at 425 349 3500, between the hours of 8AM and 5PM Pacific time. We’ll figure it out.

 

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FH Smart

1.       Do you have the correct Status indication on the head?

The Status and Power LEDs should be green.

a.       If the status is OK, move on to step 2.

b.       If not:

                                                         i.      Check the power: you need to provide 30 +/- 2VDC to the head.

                                                       ii.      Check the fuse – if it is open, the Power and Status LEDs will both be dark.

                                                      iii.      If the Power LED is green but the Status LED is red, a fatal error has occurred in the head. Note the condition of the LEDs and drop down to step 6.

If you get to this point and cannot get the correct marking head status indication, drop down to step 7.

 

2.       Do you have the correct Status indication on the laser?

Our lasers use such a large variety of status indication and troubleshooting methods that it doesn’t make sense to put them all in this guide. Please refer to your laser’s operation manual for the correct status indication and troubleshooting methods. If you can’t find a copy of the manual, you can download one from our site at http://www.synrad.com/Manuals/manuals_laser.htm.

 

If you get to this point and cannot get the correct laser status indication, drop down to step 7.

 

3.       Do you get a mark using the Test Mark button on the head?

a.       If you do, move on to step 4.

b.       If not, check the following:

                                                               i.      Is the focusing lens attached, uncovered and clean? (No offense intended, but some customers have called in for help when they didn’t have the lens cover pulled off.)

                                                             ii.      Is the part at the correct focal length for the lens being used? Depending on the lens, the Depth of Focus can be as little as ½ a millimeter. You can check the marker’s Final Test report for the actual measured focal length of the lens. If you can’t find the FT report, write down the serial number of the lens and give us a call at 425-349-3500 and we’ll look up the measured focal length from our database.

                                                            iii.      Are you trying to fire the Test Mark on a difficult material? If so, try using paper or cardboard. It could be that the Test Mark’s 50% PWM is too low, or the 15ips mark velocity is too high, for your material. (Keep in mind that marking paper or cardboard with a laser WILL generate smoke and can cause the material to ignite.)

 

If you get to this point and cannot get the marker to fire a test mark, the problem might be that the Test Mark button is not working correctly or the test mark file is corrupted. Continue on to step 4 to see if the marker is still capable of firing a mark.

 

4.       Are you able to communicate with the head through SmartTerm?

Unlike our other markers, the FH Smart does not communicate directly with the WinMark software. You use versions 1 – 4 of WinMark to create the marking files, but communications with the FH Smart head require a separate utility program called SmartTerm or SmartFH.EXE.

 

NOTE that the FH Smart head cannot use mark files created in WinMark versions of 5 or higher. You MUST use WinMark versions 1 – 4 to create files for your FH Smart head.

 

      You can download WinMark versions 2 or 4 from our website at www.WinMark.com. Be sure to NOT download a WinMark version that is greater than 4, as the newer software is not meant to be used with the older fiber optic markers.

 

Connect the PC to the head using the correct RS-232 cable, open the SmartTerm software, and apply power to the head. Do you see the FH Smart main menu on the left side of the SmartTerm window?

a.       If so, continue on to step 5.

b.       If not try this procedure to force the baud rate to 9600 and clear the Mark On Start setting:

                                                               i.      Remove power from the head.

                                                             ii.      Press and hold the Test Mark button down.

                                                            iii.      Reapply power to the head.

                                                            iv.      Release the Test Mark button once the Status LED has turned green.

                                                              v.      Open the SmartTerm utility.

                                                            vi.      Right click in SmartTerm’s blue title bar and select Configure Serial….

                                                           vii.      Set the baud rate at 9600 and click OK.

                                                         viii.      Press the ESC key on the keyboard and see if the head establishes communications with SmartTerm.

                                                           ix.      If it doesn’t, cycle power again on the head to see if the head starts communicating.

 

            If you get to this point and cannot get the marker to properly communicate with SmartTerm, drop down to step 7.

 

5.       Try creating a very simple mark in WinMark and download it to the head.

NOTE that the FH Smart head cannot use mark files created in WinMark versions of 5 or higher. You MUST use WinMark versions 1 – 4 to create files for your FH Smart head.

 

      You can download WinMark versions 2 or 4 from our website at www.WinMark.com. Be sure to NOT download a WinMark version that is greater than 4, as the newer software is not meant to be used with the older fiber optic markers.

     

      If the unit marks, move on to step 6.

c.       If not:

                                                               i.      Open SmartTerm and establish communications with the head.

                                                             ii.      Double click on the Setup Options menu.

                                                            iii.      Double click on the Misc… menu.

                                                            iv.      Double click on the FASI item.

                                                              v.      Is the check box checked? If so, clear it and press OK.

                                                            vi.      Double click on the Test Laser item.

                                                           vii.      Set the Power to 50% and toggle the Laser On/Off item to fire the laser.

                                                         viii.      If you got a beam from the laser, try marking the simple mark again.

 

If you get to this point and cannot get the head to mark through SmartTerm, drop down to step 7.

 

6.       Can you mark with one of your mark files?

a.       If so, you must have found your problem. If you were using the FASI feature and not able to mark, check the wiring and voltage to IN3 on the head. IN3 must be active for the head to enable the laser when marking with FASI enabled.

b.       If not, record the messages shown in the mark log on the right of the SmartTerm window and proceed to step 7.

 

7.       If you get to this point and still haven’t found the problem,

a.       Record the model and serial number of the marker that you are using.

b.       Record the version and build information from your WinMark software (from the Help menu, select About WinMark).

c.       Take note of the steps in this troubleshooting guide that you’ve completed and where you got stuck.

d.       Contact us: either send an email with all of the information you’ve recorded to support@winmark.com or give us a call at 425 349 3500, between the hours of 8AM and 5PM Pacific time. We’ll figure it out.

 

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Why isn’t my laser power following the values set in my WinMark Pro files?

Why don’t I get any laser power unless I press the Test Mark button first?

If you have a marker with an ISA version of the Fiber Link Controller Card (FLCC), very strange things can happen if other PC devices interfere with the WinMark commands going to the FLCC.

 

Run the following test to see if you have an address contention problem between the FLCC and the WinMark Pro PC:

1.   Power up the Marking Head and initiate a Test Mark using the ‘Test Mark’ button on the Marking Head and verify that the laser and Marking Head are operating.

2.   Verify that the WinMark Pro software is closed.

3.   Open the DigScope utility that is located in the WinMark Pro program group and folder

4.   Press the ‘Toggle Lase’ button and verify the window shows ‘LASER IS ON’

5.   Drag the ‘Laser Duty Cycle’ slider back and forth across the range of values and verify that the laser power is being changed. You should be able to set the slider at its leftmost position and see little or no laser output.

 

If the laser output power doesn’t respond to the slider settings, then you are probably having an address contention problem between the computer and the FLCC. This may be resolved as follows:

1.       Close DigScope and go into the Windows Control Panel and open the System utility.

2.       Click on the ‘Device Manager’ tab.

3.       Verify that ‘Computer’ is highlighted (it’s at the top of the list) and press the ‘Properties’ button.

4.       Click on the ‘Input/Output (I/O)’ button.

5.       Scroll down through the list of ‘Settings’ (addresses) until you get to the 0300 - 03FF range.

6.       Find an unused range of addresses in the 03x0 - 03xF range.

7.       Shut down the computer, remove the FLCC, and set the FLCC base address dip switches to any of the unused address values (refer to the FH Marking Head user’s manual for details on setting the dip switches).

8.       Boot up the computer and start WinMark Pro. 

9.       Go to the Tools menu, select ‘General Settings’ and scroll down the Application Settings properties until the ‘D A Card Address’ is shown.

10.   Enter the new FLCC address in decimal form. The following table gives the decimal equivalents for the base address values that may be used for the FLCC:

 

Base Address (Hex)

Base Address (Decimal)

0300

768

0310

784

0320

800

0330

816

0340

832

0350

848

0360

864

0370

880

0380

896

0390

912

03A0

928

03B0

944

03C0

960

03D0

976

03E0

992

03F0

1008

 

At this point, you should be able to reproduce the DigScope test, with the laser output responding to the Laser Duty Cycle slider adjustments. If that works properly, then try marking using WinMark Pro, adjusting your power values and seeing if the nature of the mark changes.

 

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How do I check my laser output power?

First of all, you will need to have access to a laser power meter. We make a nifty little hand held unit that will measure power up to 250 Watts, but there are a number of companies that build laser power meters.

On a marking system, there are several power measurements that will provide helpful data about the health of your marking components:

·         Power directly out of the laser – you will need to gain access to the beam between the laser and marking head. This usually means removing some sort of protective shield from the beam path.

·         Power out of the marking head (with lens attached) – this means that you MUST ensure that the head is powered up and that the mirrors are centered. Again, there may be some form of guarding that will have to be removed or defeated.

·         Power out of the marking head (with lens removed) – same as above, but the marking head lens is removed. This test is useful to see how much power is being absorbed by the lens.

 

In each case, you will be using the DigScope utility that is installed along with WinMark. YOU CANNOT GET AN ACCURATE POWER MEASUREMENT WHILE MARKING! The nature of marking is that the laser is being turned on and off throughout the mark, and a laser power meter will just give an average power reading, not the actual output power of the laser.

If you are using Synrad’s Power Wizard (PW) to measure the power, remember to follow this procedure:

1.       Initialize the PW: press the ‘Reset/Power’ button for at least two seconds. Verify that the readout displays 0 +/- 0.3 W.

2.       Let go of the ‘Reset/Power’ button and place the PW target in the beam.

a    Do your best to keep all of the beam on the target, otherwise the accuracy of the power reading will be affected.

b. If you are measuring the power of the beam coming out of the head with the lens attached, place the PW about ½ way between the lens and the focal plane. Measuring the power at the focused spot will eventually damage the PW target.

3.       Hold the PW in the beam until the unit beeps.

4.       Take as many measurements as needed, repeating steps 1-3. Be sure to allow the PW target to cool if taking multiple readings. DO NOT cool the target by immersing it in any type of fluid – doing so will damage the electronics within the PW.

 

To measure the laser power:

1.       Verify that the marking head mirrors are centered: either fire a mark from WinMark, or press the test mark button.

2.       Close WinMark.

3.       Put something non-combustible (like a brick) in the beam path to block the beam, while leaving enough room to get the power measurement tool into the beam.

4.       Open DigScope and verify that you can vary the laser power and turn the laser output on and off.

5.       Set the laser power to zero, and turn the laser output off.

6.       To measure the output of the laser:

a.       Remove whatever shrouding is in the way between the laser and the marking head.

b.       Turn the laser output on, and slowly bring the power slider up to 100%, verifying that nothing is catching on fire and no one nearby is getting tattooed.

c.       Place the power probe in the beam and take the power measurement.

d.       Turn the laser output off and remind yourself to start breathing again. Good.

e.       Take another two or three measurements, letting the probe cool down as needed between readings.

f.         Calculate the laser power as the average of the readings. If you find that one reading is WAY off from the others, try taking the same number of readings again. Quite often such an error is caused by a part of the beam missing the probe target, but you will want to verify that the laser power is not just fluctuating wildly.

7.       And that’s it. Be sure to replace all the shrouding and guarding that you removed to perform the measurements.

 

Now that you’ve taken all of your measurements (well… the laser power measurements… we don’t need yours…) what does the data mean?

·         For the laser, you should see a power value at or above the power rating of the laser. That makes sense… if you are using a Firestar t60 laser, and measure 45W at full power, there is something wrong. Less than rated power could indicate a cooling problem or an issue within the laser or RF supply. Another item to check is to verify that the DC power going to the laser is not drooping under load – check the DC voltage while the laser is firing at 100% duty cycle.

·         For the power measurements through the head (without the lens), you should see no more than 5% power loss compared to the readings of the laser itself. If you are running an older SH or DH head, this maximum normal value can be up to 10 or 15%, because of the extra optics involved. More loss than this may indicate that the expander is dirty or damaged, the head is misaligned to the laser, or that the galvo mirrors are dirty or damaged.

·         For the power measurements through the marking head lens, you shouldn’t see more than 5% loss compared to the readings without the lens attached. More loss than this would indicate that the lens is dirty or damaged.

 

Clean the optics using the procedures and materials called out in the hardware documentation. DO NOT use glass cleaner, Isopropyl alcohol, or other industrial cleaners. Refer to the Technical Reference section under Maintenance.

Other than checking the laser cooling, cleaning the optics and correcting any marking head to laser misalignment, there isn’t much you can do in the field to correct damaged or problem components. If you get to this point and haven’t fixed the problem, give us a call at 425 349 3500.

 

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How do I use the ActiveX AutoTestMark method?

The ActiveX library in WinMark Pro installations of build 3155 or higher include an additional method to allow mark files to be downloaded to the Marking Head as a Custom Test Mark. For further details of the Custom Test Mark functions, see the FH Series Marking Head Operator’s Manual.

The method is used as follows:

BOOL AutoTestMark <bNoAuto as Boolean, bIndexMark as Boolean, nDownload as Boolean>

The function arguments are defined as:

bNoAuto            FALSE = Auto Test Mark, TRUE = Manual Test Mark

bIndexMark       TRUE = Index marking, FALSE = Track marking

nDownload        TRUE = download current drawing, FALSE = no download (just update the binary settings)

 

How do I determine the line speed I’ll be able to support with my Tracking Marking Head?

For detailed information regarding the calculation of line speed on Tracking Marking Heads and optimization of mark files to provide the best line speed values, refer to Technical Bulletin #0003, available for download here.

 

Why are some of my parts partially marked or completely unmarked?

There are a LARGE number of possible causes for partially marked or unmarked parts. In answering the following questions, you should be able to discover the answer on your own. If you don’t, then contact Synrad with the answers in hand, and we will have a head start in the troubleshooting process.

1.       For Fenix: does the Fenix display any error codes or unusual information? If so, do the displays on both sides of the Fenix agree?

2.       Check the reliability of the source of the “mark start” input signal. Does it originate from a newly installed sensor, whose sensitivity may need adjusting? Does it originate from an old sensor that has become faulty?

3.       Are the unmarked parts randomly distributed through the marking session, or do they occur in a clump?

4.       If in a clump, was it at the beginning or end of the marking session, or somewhere in between? Have you verified the stability of the power source: for Fenix, check for fluctuations on the power line; for SH, DH and FH heads, verify that the supply voltage is at 30 +/- 2VDC under load.

5.       If spread out, verify that the parts are not occasional out of place: missing from the normal stream, set too close or too far from the Marking Head (out of the depth of focus of the lens).

6.       Were the problem parts completely blank, or were there partial marks on any of them? Partial marks would indicate that the mark was started or ended correctly, but interrupted by something (like a reset, or the line indexing to the next part before the mark was started or completed).

7.       WinMark Pro displays a count of the number of objects marked. Does the WinMark Pro count agree with the number of parts that have been presented? Is it off by the number of unmarked parts? If so, this would indicate that WinMark Pro didn’t recognize the start mark signal for the unmarked parts. See Technical Bulletin #0004, available for download here.

8.       Do you have any interlocks or remote key switch connections in place or are using the FASI feature? Verify that all controlling sources for these signals are operating reliably.

9.       Did anything else unusual happen during the mark session that might be correlated with the missing marks? Does the line have to be stopped and restarted to load new parts during a run? If WinMark Pro must be reset to continue marking, what is the last entry in the mark log (the scrolling list of status messages shown on the right side of the computer screen during marking)?

10.   What is the temperature in the area around the marker? Is there any possibility that the laser is shutting down due to an over-temp condition?

11.   Are you using the WinMark Pro computer for any other function on the line? Did you remove all network and modem cards from the WinMark Pro PC?

12.   Do you have a screen saver in operation on the WinMark Pro computer? If so, disable it.

 

If you get to this point and haven’t found the problem, contact Synrad. It would be helpful if you e-mail us your marking file and fax us a wiring diagram or sketch of your I/O connections to the Marking Head.

 

At low power levels, my marks look great. At high power, the marks are trashed. What’s going on?

Check the stability of the power source. For Fenix, check for fluctuations on the power line. For SH, DH and FH heads, verify that the supply voltage is at 30 +/- 2VDC while marking at high power.

 

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Why doesn’t my serial number value increment when I mark?

Why does my automation only mark once?

Check to make sure that the Mark Count property of the Drawing object is set to something other than one. To mark continuously until the Escape key is pressed, set Mark Count to zero. Otherwise, set the mark count to the number of parts to be marked in the marking session.

Why does my Tracker Marking Head make smaller marks when the line slows down?

Why does my Tracker Marking Head mark diagonally?

Verify that the Encoder Resolution property of the Drawing object is set correctly. To do this, open the LineStackxxx.MKH file appropriate for the lens that you are using. For example, if your Marking Head has an FLA200 lens, then open the LineStack200.MKH file. Adjust the Encoder Resolution value until all of the line segments are marked one on top of the other. Use the final resolution value for all of your Tracking mark files. (Refer to the Encoder Setup section in the FH Series Marking Head Operator’s Manual for further details.)

 

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Why doesn’t my Tracker Marking Head give me the line speed I need?

For detailed information regarding the calculation of line speed on Tracking Marking Heads and optimization of mark files to provide the best line speed values, refer to Technical Bulletin #0003, available for download here.

 

How do I upgrade my WinMark Pro software?

Synrad provides no-cost upgrades to their customers from the  http://www.WinMark Pro.com/download.htm website. Note that any custom date formats that are defined in your WinMark Pro files may need to be re-defined after the upgrade, depending on the WinMark version. One method of preserving the Custom Date Code formats is located here.

To perform the upgrade,

1.       Backup your current mark files (xxx.MKH) – if you find that you want to return to your original version of WinMark Pro, any files modified with a newer version won’t be readable in the older version.

2.       Download the WinMark Pro installation file(s) from the website. You will obtain the best results by right-clicking on the hyperlinks, selecting Save Target As, then specifying a destination on your hard drive.

3.       Uninstall WinMark Pro by either:

a.       selecting the Uninstall Synrad WinMark Pro option in the WinMark Pro program group.

b.       executing the UNWISE.EXE file in the WinMark Pro folder on the hard drive.

4.       Install the WinMark Pro upgrade by executing the SETUP.EXE file that was downloaded from the website.

5.       If you are upgrading to WinMark v2, download and install the WinMark Pro File Import Filters.

6.       Run WinMark Pro and verify that the correct Marking Head and lens type are selected.

 

After upgrading my WinMark Pro software, my old files are marking the wrong size. What happened?

If, after upgrading your software, your mark files are printing out the wrong size, you may have selected the wrong lens at WinMark startup. Check to make sure the lens selected (Tools/General Settings/Lens property) matches the lens that is mounted on the marking head.

Another possibility is that the mark files were created with a different lens selected. In the mark file, click on the drawing, then select the Format tab. Verify that the Field Height and Field Width values in the old files match the values in a new file created on the new WinMark version. If these values are different, change the lens selected in the Tools/General Settings/Lens property, then create a new file. Keep checking the new field dimensions against the old files until you get values that match. At this point, the lens selected may not be correct, but will allow you to mark your old files as you had done in the past.

One more issue that came up recently is that True Type text objects will mark different sizes if the Window’s display Font size properties have been changed. This will affect the TTF fonts ONLY, so is not an issue if all of your file objects are scaled incorrectly. To find and change the Windows font sizes, right click on the Windows Desktop, click on the Settings tab, press the Advanced button, and check the Display: Font Size selection. Normally, this is set to Small Fonts (96 dpi). If this has been changed to Large Fonts (120 dpi), it will cause all of your TTF text objects to lase too large. Change the setting back to small fonts, click OK, then allow the PC to reboot to switch back.

 

How do I upgrade the firmware in my Marking Head?

The latest firmware releases and programming procedures for our marking heads are available here. If you can’t find what you want, or for some reason you want to program the head to an older version, email us at support@synrad.com specifying the model of marker you have and the firmware version you want and we’ll get it to you as quickly as possible.

 

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How do I setup my Marking Head to mark automatically with a PLC?

One of the most common laser marking applications uses a basic automation scheme, in which a PLC is to command the Marking Head to fire a mark over and over and over… While WinMark Pro is well suited to this and much more complex applications, it is not intuitively obvious how this is done at the WinMark Pro end of things, or how the PLC should be wired to the Marking Head. The WinMark Pro manual spells out a way to set the automation up, but the question arises: “How is this supposed to work at the PLC end?”.

While this operating scheme can and has been setup in many different ways, the following method has been shown to be very robust in the face of the myriad problems that can arise on a production line.

      Note that you must have WinMark Pro to perform the automation described below. Those customers that are using WinMark Pro Lite must upgrade to have all of the described automation features available for use. To find out which version you have, open the Help/About WinMark Pro window and the particular version and build information will be displayed. Please contact a Synrad sales representative for information on upgrading WinMark Pro Lite to Pro.

     

      Note also that this scheme, although described here for the Fenix/FH Marking Heads, may be adapted to use any of the Input or Output lines that are available on your particular Marking Head. For more information on the I/O available for the various Marking Head models, see Synrad Technical Bulleting #01, available for download here.

 

So, how to set up the system? First of all, wire up the equipment:

1.       Wire a PLC output to supply IN0 of the Marking Head with a laser ‘GO’ signal. The signal level should switch from less than 5VDC (DON’T GO) to 15 – 40VDC (GO).

2.       Wire OUT4 of the Marking Head to supply the PLC a laser ‘READY’ signal. Wire the laser output as an open contact (capable of up to 40mA of current) that either switches the PLC supply to a ground referenced PLC input (a ‘pull-up’ or ‘sourcing’ output to a ‘sinking’ input), or switches the PLC input’s return to ground on a supply referenced PLC input (a ‘pull-down’ or ‘sinking’ output to a ‘sourcing’ input). In either case, when WinMark Pro signals that the laser is ‘READY’, current will flow through the PLC input; when the laser is ‘NOT READY’, current will NOT flow through the PLC input.

(Refer to your Marking Head’s user’s manual for circuit diagrams that illustrate the various ways the I/O can be connected.)

3.       Create a mark file with the following automation:

4.       Select the Drawing Object in WinMark Pro, then click on the Automation tab.

5.       Program the Set Digital Before Piece automation to set OUT4 = 1.

6.       Program the Wait Digital Before Piece automation to wait for IN0 = 1.

7.       Program the Set Digital Before Mark automation to set OUT4 = 0.

8.       Program the Wait Digital After Piece automation to wait for IN0 = 0.

9.       Program the Set Digital After Mark automation to set OUT4 = 1.

10.   Click on the ‘Marking’ tab and set the ‘Mark Count’ property for the desired number of Mark Loops for the mark session. It is typical to enter ‘0’ for Mark Count, so that the Marking Head will mark indefinitely until the ESC key is pressed to abort marking.

 

Set up the PLC programming to drive the process as follows:

1.       Move the part into place to be marked, then wait until the Marking Head supplies a ‘READY’ signal to the PLC.

2.       Set the ‘GO’ output to commence marking.

3.       Wait for the Marking Head ‘READY’ line to switch to ‘NOT READY’, which signals that lasing is in progress.

4.       Upon seeing the ‘NOT READY’ signal, the PLC should switch the ‘GO’ output to ‘DON’T GO’. This may occur anytime while the mark is in progress.

5.       After the mark is complete, as long as WinMark Pro sees the ‘DON’T GO’ signal, the laser should return to ‘READY’ and the part can be moved out of the marking area and the next part can be moved into place. Once the part is in place, assert the ‘GO’ signal and start all over again.

 

This provides a hardware handshaking method for the PLC and WinMark Pro to communicate, with the following advantages:

You avoid the need to use timed outputs on the PLC to give the Marking Head enough time to complete the mark. Using this automation method means that WinMark Pro and the PLC take no more time than is required for each of them to complete their tasks.

If either the Marking Head or the PLC stop responding via the I/O signals, the entire process stops. For instance, if the Marking Head stops toggling the ‘READY’ line, the PLC will not simply continue cycling parts through unmarked.

 

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How do I use the serial port to input data into my WinMark Pro file?How can I get serial port input data to format as multiple lines of text in one text object?

The automation features of WinMark Pro allow ASCII formatted string data to be transmitted to the WinMark Pro PC and applied to any property of any WinMark Pro drawing file object.

 

Data transmission properties:

1.       The data must be transmitted as RS232 signals at 9600 baud, 8 bits, 1 stop bit, and no parity (9600,8,1,N).

2.       Each data set must be terminated with a Carriage Return character (CR, ^M, 0D Hex, 13 decimal).

3.       Text data applied to a single text object may be formatted in multiple lines using a Line Feed character (LF, ^J, 0A Hex, 10 decimal).

 

WinMark Pro may be configured to use data received through the serial port in the following ways:

Using the Auto Text function:

1.       Place a text object on the Drawing Canvas.

2.       When the Text Caption Editor window appears, enter the desired default caption, or click on OK to leave the caption as ‘text’.

3.       With the text object selected, click on the ‘Automation’ tab in the properties list. (If you don’t see the properties list, see “Why don’t I see the object properties?”)

4.       Click on the drop-down arrow to the right of the ‘Auto Text Type’ property box.

5.       Select ‘Serial Port Text’ from the drop-down list.

6.       Enter the desired communication port in the ‘Text From Comm Port’ property. For most computers, this will be Com1 or Com2.

7.       Enter the number of milliseconds that WinMark Pro should wait before it notifies the operator that the serial data has not been received. For instance, if you want the timeout value to be one second, enter ‘1000’. If you want WinMark Pro to wait indefinitely for the serial termination string, set this value to ‘-1’. Note that WinMark Pro must receive a Carriage Return character, with or without other data, to avoid timing out.

8.       Set the other properties as required.

 

Using the Read From Serial Port command in the Event Builder:

1.       Place a text object on the Drawing Canvas.

2.       Select the Drawing either by clicking on a blank part of the Drawing Canvas, or by clicking on the ‘Drawing’ item in the Object List in the upper right corner of the WinMark Pro window.

3.       Click on the ‘Automation’ tab.

4.       Open the Event Builder at the appropriate automation stage by clicking on the ellipsis button to the right of the ‘Undefined’ or ‘Event Defined’ text.

5.       Click on the ‘Add’ button in the Event Builder window.

6.       Select ‘ReadFromSerialPort’ from the drop-down list of available commands.

7.       Set the desired COM Port and Timeout values. If you want WinMark Pro to wait indefinitely for the serial data, enter ‘-1’ as the timeout value.

8.       Select the desired object and property to which the serial data will be applied from the ‘Target Object and Property’ list boxes.

 

Note that while the Auto Text function simply assigns the serial data to the Text Caption property of the text object, the Event Builder function allows much greater flexibility. For instance, the serial data could be assigned to the text object’s caption, font, or height properties, so that the Event Builder provides the means to control the marking process to a much higher degree.

 

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How does the serial port text input routine work?

Why is my Marking Head not marking the first few characters of the serial data I send?

Will my serial port input data get lost if it is received by the WinMark Pro PC before the next part is ready?

 

The following are results of testing done to verify the serial port data handling within WinMark Pro:

1.       If a mark file contains automation using the serial port, WinMark Pro initializes the serial port at the beginning of each mark session. Note that the act of initialization clears whatever contents might remain from serial communications prior to the session start (pressing the F1 key, or the moment Launcher opens the mark file). This is the only time the port is initialized in all WinMark Pro versions from build 3033 on. (Previous builds opened and closed the serial port at each data access, which caused no serious problems, but delayed the marking process.)

2.       Note: Users are cautioned to avoid transmitting serial data until the serial port is ready so that data is not lost. This issue is further compounded if the drawing’s Mark Count property is set to one, which means that every mark is a separate mark session, causing WinMark Pro to initialize the serial port on every mark.

3.       Handshaking methods (Xon/Xoff vs. Hardware vs. None) are all handled at the Operating System/BIOS level. The user can dictate any handshaking they desire, but this is all handled below the level at which WinMark Pro operates.

4.       Serial data is made up of standard ASCII data (one byte = one character), so the character content is limited to the ASCII character set. Special characters used in the protocol are the Carriage Return (CR, x0Dh, ^M, 13 decimal) to delimit one string of characters from another, and Line Feed (LF, x0Ah, ^J, 10 decimal) to force the new line within a text string value. If serial transmission of special characters (Unicode, etc.) is desired, it can be done via ActiveX.

5.       The buffering of the data is done at the OS level, so that data can be transmitted to the WinMark Pro PC independently of the rate at which it is read by WinMark Pro. This was verified using the following test:

a.   Set up a mark file with a single Read From Serial Port text object, with the Mark Count set to 100.

b.   Generate a text file containing 100 entries of 20 characters each, with each line terminated with a CR. Note that it was found during this testing that pressing the ‘Enter’ key following each string while creating the source text file would embed a CR then an LF character (not the other way around!), and that this would have adverse affects on the string behavior within WinMark Pro. Note that this affect is NOT seen when entering data in a live terminal session using ProComm or other terminal emulation programs. (No doubt these programs send only the CR when ‘Enter’ is pressed.) It is imperative that, if planning on spooling string data into and out of a text file before transmitting it to WinMark Pro via RS232, customers understand this distinction.

c.   The text file was read by the source PC and transmitted as a continuous stream of data after the mark session had been initiated. (To prevent timing out, the serial port timeout value should be set to 100 seconds.)

d.   Note that, from the transmitting side, it can be seen that the 2100 bytes of data are sent in multiple packets (four in testing at Synrad), with each packet size being the amount of data that fills the WinMark Pro PC’s serial buffer. Results showed that a packet would be sent, then a moment would go by while the WinMark Pro PC stored the serial data and flagged the next buffer, then the next buffer would transmit, etc. All of this handshaking was done at the OS/BIOS level, and was handled independently of WinMark Pro. The transmit behavior was the same regardless of the handshaking protocol selected on the source and WinMark Pro PCs.

e.   The entire data set of 100 strings was transmitted within the first three or four marks (~ 2 seconds).

f.    WinMark Pro successfully parsed the data file, grabbing each set of 20 characters (+ CR) from the serial buffer, and all marking was completed as expected.

g.       Once this behavior had been verified, the initialization process was tested by transmitting spurious data before the mark session had begun (while the drawing editor was open, but F1 had not been pressed). All data sent before the mark session start was flushed and ignored.

 

Note that it is possible to overrun the WinMark data buffer if serial data is continuously transmitted in small packets. If the buffer is overrun, the mark data may be corrupted, or a number of data elements may be skipped in the marking process. The hardware handshaking described below will prevent this from happening.

 

Is there a way to force handshaking between the serial port data generator and WinMark Pro?

If your serial port data generator (computer, PLC, etc.) supports hardware handshaking and you have an FH head or Fenix with an available output, you can use an output to connect the data generator’s RTS/CTS lines when WinMark Pro is ready to receive data. The example described below will assume that OUT7 is being used to command the data generator to transmit serial data to WinMark Pro.

1.       Wire the data generator’s RTS signal (pin 7 if using a DB-9 serial port connector) to the OUT7 terminal on the marking head.

2.       Wire the data generator’s CTS signal (pin 8 if using a DB-9 serial port connector) to the RTN7 terminal on the marking head.

3.       Configure the WinMark Pro automation to

a.                   Set OUT7 immediately prior to reading the data from the serial port

b.                   Perform the serial port automation.

c.                   Clear OUT7

Note that you can use WinMark Pro’s Event Builder to gain more flexibility in the order of your automation sequence. The output commands and serial port data commands may be defined in the precise order needed to satisfy the automation described above.

4.       Configure the data generator to use Hardware handshaking so that, when OUT7 is open (the cleared state), the generator does not transmit data.

 

This handshaking method has that advantage that, if marking is held up for any reason (power is lost at the Marking Head, I/O conditions prevent WinMark Pro from continuing through the automation sequence, etc.), the marking equipment may be restarted again without losing sync with the data generator.

 

Why don’t I see the object properties in WinMark Pro?

You might have inadvertently pressed the Toggle Property Window button on the WinMark Pro toolbar. Press this button again to view the properties.

 

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What is an Auto Text Type and how do I use it?

WinMark provides a variety of ways to assign caption data to Text, Barcode and 2Dbarcode objects. For basic operations such as serialization, date coding and RS232 data input, the following AutoText functions within WinMark will suffice. (For more complex functionality, the Event Builder functions may be used. Where even the Event Builder will not provide the needed functionality, you may need to look at using our ActiveX control.)

 

Supported Functions

The Auto Text automation provides the following functions:

Serial Number Text     automatically increments a numeric or alpha-numeric value

Date Code Text           applies standard or custom date, time, and/or shift codes

Disk File Text (Seq)    reads data from a text file (aka ‘flat file’), reading one line after another through the file on each mark

Serial Port Text           reads data in from one of the computer’s RS232 serial ports

User Entry Text          prompts the PC operator to enter data, then assigns the entered value

Disk File Text (Fixed)  as opposed to the Seq version, this function reads data only from the first line a text file

From Another Object   (new to WinMark v4 build 4402) reads the value from another object in the mark file

 

(A full write-up of the supported properties and limitations of these functions is beyond the scope of this document. Refer to the WinMark manual for the complete details on these functions.)

Properties and Options

Here are some details on the lesser-understood Auto Text properties and details:

General

Execute Auto Text When      Select Before Mark (executes immediately after Set Digital Before Mark) or After Mark (executes immediately before Wait Digital After Piece). In most cases, Before Mark is used. This is true for Serial Port Text and most of the other Auto Text functions. However, when marking serial numbers, it may be desirable to set the first serial number value as the default text caption, mark that value, and then increment to the next value. In such a case, ‘After Mark’ would be used.

Auto Text Within Array         WinMark allows any mark object (text, polyline, imported graphic, barcode, etc.) to be configured as an array of objects. In the Format tab for the object, the array may be defined as any number of rows and columns. By default, these values are both set to one. However, a nest of 25 parts can be marked with similar data by setting the Array Rows and Array Columns properties each to 5. The Auto Text Within Array (ATWA) property may then be set to Yes to execute the auto text function for each element within the array, or set to No to use the same auto text value for the entire array. If the ATWA property is set to No, the auto text is executed on every trip through the mark loop.

Serial Number Text

The Serial Number Text automation allows the marking of serialized values. Be sure to enter the serial number value to the number of digits required – for a 5 digit serial number, enter ‘00001’. WinMark does not support blanking of leading zeros.

 

 

Serial Number Delta             Determines the amount the serial number will increase from one mark to the next. Use positive values to count up, negative values to count down.

Serial Number Mask             Allows the use of non-incrementing text/numbers in the serial number caption. For instance, ‘SN9999’ could be used as a caption, with the SN portion set as fixed (Serial Number Mask would be ‘FFSSSS’). The next serial caption would be ‘SN0000’. Click on the drop down arrow at the right side of the property box to change the Serial Number Mask.

Serial Piece Step                 Determines how many marks must be made before updating the serial value. Useful for marking a large part in several places – the Serial Piece Step may be set to 3, then the part marked three times with the same value.

Save Last Serial                   Set to Yes to save the last marked serial number in the Windows registry. The Save Serial Name may be renamed as desired so that multiple serial numbers for different mark files may be kept separate. The Current Saved Value shows the current value held in the registry, and allows the value to be modified as necessary.

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Date Code Text

The Date Code Text automation allows the marking of date code, time, and shift code values. Date and time information are derived from the Windows date and time values of the WinMark PC. WinMark allows the creation of custom date code formats, which are stored in the Windows registry. For this reason, care should be exercised when upgrading the WinMark software, as detailed here. If files are to be shared between multiple WinMark PCs, the custom date code definitions must be carefully managed to ensure proper date code marking.

 

                                         

 

Assign Date Format             Click on the ellipses (‘…’) button to the right of the property box to open the date code format window:

                                         

                                         

                                          Select one of the standard formats (which may vary from one version of WinMark to another), or define your own custom format by entering the desired format string in the ‘Format Definition String’ text box. The Available Format Commands window shows the commands that may be used (again, these will vary from one version of WinMark to the next). You may upgrade your WinMark version (at no cost) by following the directions here.

 

                                          Note that entered text, unless it is preceded by a % sign, will appear as it is typed in the printed date code. The ‘Example Date’ text box will display the resulting date code (without any day, hour or minute offsets). Note also that the custom date formats are contained within the Windows Registry on the PC where they’ve been defined, and must be entered on each of the WinMark PCs on which the mark file will be used.

 

Time Offset: xxx                  The Time Offset properties allow you to further customize the printing of date and shift codes. For instance, you can set the Time Offset: Days to 90 to mark a product’s expiration date, or set the Time Offset: Minutes to 30 to make the shift codes roll over on the half hour rather than the hour.

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Serial Port Text

The Serial Port Text function allows data to be read in through any RS232 port available on the WinMark PC. Comms must be at 9600 baud, 8 data bits, 1 stop bit, no parity. The data must be terminated with a Carriage Return character (^M, or 0D hex).

Flow control is handled at the Windows level, so WinMark cannot be configured to gate the flow of data from the host device. (However, it is possible to configure one of the marking head or FLCC output pins to control the host’s RTS/CTS lines, described here.)

 

                                         

 

Text From Com Port              Allows you to assign one of the com ports recognized by the PC to receive the data through. Note that only one com port may be used within a mark file… you cannot have two Serial Port Text objects that read from separate com ports.

Com Port Timeout                WinMark will wait this number of milliseconds for the serial data to arrive. If a serial data string, followed by a Carriage Return character, is not received within the timeout period, WinMark displays a message box indicating the timeout and prompting the operator for direction:

 

                                         

 

                                          To wait indefinitely for the serial data, set this value to ‘-1’. (If the data is not received, the operator may abort the mark session by pressing the ESC key.)

Close Comport After Read    (New to WinMark at build 3780). Set to Yes to force the com port to close after each read. This will prevent spurious data from being held in the Windows serial buffer and used in the next mark. Using this option will slow the mark loop slightly (the delay will depend on the PC).

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User Entry Text

The User Entry Text allows data to be input by the operator, to be assigned to the caption property of the Auto Text Object. A more useful version of this function is found in the Event Builder’s AskUserInput command.

 

Disk File Text (xxx)

The Disk File Text (Fixed) and Disk File Text (Seq) allow data to be read from text files. The data is then assigned to the Caption property of the text or barcode object. If you have an application that requires the data to be applied to a different property, you should look at using the Event Builder’s ReadLineFromFile command.

Data is retrieved from the file using Carriage Return/Line Feed (CR/LF) characters as string delimiters. (The hex values for CR/LF are 0D 0A. Most text editors automatically insert these characters when the ENTER key is pressed.) The only difference between the two functions is the way they handle files with more than one string of data. The DFT Fixed function reads only the first string of data, over and over for the duration of the mark session. The DFT Seq function reads one line after the other, until the end of the file is reached.

 

Auto Text File Wrap             Using DFT (Seq), set this property to Yes to cause WinMark to continue reading from the top of the file after finishing the last line. If this property is set to No, WinMark aborts the mark session and displays an end of file message when it reaches the end of the text file.

 

From Another Object

Added in WinMark v4.1.0, build 4402, the Auto Text: From Another Object allows one object to replicate the data value of another object in the mark file. For instance, a Text Object may be placed in the drawing, and configured to display the current value of a 1D or 2D barcode. The object used as the data source may use any of the Auto Text or other automation functions – it can contain a serial number, a date code, data read in through the serial port, etc.

WinMark will automatically push the data source object up through the marking order so that it’s data value is updated first, then will update the dependant object.

 

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What is the Event Builder and how do I use it?

 

Overview

The Event Builder allows a great deal of flexibility in the design and programming of custom automation sequences.

For instance, WinMark’s automation design provides a sequenced method of controlling input and output channels on the FLCC and the marking head. (See Technical Bulletin 01, available here, for complete details of the I/O available on the various models of marking heads and FLCCs.) The flowchart available from WinMark’s Help menu shows the automation flow (see the automation overview here).

But what if you need to set an output bit immediately after the mark is complete, and then want to verify an input bit before looping back to the beginning of the mark sequence? The WinMark automation scheme provides four distinct Event Builder stages that may be customized as desired:

      On Before Mark Session    runs once at the beginning of the mark session

      On Before Mark Piece       runs once before every mark in the mark session

      On After Mark Piece          runs once after every mark in the mark session

      On After Mark Session       runs once at the end of the mark session

 

So, what is a Mark Session? The mark session begins when the Mark command button (or the F1 key) is pressed, and ends when the number of pieces marked is equal to the drawing’s Mark Count property. Note that the mark session may be aborted by pressing the ESC key, but WinMark will not execute the On After Mark Session event builder commands*.

*Beginning with v4.3.3.4528, WinMark has a new Event Builder stage (On Abort Mark Session) that provides a means to control the marker’s behavior in the case of an aborted mark session.

 

Event Builder Commands

The Event Builder provides a number of pretty powerful automation commands.

What the Event Builder WILL NOT do is conditional branching – you cannot program the software to follow path A or path B based upon the result of a true/false test. The Event Builder allows a number of commands to be executed one at a time, with no way to break out of the EB if a condition is not met. If your application requires this sort of functionality, you should look at incorporating our ActiveX control into a custom User Interface.

The number of commands provided in WinMark’s event builder stages has grown over time. If you find that the WinMark version you are using does not include a command you need, you can upgrade your WinMark software from our download page, found here.

The current version of WinMark provides the following commands:

AskUserInput              prompts the operator to input data through the keyboard

AssignDate                assigns a date/time/shift code

CallDLLFunc               allows the use of a custom DLL

DoBeep                      beeps (what else?)

DoPause                    pauses for a specified number of milliseconds

IncSerial                     increments a serial number

MarkingHeadOn          checks to see that the marking head is powered up, sets or clears output bit(s) if false

MatchDigitalState       tests for a particular input state, then assigns the True/False boolean result to an object property

ReadFromSerialPort    reads data in from the WinMark PC’s RS232 port, then assigns the data to the chosen object and property

ReadLineFromFile       reads data in from a text file, then assigns the data to the chosen object and property

ReadyStatus              (for use with a Fenix marker) checks the Fenix ready status, sets or clears output bit(s) if false

RestoreProperty          reads a property value from a ‘DAT’ file

SaveProperty              writes a property value to a ‘DAT’ file

SetDigitalState           sets output bit(s)

WaitDigitalState          checks the status of input bit(s), waits for a specified amount of time before moving on through the mark automation

 

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Command Configuration

Most* of the commands are configurable using ‘Command Details’ and ‘Target Object and Property’ settings:

Command Details define WinMark’s interaction with the command, such as I/O card address, timeout duration and user prompts. The command details in your version of WinMark may differ from those listed in this FAQ, as features and hardware support change over time. For instance, early versions of WinMark support only the analog head’s D/A card or the ISA type Fiber Link Controller Card (FLCC). The I/O card address Command Detail for these versions of WinMark is given as ‘D/A Card Address’. For WinMark v4, which supports only the PCI card, this Command Detail may be given as ‘PCI Card ID’. 

 

Target Object and Property (TO&P) selections define the object, and its property, to which the command’s result will be applied. All objects contained within the mark file are available for use. Once the target object is selected, you may choose from any of its properties. Note that the event builder will not test the target object and property selections to verify that the data type generated by the command matches up with the data type required of the target property. For instance, the MatchDigitalState command generates a Boolean value (True or False) that is meant to be applied to a Boolean property of the Target Object. If the Text Caption property of a Text object is selected, the caption will change to either ‘0’ or ‘1’. The data types assigned by the various commands are provided below in the command definitions.

 

* Some commands, such as DoBeep require little or no configuration. See the command definitions listed below for more information.

 

Command Definitions

AskUserInput

Description:
This command is similar to the ‘Auto Text Type: User Entry Text’ automation. When the command is executed, WinMark displays a message box that prompts the operator for data entry. Unlike the Auto Text function, which applies the entered data to the caption property of the text or barcode object, the AskUserInput command allows the entered data to be applied to any property of any of the drawing’s objects.

For instance, the operator may be prompted to enter any of the following:

the X or Y axis position data for an object

the mark power or velocity of an object

the number of parts to be marked in a mark session

the field rotation of the drawing

 

Furthermore, a data value that is to be applied to an entire lot of parts may be entered only once at the beginning of the mark session by using the AskUserInput command in the OnBeforeMarkSession event builder (see the Automation Flowchart in WinMark’s Help menu).

Command Details:

User Prompt           defines the string to be displayed in the user entry message box

Use Default            determines where the default data value is to be obtained:

From Current Property Value uses the object’s current property value

From Default Text                    takes the value defined in the Default Text property

Default Text           the default value to be used if Use Default is set to From Default Text

 

Target Object and Property:

Any Property of any of the drawing’s objects may be selected. Note that the AskUserInput command has no means to evaluate the user’s input data for suitability to the target property. For instance, if the command is configured to prompt the operator for the ObjectLeftPosition value of an object, the operator may enter a value that will put the object outside of the allowable marking field.

 

If you need to perform error checking on the data that has been entered, you will need to look at creating a custom application using our ActiveX control.

Examples:

To prompt the operator to enter the number of parts to be marked each mark session:

1.       With the Drawing object selected, open the On Before Mark Session event builder.

2.       Click on the Add button to add a new event command.

3.       Select AskUserInput as the desired command.

4.       Configure the Command Details:

a.       User Prompt: ‘Enter the number of parts to mark:’

b.       Use Default: From Default Text

c.       Default Text: ‘10’

5.       Configure the Target Object and Property:

a.       Select Drawing as the Target Object

b.       Select MarkCount as the Target Property

 

To read a text or barcode caption in from a barcode wedge (a scanner that plugs into the keyboard port on the WinMark PC) and apply it to an object (in this case Text1) for the entire mark session:

1.       Select a barcode wedge, and configure it to provide a CR/LF as a data delimiter (refer to the scanner’s user’s manual).

2.       With the Drawing object selected, open the On Before Mark Session event builder.

3.       Click on the Add button to add a new event command.

4.       Select AskUserInput as the desired command.

5.       Configure the Command Details:

a.       User Prompt: ‘Scan the barcode:’

b.       Use Default: From Default Text

c.       Default Text: ‘’

6.       Configure the Target Object and Property:

a.       Select Text1 as the Target Object

b.       Select TextCaption as the Target Property

 

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AssignDate   

Description:
This command is similar to the ‘Auto Text Type: Date Code Text’ automation. When the command is executed, WinMark replaces the text or barcode caption with the date/time code value derived from the WinMark PC’s system clock. This command may be used to assign a date/time code value to an entire lot of parts by calling the command from the OnBeforeMarkSession event builder.

Given it’s superior functionality, you are advised to use the Auto Text: Date Code Text automation, unless you need to perform the AssignDate only at the beginning or end of the mark session.

Command Details:

Date Format           specifies the date format to be used to define the Target Object’s property value. The date format may be any one of the standard formats that are pre-defined in WinMark, or a custom format, configured using the Date Format Customization window, described here.

 

Target Object and Property:

Any Property of any of the drawing’s objects may be selected. Note that the AssignDate command has no means to evaluate the date code’s data for suitability to the target property. For instance, if the command is configured to assign the date code to the drawing’s Field Width property, the scaling of the drawing will be severely affected.

Examples:
To assign a Julian production date code to a Data Matrix barcode (2D Barcode1) at the beginning of the mark session, so that the date doesn’t change if the mark session runs past midnight:

1.       Use the 2D Barcode tool to add a barcode to the drawing. Verify that the barcode is named “2D Barcode1”.

2.       With the Drawing object selected, open the On Before Mark Session event builder.

3.       Click on the Add button to add a new event command.

4.       Select AssignDate as the desired command.

5.       Configure the Command Details:

a.       Date Format: Julian.

6.       Configure the Target Object and Property:

c.       Select ”2D Barcode1” as the Target Object

d.       Select “2DbarcodeText” as the Target Property

 

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CallDLLFunc

Description:
You can use CallDLLFunc to gain a great level of flexibility in your WinMark automation routine. For instance, if you need a custom date code that cannot be generated using WinMark’s available format commands, you can create a DLL that will read the system clock and return a date code string formatted in any way you like. This same sort of functionality can be attained by designing a custom front end using the WinMark ActiveX control, but a DLL approach contains only the root code capability without the Graphical User Interface design investment.

 

The DLL may return string or numeric data, but the data type should match the type expected by the Target Object and Property.

 

See the Program Files/WinMark/Samples/SampleDLL subfolder on your WinMark PC for an example DLL written in C++. 

Command Details:

DLL Filename        specifies the DLL to be used. By default, the DLL will be expected to be placed in the WinMark folder. Some versions allow the DLL to be located elsewhere, in which case this property must define the entire path name.

Function Name      specifies the function within the DLL that is to be used. The DLL may contain only one, or multiple functions.

User Arg #1, 2, 3     may be used to pass argument values to the DLL. For instance, the sample SerialComm DLL included with WinMark takes the serial port and the timeout value as arguments.

DoBeep         

Description:

Well… it beeps. It will not play Yankee Doodle Dandy, it just beeps. If you need to audibly prompt the operator to do something, you can have the PC beep at them. Enough said.

DoPause     

Description:
Allows the insertion of a delay within the automation loop. The automation loop described here pretty well relieves the system of any need for delays, but in case you want to slow things down a little, you can use the DoPause command. Command Details:

Delay (msecs)        specifies the amount of time to pause in milliseconds. By default, this value is set to 1000, which provides a delay of 1 second, but can be set to 10 seconds or more (depending on WinMark version). 

Example:

To generate an output pulse of 250millisecond duration on OUT4, to take place after each mark:

1.       With the Drawing object selected, open the On After Mark Piece event builder.

2.       Click on the Add button to add a new event command.

3.       Select SetDigitalState as the desired command.

4.       Configure the Command Details: all output bits set to ignore, except bit 4, configured as ‘Set – 1’.

5.       Click on the Add button to add a new event command.

6.       Select DoPause as the desired command.

7.       Configure the Command Details: Delay (msecs) set to 250.

8.       Click on the Add button to add a new event command.

9.       Select SetDigitalState as the desired command.

10.   Configure the Command Details: all output bits set to ignore, except bit 4, configured as ‘Clear – 0’.

 

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IncSerial       

Description:
This command is a limited version of the Auto Text: Serial Number Text function. The IncSerial command is mainly useful for incrementing (or decrementing) values just once per mark session. Given the superior feature set of the Auto Text function (see the full Auto Text details here), you are better off using it for normal serial number functions. See the SaveProperty, RestoreProperty description, here, for a possible use of the IncSerial command.

Command Details:

Delta                      specifies the increment step size. By default, this value is set to 1, but can be set to any positive or negative value. Positive values cause the Serial value to increase when the values is updated, negative values decrease on each update.

Target Object and Property:

Any Property of any of the drawing’s objects may be selected. As with other Event Builder commands, care must be taken to ensure the incrementing value is assigned to an appropriate Target Object and Property.

MarkingHeadOn      
Description:
The name of this command is misleading: the command causes WinMark to verify that the marking head is powered up. If the marking head does not respond correctly (is turned off or not communicating), WinMark asserts the defined output bit values.

So, the command could well be called MarkingHeadOFF. But I digress….

Note that, for this command to be useful, the monitoring circuit must be wired to the FLCC I/O, since the marking head I/O will most likely be inoperative when an error condition is detected. See Technical Bulletin #01, available here, for more information on using the FLCC card I/O.

Command Details:

DA Card Address    (or PCI Card ID) specifies the location of the interface card whose outputs will be set/cleared by the command’s result. The software typically defaults to the card specified in the Tools/General Settings properties, but other cards may be selected. For ISA cards, this value should be the Decimal equivalent of the Hexadecimal card address.

Output Bit n           defines the desired value of each of the output bits to be set, cleared, or left unchanged (ignored) if the MarkingHeadOn test produces a False result. Be sure to select output bit(s) that exist on the hardware being used.

 

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MatchDigitalState    
Description:
This command tests the hardware I/O input status and determines whether the inputs match a user defined input pattern. The Boolean result (inputs match = True; inputs don’t match = False) is then assigned to a desired target object’s property. As with other object-manipulating commands, care must be taken to ensure that the Boolean result is appropriate for the property being modified. For instance, the default Target Object and Properties are Drawing and Field Width. If you forget to set the TO&P as desired, you can inadvertently set the Drawing Field Width to zero – a common, but dramatic, mistake!Command Details:

Timeout MSecs      specifies the amount of time, in milliseconds, that the command will wait for the required input condition to be met. By default, this value is set to 10000 (10 seconds), but can be set to any value from 0 to 1000 seconds. A timeout value of –1 will cause the command to wait indefinitely until the input condition is met (or the ESC key is pressed to abort the mark session).

DA Card Address    (or PCI Card ID) specifies the location of the interface card whose inputs will be monitored. The software typically defaults to the card specified in the Tools/General Settings properties, but other cards may be selected. For ISA cards, this value should be the Decimal equivalent of the Hexadecimal card address. Note that, for FH and Fenix markers, even if the I/O wiring is routed to the marker, the I/O status is recognized as occurring on the FLCC card to which they are connected via the fiberlink.

Input Bit n              specifies, for each input, the required input condition for the command to produce a TRUE result. If an input bit is set to Ignore, the input’s actual status will have no bearing on the result of the match.

Target Object and Property:

Any Property of any of the drawing’s objects may be selected. As with other object-manipulating commands, care must be taken to ensure that the Boolean result is appropriate for the property being modified. For instance, the default Target Object and Properties are Drawing and Field Width. If you forget to set the TO&P as desired, you can set the Drawing Field Width to zero, which is a bad thing.

Examples:

One of the most useful aspects of the MatchDigitalState command is to use the inputs to determine which objects within a mark file will be marked. See the detailed write-up of this technique here.

ReadFromSerialPort           
Description:
This is another command that mimics one of the Auto Text functions. ReadFromSerialPort is similar to the Auto Text: Serial Port Text function, but provides much more flexibility regarding the use of the resultant data. You can use this command to read data in from the WinMark PC’s RS232 port, then assign the data to any property of any of the drawing’s objects. You can also use the OnBeforeMarkSession stage to read the data only once at the beginning of the mark session.Command Details:

COM Port                specifies the COM port through which the RS232 data will be received. WinMark limits the port choices to those that are available on your PC.

Timeout MSecs      specifies the amount of time, in milliseconds, that the command will wait for a string of data,  terminated with a Carriage Return character (0D hex), to be received. By default, this value is set to 10000 (10 seconds), but can be set to any value from 0 to 1000 seconds. A timeout value of –1 will cause the command to wait indefinitely until the input condition is met (or the ESC key is pressed to abort the mark session).

Close After Read    (in some versions) allows the serial port to be closed between data read commands. Any spurious data is lost, rather than being handled as real data.

Target Object and Property:

Any Property of any of the drawing’s objects may be selected. Note that the command has no means to evaluate the input data for suitability to the target property. As with the other property modifier commands, take care to properly apply the incoming data to the selected TO&P. WinMark will automatically convert the incoming ASCII text data to the proper data type before applying it to the TO&P.

Examples:

To set the Mark Count as well as the caption and font used on a text object throughout a mark session:

1.       Create a mark file with a single text object named ‘Text1’.

2.       With the Drawing object selected, open the On Before Mark Piece event builder.

3.       Click on the Add button to add a new event command.

4.       Select ‘ReadFromSerialPort’ from the drop-down list of available commands.

5.       Configure the Command Details:

a.       COM Port : ‘Com1:’ (or as desired)

b.       Timeout Msecs: ‘-1’ (to wait indefinitely for the data)

c.       Close After Read: ‘No’

6.       Configure the Target Object and Property:

a.       Object: ‘Drawing’

b.       Property: ‘Mark Count’

7.       Click on the Add button to add a new event command.

8.       Select ‘ReadFromSerialPort’ from the drop-down list of available commands.

9.       Configure the Command Details:

a.       COM Port : ‘Com1:’ (or as desired)

b.       Timeout Msecs: ‘-1’ (to wait indefinitely for the data)

c.       Close After Read: ‘No’

10.   Configure the Target Object and Property:

a.       Object: ‘Text1

b.       Property: ‘TextCaption’

11.   Click on the Add button to add a new event command.

12.   Select ‘ReadFromSerialPort’ from the drop-down list of available commands.

13.   Configure the Command Details:

a.       COM Port : ‘Com1:’ (or as desired)

b.       Timeout Msecs: ‘-1’ (to wait indefinitely for the data)

c.       Close After Read: ‘No’

14.   Configure the Target Object and Property:

a.       Object: ‘Text1

b.       Property: ‘StrokeFont’

 

When running this file, you will need to generate three RS232 transmissions. For instance, to program WinMark to mark “ABCDEF” using the ‘European’ Stroke font 100 times, you would send:

1.       “100” <CR>

2.       “ABCDEF” <CR>

3.       “European” <CR>

where <CR> is the Carriage Return character (^M, or 0D hex).

 

Note that the addition of two more serial port reads would allow the repositioning of the Text1 object each mark session. Other properties could be modified as well, such as Field Rotation, Mirroring, Text Height, Text Radius, etc. A great deal of flexibility is achieved using a single mark file, allowing a separate controller (PLC, PC or other) to dictate the precise nature of the marks made within a mark session.

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ReadLineFromFile
Description:
This is another command that mimics one of the Auto Text functions. ReadLineFromFile is similar to the ‘Auto Text: Disk File Text (xxx)‘ function, but provides much more flexibility regarding the use of the resultant data. You can use this command to read data from a text file, then assign the data to any property of any of the drawing’s objects.Command Details:

Filename               specifies the text file from which the data will be read. The data in the file should be standard ASCII text, with each line terminated by a line feed (LF) character.

Target Object and Property:

Any Property of any of the drawing’s objects may be selected. Note that the command has no means to evaluate the input data for suitability to the target property. As with the other property modifier commands, take care to properly apply the incoming data to the selected TO&P. WinMark will automatically convert the ASCII text data to the proper data type before applying it to the TO&P.

Examples:

An advantage that the Event Builder ReadLineFromFile command has over the Auto Text function is that the incoming data can be read just once at the beginning or end of the mark session, or on every mark. In addition, the data can be applied to any property of any object in the file – not just to the text or barcode caption.

For instance, a mark file can be setup to mark a list of names from a text file, each name having a different True Type Font applied to the text:

1.       Create two text files:

a.                   “Caption.txt” should have three entries: Name 1, Name 2, Name 3. Be sure to press the ENTER key after each name, so that they show up as three different lines.

b.                   “Font.txt” should also have three entries: Arial, Courier New, Time New Roman (or any three TTF font names that exist in your WinMark PC’s fonts folder). Again, the font names should each be terminated by pressing the ENTER key.

c.                   Be sure to save the files to the WinMark folder.

2.       Open WinMark.

3.       Add a text object to the file. Verify that it is named ‘Text1’.

4.       With the Drawing object selected, open the On Before Mark Piece event builder.

5.       Click on the Add button to add a new event command.

6.       Select ReadLineFromFile as the desired command.

7.       Configure the Command Details: Filename = “Caption.txt”.

8.       Select the TO&P: Text1 as object, Text Caption as property.

9.       Click on the Add button to add a new event command.

10.   Select ReadLineFromFile as the desired command.

11.   Configure the Command Details: Filename = “Font.txt”.

12.   Select the TO&P: Text1 as object, True Type Font as property.

13.   Select the Marking tab, and set the Mark Count property to 3.

14.   Either add a DoPause to the OnAfterMarkPiece Event Builder, or add whatever automation you need to keep the software from marking all three counts without waiting between marks.

 

When you run this file, you should see that both the caption AND the font of the marked text changes with each mark.

Note that a separate file must be created for EACH property to be modified using the text file function. As of version 4.1.0.4402, WinMark has no way of reading the data in from a spreadsheet to be applied to multiple objects or properties.

 

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ReadyStatus
Description:
This command is similar to the MarkingHeadOn function, except that ReadyStatus checks the status of the laser’s Ready line in a Fenix marker. Within the Fenix is the same laser tube that is used in the 48-2 25W laser. One of the tube’s output signals is a Ready output, which is active when the following conditions are met:

1.       Power is applied to the laser.

2.       The remote interlock (RMT INT) circuit is closed.

3.       The remote keyswitch (RMT KEY) circuit is closed.

4.       The keyswitch is closed (or set to the ‘On’ position).

 

Unlike the MarkingHeadOn command, ReadyStatus returning a ‘Not Ready’ result does NOT imply that the Fenix outputs are not functioning… the condition is more likely caused by the RMT INT or RMT KEY circuits being open (see the Fenix manual). The Fenix outputs should still be functional and capable of conforming to the ReadyStatus command output states.

Note that OEM heads (FH Index, FH Tracker, FH Smart heads, as well as SH and DH heads) do not electrically monitor the laser’s Ready status, so this command is meaningless unless used with a Fenix marker.

 

Note that WinMark sets or clears the output bit(s) if the Fenix reports that the Ready signal is absent, so this could well be called FenixNOTReady.

Command Details:

DA Card Address    (or PCI Card ID) specifies the location of the interface card whose outputs will be set/cleared by the command’s result. The software typically defaults to the card specified in the Tools/General Settings properties, but other cards may be selected. For ISA cards, this value should be the Decimal equivalent of the Hexadecimal card address.

Output Bit n           defines the desired value of each of the output bits to be set, cleared, or left unchanged (ignored) if the ReadyStatus test produces a False result. Be sure to select output bit(s) that exist on the hardware being used.

SaveProperty, RestoreProperty
Description:
These commands allow you to save and restore a property for a particular object in your mark file. By its very nature, this set of commands lends itself to dynamic data that you want to save at the end of one mark session, then restore at the beginning of the next mark session. Any property of any of the mark file’s objects may be saved and restored.

The data will be contained in a data file given the same name as the mark file but with a ‘.DAT’ file extension.

Example:

This automation will restore, increment, and save a Lot number at the beginning of each mark session:

1.       Add two text objects to the drawing:

a.                   Text1: caption = “ Lot #”

b.                   Text2: caption = “0001”

c.                   Arrange Text1 and Text2 so that they are side by side – “ Lot # 0001”

2.       With the Drawing object selected, open the On Before Mark Session event builder.

3.       Click on the Add button to add a new event command.

4.       Select RestoreProperty as the desired command.

5.       Configure the TO&P: object is Text2, property is Caption.

6.       Click on the Add button to add a new event command.

7.       Select IncSerial as the desired command.

8.       Configure the TO&P: object is Text2, property is Caption.

9.       Click on the Add button to add a new event command.

10.   Select SaveProperty as the desired command.

11.   Configure the TO&P: object is Text2, property is Caption.

 

With the SaveProperty occurring at the beginning of the session (as opposed to at the end of the session using On After Mark Session), the new Lot number is saved even if the mark session is aborted or ends unexpectedly. 

 

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SetDigitalState         
Description:
The SetDigitalState command provides a means to program more sophisticated output signal definitions than can be accomplished using the basic SetDigital… stages in the WinMark automation loop. For instance, you can use the SetDigitalState command, along with a DoPause or two, to generate an output pulse (or pulse train) of very specific timing.

Note that there may be Output bits available to be commanded that don’t actually exist in your hardware configuration. Please refer to your product manuals as well as Technical Bulletin #01, available here, for more information on I/O available on various marking hardware models.

Command Details:

DA Card Address    (or PCI Card ID) specifies the location of the interface card whose outputs will be set/cleared by the command’s result. The software typically defaults to the card specified in the Tools/General Settings properties, but other cards may be selected. For ISA cards, this value should be the Decimal equivalent of the Hexadecimal card address.

Output Bit n           defines the desired value of each of the output bits to be set, cleared, or left unchanged (ignored). Be sure to select output bit(s) that exist on the hardware being used.

WaitDigitalState       
Description:
This command tests the hardware I/O input status and determines whether the inputs match a user defined input pattern. You can specify how much time the command must wait for the defined input condition to be met before generating an error condition. Command Details:

Timeout MSecs      specifies the amount of time, in milliseconds, that the command will wait for the required input condition to be met. By default, this value is set to –1 (wait forever), but can be set to any value from 0 to 1000 seconds. A timeout value of –1 will cause the command to wait indefinitely until the input condition is met (or the ESC key is pressed to abort the mark session).

DA Card Address    (or PCI Card ID) specifies the location of the interface card whose inputs will be monitored. The software typically defaults to the card specified in the Tools/General Settings properties, but other cards may be selected. For ISA cards, this value should be the Decimal equivalent of the Hexadecimal card address. Note that, for FH and Fenix markers, even if the I/O wiring is routed to the marker, the I/O status is recognized as occurring on the FLCC card to which they are connected via the fiberlink.

Input Bit n              specifies, for each input, the input condition required for the software to continue to the next automation stage. If an input bit is set to Ignore, the input’s actual status will have no bearing on the result of the input comparison.

 

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How can I setup my mark file to select one or more of multiple objects to mark?

If you have an application where a single Marking Head must mark different parts within a mark session, you can either use WinMark Pro's ActiveX functions or the serial port automation to change from one mark file to the next ‘on the fly’. If you have a limited number of possible mark files to switch between (up to eight or sixteen) in a single mark session, you can layer all of the objects from the mark files into a single file, then program the automation to mark the correct layer depending on the status of the Marking Head’s input signals.

It is this layering scheme that will be explained here. A file containing three different layers will be created and then automated so that only one of the layers will be marked on each pass through the Mark Loop.

This file automation uses the Match Digital State (MDS) function available in WinMark Pro’s Event Builder (EB) automation tool to mark one of three different objects, depending on the input status of input bits IN1 and IN2. The three objects are all layered on top of each other, using the result of the MDS tests to determine which object will mark. The MDS function works by evaluating the status, high or low, of the input bit(s) defined against the required match values. The MDS assigns a value of FALSE to the selected object and property unless the status of the input bits matches the required pattern, in which case the MDS assigns a value of TRUE to the Target Object and Property.

Configure the Match Digital State layer marking automation as follows:

1.       Open a new mark file.

2.       Place three text objects on the Drawing Canvas. Give each text object a different caption so that the objects can be uniquely identified.

3.       Click any blank area on the Drawing Canvas and select the ‘Automation’ property tab.

4.       Click on the ellipsis button (‘…’) to the right of ‘On Before Mark Piece’ text box to open up the Event Builder window.

5.       Click the ‘Add’ button to add a new command.

6.       Click on the drop down arrow and select ‘MatchDigitalState’.

7.       Set the ‘Timeout Msecs’ property (in the ‘Command Details’ section) to 100ms.

8.       Set the ‘Input Bit 1’ state to ‘Clear – 0’.

9.       Set the ‘Input Bit 2’ state to ‘Set – 1’.

10.   In the ‘Target Object and Property’ frame, select the first of the three text objects as the Target Object, and select ‘Mark Object’ as the Target Property.

11.   Follow steps 5 through 10 to add another Match Digital State command, but set the required input bit state to ‘Input Bit 1’ = ‘Set – 1’, set ‘Input Bit 2’ = ‘Clear – 0’, and select the second text object as the Target Object.

12.   Follow steps 5 through 10 to add a third Match Digital State command, but set the required input bit state to ‘Input Bit 1’ = ‘Set – 1’, set ‘Input Bit 2’ = ‘Set – 1’, and select the third text object as the Target Object.

13.   Click ‘OK’, then save the mark file by clicking on the Save icon, or selecting Save from the ‘File’ menu.

 

Note that the Timeout property of the MDS function determines how many milliseconds WinMark Pro will wait for the input levels to match the required values before returning a value of FALSE to the Target Object and Property. WinMark Pro will continuously check the status of the input(s) until the required levels are met or until the Timeout value expires. As soon as the input levels match the required values, the remaining timeout period is ignored and WinMark Pro advances to the next automation line.

This file is setup so that, provided the status of the input(s) used for the MDS commands are steady during the succession of MDS input evaluations, only one of the MDS commands will set it's target object and property to TRUE. This results in only one object being marked for each pass through the Mark Loop (see the Automation Flowchart found in the WinMark Pro Help menu). To mark each of the three objects in this example, WinMark Pro would have to execute three loops through the automation routine.

This file has been setup so that WinMark Pro goes through the Mark Loop just once in each mark session. Once the MDS automation works as desired, you can then add further automation and set up the mark file to go through the Mark Loop as many times as desired, using the basic automation scheme.

 

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What is ActiveX, and how do I use it?
Overview

WinMark’s ActiveX control provides the highest degree of flexibility in automating your marking process. There are some operations, such as reading data from a spreadsheet or database, or performing conditional logic, or managing external processes, that can only be accomplished by utilizing the ActiveX control.

That’s great, but ‘What is it?’ you ask. (Well, if you’re a software person, you already know what it is. For the rest of us…)

The ActiveX control is essentially a collection of subroutines. ActiveX is a technology provided in certain Windows applications that allows the functionality of one program to be used within another program. It is s the same sort of thing that allows you to embed an Excel spreadsheet into a Word document. With the WinMark ActiveX control, you can embed the WinMark marking functionality into a related control program, like:

      Visual Basic

      Visual C++

      Access

      Excel

      LabView

 

There may be others as well, but these programs have successfully been used to design marking interfaces.

Getting Started

The process of getting started with the WinMark ActiveX control varies with the control software being used:

Visual Basic – this document describes the process of loading the ActiveX control into a VB project and creating a simple marking interface.

Visual C++ – this document describes the steps required for adding or inserting the WinMark Pro ActiveX control into your Visual C++ project.

Excel – this document describes setting up a basic ActiveX application using Microsoft Excel.

 

Using ActiveX, how do I change my font from Stroke to True Type?

By default, all text objects are defined as Stroke font objects. You can change the font to any of the other Stroke fonts by using SetStringProperty on the text object’s StrokeFont property. To change from the Stroke to a True Type font, you must first toggle the binary FontType value (0 = TTF, 1 = Stroke) to select True Type as the FontType, then select the desired font as the TrueTypeFont.

For example, to set the font of object ‘Text1’ to Arial True Type:

mh.SetBoolProperty “Text1”, “FontType”, FALSE

mh.SetStringProperty “Text1”, “StrokeFont”, “Arial”

How do I load multiple files and switch from one to another in ActiveX?

Use the LoadDrawing method to load mark files into the ActiveX control. To load multiple files and then select from the set of loaded files, use the Index property. Note that, while you could reload a file every time it is needed, to do so will use up the Windows GDI Resources which can then lead to software lockup. It is best to load the files once, then index through them to select the desired file. A typical use of the LoadDrawing and MarkDrawing methods and the Index property in Visual Basic is:

mh.DrawingIndex = 0

mh.LoadDrawing “test1.mkh”

mh.DrawingIndex = 1

mh.LoadDrawing “test2.mkh”

mh.DrawingIndex = 2

mh.LoadDrawing “test3.mkh”

mh.DrawingIndex = 0

mh.MarkDrawing

mh.DrawingIndex = 1

mh.MarkDrawing

mh.DrawingIndex = 2

mh.MarkDrawing

 

The first six lines load the three mark files to three index locations. The last six lines of code illustrate how to call up each drawing by index value and then mark it.

 

Why do I have to resize my imported graphic images in WinMark Pro to make them mark properly?

WinMark Pro builds 3090 and below automatically scale imported vector files to fill 66% of the available Drawing Canvas (field size). This behavior was fixed in build 3155, allowing you to scale as Best Fit (66%), 1 to 1, X-axis extents, or Y-axis extents. Either version allows proportional or non-proportional scaling using precise scale values, or by "clicking and dragging", or by using the Object Transformation tool from the WinMark Pro toolbar.

If you would like to upgrade you current version of WinMark Pro, Click here.

 

My Fenix (or FH head) has four inputs and four outputs, but WinMark Pro shows eight of each. What’s up with that?

WinMark Pro’s I/O features provide eight input and six output bits (two of the output bits are reserved for laser control) in order to conform to older products. For specific details on the correlation of the WinMark Pro I/O bits to the hardware capabilities of our marking products, refer to Synrad Technical Bulletin #01, available for download here.

 

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How do I save my custom date codes before upgrading WinMark Pro?

If your .MKH mark files contain saved serial numbers, custom date or shift code definitions, or you are using WinMark Launcher’s Auto Startup feature, please read the following information before upgrading to a newer version of WinMark Pro.

WinMark Pro stores custom date code formats, saved serial numbers, shift code definitions, and Launcher startup information in the Windows Registry rather than in the .MKH mark file. To avoid losing this information, you must save the appropriate Registry keys before upgrading WinMark Pro and then restore that data after installation. Follow the steps described below to save custom date formats and repeat this process for other keys you want to save. Valid Registry key names are:

Custom date codes - UserDateFormats

Shift code definitions - Shift Defines

Saved serial numbers - SavedSerialNumbers

Launcher startup info – Startup

 

DO NOT SAVE AND RESTORE ANY OTHER REGISTRY KEYS! Doing so may affect the functionality of the upgrade. If you have changed WinMark Pro’s global Drawing or Object Defaults (under Tools/General Settings.../Application Settings) with customized values, you must reenter them after the upgrade installation is complete.

NOTE: WinMark Pro versions 4.0.0.3773 and above automatically provide an option to preserve current WinMark Registry settings when performing an upgrade installation.

 

To save Registry information:

1.       Open RegEdit.EXE from the Windows directory.

2.       Click on the '+' sign next to HKEY_CURRENT_USER.

3.       Click on the '+' sign next to Software.

4.       Click on the '+' sign next to Synrad.

5.       Click on the '+' sign next to Synrad WinMark.

6.       Click on the UserDateFormats folder. Verify that your custom date codes are listed in the Name and Data columns to the right.

7.       Go to the Registry menu and select Export Registry File.

8.       Verify that the Selected Branch option is selected in the Export Range group and that the selected branch is:
'HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Synrad\Synrad WinMark\UserDateFormats'.

9.       Type in an appropriate file name (like 'CustomDateCodes') and click on Save.

10.   Repeat Steps 6 through 9 to save shift, serial number, or startup data as required.

11.   Close RegEdit.

 

To uninstall/upgrade WinMark Pro:

1.       Uninstall WinMark Pro, then install the WinMark Pro version upgrade.

2.       Open WinMark Pro, select the marking head and lens type, and then close WinMark Pro.

 

To restore Registry information:

1.       Open RegEdit.

2.       Go to the Registry menu and select Import Registry File.

3.       Select the saved date code file and click OK. You should see a message that the data was successfully imported into the Registry file.

4.       Perform a test mark using a mark file containing one of your custom date formats to verify that date codes are properly formatted.

5.       Repeat Steps 2 through 4 to restore any other saved Registry key data.

 

WinMark Automation Overview.

WinMark’s automation tools provide a sequenced method of controlling mark session automation. WinMark allows control and monitoring of:

1.       Input and output channels on the FLCC and the marking head. (See Technical Bulletin 01, available here, for complete details of the I/O available on the various models of marking heads and FLCCs.)

2.       Data received through the WinMark PC’s RS232 port.

3.       Data entered by the operator.

4.       Internally controlled serial numbers, date and shift codes.

 

The Automation Flowchart, available within WinMark from the Help menu, illustrates the sequence of automation steps:

 

 

WinMark executes the stages in the order given, and loops through from the Set Digital After Mark stage to Set Digital Before Piece stage until the number of pieces marked is equal to the drawing’s Mark Count property. By default, new drawings have their Mark Count property set to one. If Mark Count is set to zero, WinMark will continue through the automation loop indefinitely.

Wait Digital… states act on the inputs of the marking head and/or the Fiber Link Controller Card (FLCC) or D/A card (for SH marking head systems). Unlike the Wait Digital command in the Event Builder, there is no timeout property for the basic Wait Digital… functions – WinMark will wait forever for the input condition to be met. If the condition is not met, the session may be aborted using the ESC key.

Set Digital… states allow control of the outputs of the marking head, FLCC, or D/A card. WinMark will set or clear the output bits and move on. Note that, if the drawing’s Mark Count is set to a value other than one, there is almost no time elapsed between completion of the Set Digital After Mark and the Set Digital Before Piece stages. If an input is toggled from one state to the other in these two stages, a PLC or other type of controller might not even detect the change in output status that took place in the Set Digital After Mark stage. See the basic automation description here for a recommended I/O approach.

Input and Output bit numbers in WinMark correspond with the input and output numbers for your marking hardware. For instance, Output bit 7 within WinMark will control OUT7 on the FH marking head, IN3 on the FH marking head will be interpreted as Input bit 3 within WinMark. Note that, since the WinMark software supports all existing marking head products, the Wait Digital… and Set Digital… states may show I/O bits that are not supported on your marking hardware. For more information on which I/O are available on your marking hardware, refer to the marking head manual or see Technical Bulletin 01, available here.

On Before… and On After… stages use the Event Builder   tool. These stages provide the flexibility to build up a chain of commands.

Coupling the basic Wait Digital and Set Digital stages with WinMark’s Auto Text functions and the Event Builder stages, most any sort of automation scheme may be developed. For branching and conditional logic, though, you may need to consider using the WinMark ActiveX control.

 

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Why is my Flyer head hissing at me?

First of all, it’s not personal. The Flyer head uses a new digital servo control loop that is constantly correcting the mirror positions while the head is booted up and sitting idle. The hissing you hear is due to the single bit correction going on, and is completely normal. 

 

Should I use the Ethernet or USB port to run my Flyer head?

We included USB and Ethernet ports on the Flyer head because of the pro’s and con’s of both:

 

Pros

Cons

USB

·                   Plug and Play is handy to get marker up and running quickly

·                   Standard in on all modern PCs

·                   Very susceptible to electrical noise

·                   Maximum cable length is 12 feet

·                   Peer to peer connections only

·                   Less responsive if Flyer is running in Stand Alone mode

 

Ethernet

·                   Extremely durable to electrical noise

·                   Supports very long cable runs

·                   Multiple markers may be networked together

·                   Response not affected by Stand Alone marking

 

·                   Requires some setup

·                   May require adding a network card to the PC

 

 

Initially, we had some problems with 0.1 – 0.2 second mark latency through the Ethernet connection, but this was resolved in an early build of Flyer firmware 2.0x. The communications overhead between Ethernet and USB are identical.

 

Overall, the Ethernet port is MUCH more durable and immune to electrical noise than the USB port. We recommend that you use the USB port only for setup of the marker or for infrequent lab use. The Ethernet port is recommended for all industrial customers.

 

Why does WinMark open in demo mode?

With the introduction of the Ethernet communications to the Flyer marking head comes the advantage that multiple heads,  connected through a single network, may be monitored by any WinMark PC on that network. This provides a great deal of flexibility to customers running multiple systems in plant environment, in that an operator need not walk out onto the floor to setup a new job on a marker… this can be done remotely through any WinMark PC on the network.

 

This flexibility requires a simple rule: a single marking head may be controlled by only one process (WinMark, Launcher, DigiScope, or an ActiveX interface) at a time. This makes sense as you wouldn’t want multiple processes sending conflicting commands to a single head at one time.

 

If you open WinMark and get the demo mode window, check to see if:

1.       The marking head is not powered up and ready (boot up takes 30 seconds) - check the status LEDs on the marker:

a.       Flyer head: Power and Status LEDs should be green.

b.       Fenix Flyer: Ready should be green, Lase should be dim red.

2.       The PC is not connected to any heads:

a.       If you are using the USB port, try a different port on the PC. If the Flyer head serial number is new to the PC, be sure to give it a chance to load the USB driver before opening Winmark.

b.       If you are using the Ethernet port, check the cable connections and network status.

3.       There is a process still open, tying up the Flyer head. Open Task Manager and ensure that there aren’t any Flyer related processes listed in the Applications or Processes windows. If in doubt, reboot the PC and see if WinMark recognizes the head.

 

If you get to this point and can’t find the problem, check out the general Flyer troubleshooting steps here, or the Fenix Flyer troubleshooting steps here. 

 

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How do I test the status of the Flyer I/O?

Be sure to close any other Flyer processes – WinMark, the Launcher window, or any custom marking software you are using – and open the Digital Scope utility.

1.       Be sure that the correct head type and serial number are shown in the ‘CARD’ drop down box.

2.       Inputs and outputs on the marker correspond directly to the bit numbers:

a.       Output bit 0 = OUT0.

b.       Input bit 0 = IN0.

3.       Toggle an output by clicking on the appropriate Output button. If the button is depressed, the output is closed.

4.       View the status of inputs. If the input button is depressed, the input is on.

 

What do I need to do to replace my older marking head with a Flyer?

If you are replacing an FH Index or FH Tracker head with an FH Flyer, download this Technical Bulletin.

If you are replacing an FH Smart head with an FH Flyer, download this Technical Bulletin.

If you are replacing an Fenix marker with a Fenix Flyer, download this Technical Bulletin.

 

How do I enable the Fast Acting Safety Interlock on the Flyer or Fenix Flyer?

The FASI function is enabled by accessing a DIP switch package on the control board inside the Flyer head.

 

If you are using a FH Flyer head, you can find the FASI setup instructions in the current FH Flyer manual, available for download here.

 

If you are using a Fenix Flyer marker, contact us at support@winmark.com or give us a call at 425 349 3500, between the hours of 8AM and 5PM Pacific time and we’ll send you the directions. 

 

What is different about the ActiveX control in WinMark v5 and v6?

Most of the methods, properties and events from the WinMark v1-4 ActiveX control were carried forward into the v5/v6 ActiveX control. We have a while paper available here that describes the methods, properties and events added to the old control to support Flyer. We also have sample code available for download on our WinMark site. 

 

One other major change was required when we transitioned WinMark over to support the .NET framework: all Boolean return values had to be changed over to Integer return values. Please see the sample code available for download on our WinMark site. 

 

What can and cannot be done in Stand Alone mode?

The Flyer head is capable of doing many of the things that WinMark does:

1.       Serial number and date code automation, using standard WinMark automation features and Flyer’s real time clock.

2.       Reading data values from text files on a network share.

3.       Marking 1D and 2D barcodes, including composite codes.

 

The Flyer can also do some things that aren’t so easy with WinMark:

1.       Change from one mark to another based on the status of the marker’s inputs.

2.       Mark using the same RS232 commands that were used with the FH Smart head (with the addition of a RS232/Ethernet convertor).

3.       Support marking control through a PLC interface using Modbus Ethernet interface.

 

The Flyer has evolved quite a bit since it first went into production and continues to do so. For the current Flyer capabilities, be sure to check the latest Flyer manual here.

 

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What is the difference between SA mode and Tethered mode?

When marking from WinMark, also known as tethered mode, it is the WinMark software that converts the mark image into vectors which are then transmitted to the Flyer head for marking.

When marking in stand alone (SA) mode, the mark image itself is downloaded to the Flyer head, where the conversion to vector data takes place.

In most cases, the mark cycle time is considerably shorter when marking in SA mode, since there is less computation required in the PC and the image data contains fewer bytes than the vector data. 

What is the Flyer Filestore?

The Flyer filestore is FLASH memory allocated to the storage of mark files. You can view the contents of the filestore in WinMark by clicking on the View menu and selecting ‘Flyer Files’.

How do I configure the Flyer to mark in SA mode?

Jumping right into SA marking can be a daunting task. The following process is a fairly gentle introduction to SA marking, but if anything goes really wrong and you can’t get the head to talk to WinMark, remember that you can force the Flyer head to boot up into the idle state by holding down the Test Mark button on the head while it is booting up.

To get going with SA mode:

1.       Start the process in tethered mode:

a.       Keep the mark count at 1, firing one mark at a time on a test piece.

b.       Develop your mark file, get the mark parameters all dialed in so that you are happy with the mark results.

c.       Develop and debug your I/O automation scheme. Use the DigiScope utility to troubleshoot your signal wiring as needed.

d.       Set your mark count to 10 to double check the operation of your automation loop. What happens if your trigger input gets stuck on? What happens if the I/O wiring comes unplugged from the Flyer head?

2.       When everything is working to your satisfaction in tethered mode:

a.       Set the Mark Count back to 1.

b.       Open the Flyer properties page by right clicking on the mark button.

c.       Scroll down the list of properties until you find the ‘Standalone Marking’ property. Set this to Yes and click the OK button.

d.       Notice that the starburst icon has turned from red to blue. This is your primary indication that the head is in standalone mode.

e.       Check to see if the Standalone toolbar is visible at the top of the WinMark window. If it is not, click on the View menu, select Draw Tools and click in the check box next to the Standalone toolbar.

f.         With your mark file visible in WinMark, click on the leftmost button in the Standalone toolbar. This will download the file to Flyer mark RAM and cause it to mark immediately.

g.       Modify the file as needed to fine tune the mark performance to your wishes, then set the Mark Count to your desired lot count and click on the right most button in the Standalone toolbar. This will save the file to the Flyer FLASH memory for permanent storage in the head. Check to see if the file is shown in the Filestore window.

h.       Double click on the file name in the Filestore window to load the file into Flyer mark RAM. Note that you can hover the mouse pointer over the mark button and see a quick link showing the currently loaded file.

i.         Left click on the mark button to open the mark window and click on the ‘Start – F1’ button. Note that the head starts the marking session. If you have automation defined in the file, you will need to provide the required I/O activity to see the head fire the mark.

j.         Click on the ‘Stop Marking’ or the ‘Abort’ button (depending on your WinMark build) and verify that the mark session is terminated.

k.       Start another mark session and verify that you can also terminate the session by pressing on the ESC key.

l.         Start another mark session, close the mark window and the drawing editor window and verify that the head is still in the marking session.

m.     Open WinMark again and verify that the software finds the Flyer head and shows the mark button with a blinking blue icon.

n.       Click on the mark button, hit the ESC key and verify that the Flyer head has aborted the mark session.

3.       Now that you are fairly comfortable with marking in tethered and SA mode, set up the head as needed:

a.       Do you always want to mark the same file when the marker is started up every day? If so, right click on the mark file name as it is listed in the Filestore window and select ‘Set as MarkOnStartup’. This will load the file and initiate marking whenever the Flyer head is powered up.

b.       Do you want to use the Flyer’s inputs to automatically select the desired mark file from your collection of files in the Filestore? If so, check out the Master Control File setup information in the Flyer manual.

c.       Do you want to use the Modbus comms to allow your PLC or PC to update the mark file from mark to mark? If so, check out the Modbus setup information located here.

d.       Do you want to use the WinMark ActiveX control to allow your PC to update the mark file from mark to mark? If so, check out the ActiveX SA features in the WinMark Help/Synrad WinMark ActiveX Help menu.

 

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Why can’t I see the head properties or the filestore contents when I open WinMark?

This typically means that the head is in a stand alone mark session and will not send all of this data to WinMark because it is busy. Click on the mark button and press the ESC key to abort the session, then close the marking interface window and try refreshing the head properties and/or the Filestore window.

What is a Network File Share and how do I use it?

In addition to reading MKH files from its own filestore, the Flyer can also be configured to load files from a shared folder setup on a network to which the Flyer is connected via it’s Ethernet port. This feature provides several features:

·         A set of ‘official’ files may be used by multiple Flyer heads.

·         The shared folder provides another level of security to prevent the files from being accidentally altered.

·         A new Flyer head may be placed on the network and have instant access to files without going through the process of downloading each file into the head.

·         Text files as well as MKH files may be located on the network share for the purpose of reading in automated string and numerical values.

 

To setup the network share and the Flyer head to make use of this feature,

1.       Setup the network share folder:

a.       Create a folder on the network.

b.       Configure the Sharing and Security options for the folder. Note the Share Domain, Name, Server IP address, Username and Password for the folder

2.       Setup the network share properties in the Flyer:

a.       Pull up the Flyer properties page.

b.       Scroll down the properties to find the Share Name and enter the name of the share folder.

c.       Enter the IP address of the PC on which the share folder is located.

d.       Enter the share folder’s network Domain name.

e.       Enter the Username and Password information setup for the network share in step 1.

f.         Click on the Apply button and verify that the Network Share Available property reads Yes.

3.       If you will be reading files from the network share for Mark on Startup or using the Master Control File automation, be sure to add the prefix ‘/network’ to the filenames. For instance, if you have a file names ‘MyFile.mkh’ on the network share that you want loaded when the Flyer head boots up, enter ‘/network/MyFile.mkh’ into the Startup Drawing property in the Flyer head.

 

What is Radial Marking and how do I use it?

The Radial Marking feature provides synchronization of bitmap marking with an external parts handler.

 

For instance, to mark a bitmap around the circumference of a cylinder, the Flyer head:

1.       marks a single raster line of the bitmap

 

 

What is Banner Marking and how do I use it?

Banner marking takes our Tracking feature (marking products while they are moving) a step further: an image much larger than WinMark’s drawing canvas can be split into sections and marked as successive ‘tiles’. For instance, if you want to mark a 2 metertext-indent:-.25in;mso-list:l75 level1 lfo88; tab-stops:list .5in'> 2.       sets or clears an output to indicate that the part may be stepped to the next raster line position

3.       waits for an input from the parts handling equipment to indicate the part is in position

4.       repeats steps 1 – 3 unit the entire bitmap image is marked

 

The mark resolution, length of the bitmap and other mark properties may be set to perfectly stitch a bitmap pattern around the object. You can view a video of Radial Marking being used to mark PVC tube here.

 

Note that Radial Marking can be used on objects that aren’t necessarily cylindrical… if your parts handling setup can keep the part in the center of the mark field and within focus, objects of any size and shape may be marked this way.

 

The full write-up of long image on a continuous web, you can do this using the banner marking option.

 

We have a very nice white paper on banner marking here.

 

What is Modbus and how do I use it?

This feature makes it possible to control a Flyer head that is operating in stand alone mode using a PLC or other Modbus capable controller. You can view all of the details of our Modbus interface here.

 

What is the Master Control File and how do I use it?

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to use the Flyer’s I/O to select which mark file to mark in stand alone mode?

 

Yes it would.

 

Can you do this??

 

Yes, you can, with the master control file feature.

 

Create all of the files you want to mark, download them to the Flyer head and follow the directions in the Flyer manual to run in MCF mode. Enjoy.

 

 


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