ABS Software - FAQ

In an effort to better serve our clients, we've included this section on the most frequently asked questions while using the ABS Software. The questions are divided into the groups listed below:

General

Q: How do I set up a new ABS Software client/user?

A: Please refer to Section II of the System Administrator's Guide (pdf).

Q: Where can I find the layouts of the ABS Software data files?

A: Download ABSLayouts.pdf

Q: What is the program password for ABS, and/or how do I change passwords in ABS Software?

A: Contact your Systems Administrator for ABS Software password information.

Systems Administrators: Refer to the ABS Software Systems Administrator's Guide under "Configuring ABS" for password information.

Q: Why do I get the message "This feature is not available for your user number" when I try to access certain ABS Software programs?

A: Your ABS Software user number is probably 50 or higher (displayed at the bottom of the ABS Software main menu screen), and you're considered a "Non-Privileged" user. If your user number is lower than 50 and you cannot access the ABS Software Utilities program G (View/Set ABS.INI Values) or program S (Shell to DOS), then Special Option #73 (Restrict Access to ABSINI program and DOS Shell) has been activated. Your ABS Software user number and program access capabilities are established by your Systems Administrator, not by Keystone Systems. Contact your Systems Administrator for more information. See Section I of the System Administrator's Guide (pdf) for more information

Q: I just installed a new ABS.KSI key file, and now I receive the following error as soon as I try to run ABS:

A: This error message indicates that the attribute for the ABS.KSI file is set to "read only". The "read only" attribute must be cleared from this file before ABS Software can properly function. Refer to the Step 3 of the System Administrator's Guide (pdf) ("Copy the ABS Software Software from the CD") for more information.

Q: Can I bypass the ABS Software main menu and run individual programs via a Windows icon/shortcut?

A: Yes. Please refer to the System Administrator's Guide (pdf) for details.

Q: Can we interface ABS Software to our in-house MRP/ERP System?

A: In most cases, yes. Please refer to Interfacing the ABS Software to an In-House MRP/ERP System for details.

Directory Editor

Q: Can I change the case of elements in ABS Software? For example, can I switch from FE to Fe? Can I change the sequence of elements?

A: Yes, ABS Software supports changing the case of elements. To change all occurrences of FE to Fe, you must do the following:

  1. Activate the Directory Editor (main menu selection "A") and select the "Change" function. The elements dialog will then be displayed.
    1. Delete the existing symbol "FE" from the Master Directory
    2. Re-enter the new symbol "Fe", in the case desired
    3. Click on "OK" to quit and save the change.
  2. Activate the ABS Software Utilities (main menu selection "U").
    1. Activate program "A" (QC - Material Data Files), select "All of the Above Files", and click on "OK"
    2. Next, activate program "B" (QC - Grade Files), and click on "OK"
    3. When finished, click on or enter "Z" to return to the main ABS Software menu

    To change the sequence of elements (for example, to change C, S, P, MN to C, MN, S, P), follow the same procedure. When changing the sequence of elements, make certain that you have re-entered all of the elements you removed before you activate the ABS Software Utility programs. If you omit any elements, they will be dropped when the utility functions are performed.

Grade/Alloy Editor

Q: I created a grade/alloy record today and made several changes to it, but none of these changes appear on the grade history report.

A: Changes made to a grade/alloy record on the same day it is created are not logged. Activity logging does not begin until the following day.

Q: How do I change grade/alloy restrictions?

A: Permanently changing grade/alloy restrictions is accomplished via the Grade Editor's "Change" function. You can also temporarily change restrictions while running the MIX and TAP programs.

Q: How do I change grade/alloy aims?

A: Permanently changing grade/alloy aims is accomplished via the Grade Editor's "Change" function. You can also temporarily change aims while running the MIX and TAP programs.

Q: How do I control the total amount of residual or "tramp" constituents and/or represent special non-metallic constituents in a grade/alloy specification?

A: Please refer to Technical Bulletin #6, Special Elemental Symbols for complete details.

Q: I need to enter 12 elements for a new grade/alloy record, but there is only space for 10. What do I do?

A: You may need to purchase more elements for ABS Software. Please contact us for more information.

MIX/TAP

Q: I have 5,000 materials in a material file, yet when I perform a least cost charge, only 1,200 materials are selected as candidates.

A: The MIX program can only select 1,200 materials for any given heat/charge. Ideally, materials should be grouped into various files according to the grades they would be used in (i.e., Alloy, Turning, etc.).

Q: I have a certain class of material restricted for use in my grade specifications file (0 min, 0 max values) yet when I perform a least cost charge for that grade, materials from this class are selected as candidates.

A: As stated in the previous answer, materials should be grouped into various files (Alloy, Turning, etc.) according to the grades they would be used in. If you have already entered all of your materials into one file but assigned different class codes, set Special Option #49 (Reject Max Zero Class Restrictions) in your Master Directory to "YES." This option, along with class restriction of 0 min and 0 max, will restrict the entire class(s) from being selected as candidates.

Q: Why doesn't the MIX (or TAP) program select certain materials for a calculation?

A: After designing a charge (or additions) calculation that does not select a certain material that you feel it should have, first look at the Interrogate Report - if the material is not on this report, then look at the Shadow Pricing Report - even though the material's price per pound is low, it may not be attractive for this particular calculation.

In addition, there are several fields in a material record to review to help determine why a material is not selected for a calculation. These include:

  • Unit weight - If a unit weight above 1 is specified, the program may have wanted to use less than the unit weight specified. This information would be shown on the Unit Constraints Report.
  • Cost - The price may be too high, making the material undesirable.
  • Material Usage Code - If the usage code is set to "I" or "F" (or both) then this material cannot be used in a charge calculation, only in an additions calculation. Likewise, if the usage code is "C", then this material can only be used in a charge calculation, not in any additions calculations.
  • Minimum Solve Lbs. (Kgs.) - If a minimum solve weight is entered and the optimum solution is less than this value, then the material won't be used.
  • Available for Use - If "N-o" has been entered in this field, then the material will not be considered for any calculations.
  • Furnace Codes - If a furnace code(s) is specified, then this material can only be used in calculations for that furnace(s).
  • Quantity Available - There may not be sufficient quantity available for use.

If all of these fields appear correct, then review the elemental aims, restrictions, recoveries, etc. in relation to the material's chemistry.

Q: What is the basis for the restricted maximum weight on the Material Candidates/Restrictions screen?

A: The restricted maximum weight is based upon the lesser of the following:

  1. Chemistry Limit, or
  2. Class Restriction Limit, or
  3. Material Restriction set in the Grade/Alloy Restrictions, or
  4. Maximum Weight restriction imposed on itself, or
  5. Amount Available, or
  6. Unit Weight Restriction

The reason for a restriction is indicated in the material's "controlling factor". To view the controlling factor on the Material Candidates/Restrictions screen, highlight the material in question and press F5.

An asterisk (*) beside a material indicates a user-imposed restriction. Restrictions can be imposed as follows:

  1. In the Material record itself, when the Maximum Usage Percentage is indicated as any number less than 100.
  2. In the Grade/Alloy record's restrictions, as a Material Restriction or a Class Restriction.

A pound sign (#) beside a material indicates an ABS-imposed restriction. ABS Software will only modify the minimum or maximum values of a material if:

  1. The material is a unit weight or minimum weight material and;
  2. The material was actually selected for the optimum solution during one of the optimization passes.

When selected, ABS Software will adjust the minimum and maximum amount to the nearest unit weight as determined by the material's unit weight or maximum weight value.

Q: How are unit weight materials handled by ABS Software when calculating a charge?

A: Please refer to Technical Bulletin #3, Processing Unit Weight Materials for complete details.

Q: What is the "Grade/Alloy Diversion Process" in ABS Software?

A: Please refer to Technical Bulletin #8, Grade/Alloy Diversion Process for complete details.

Q: How do I change the default aims on the first TAP screen from Final to Intermediate?

A: To change the default aims from Final to Intermediate, you must pass the parameter -i when activating the TAP program. For example, if TAP is activated via a desktop icon, add -i to the command line on the program tab (i.e.,Cmd. Line: k:\task\wtap.exe -i).

Inventory Control

Q: How do I correct my Usage Report when the heat/charge is no longer reserved?

A: Activate the Inventory-Usage function (choice I from the main menu, then choice U). Enter the heat/charge number you want to record usage for (MARS users can press CTRL+F2 for a list of historical heats). A message will appear stating "Heat/Charge number entered is not reserved. Do you want to process a manually prepared or standard heat/charge?" Enter "Y" to continue and enter the consumption information. When finished, press ESC to exit, and enter "Y" to each subsequent prompt to update your data files.

Q: Is it possible to only allow valid materials to be entered when recording usage information for a heat/charge?

<>A: Yes. Custom Option #8 was developed just for this purpose. Contact your Systems Administrator to activate this option in the CUSTOM.KSI file. Please refer to Technical Bulletin #9 for complete details.

Q: I need to enter six ingots. All six have the same chemistry - the only difference is the size and ingot number (lot number). Is it possible to enter these without re-typing all the information each time?

A: Yes, if Master Directory Special Option #77 (Duplicate Previous Receipt When Name is the Same) is activated. This option will automatically duplicate the previous record, except for the lot number and weight.

Q: Is it possible to make sweeping changes to material records?

A: Yes. Please refer to Technical Bulletin #10 for complete details.

Q: Is it possible to construct a composite chemistry for a material?

A: Yes. Please refer to Technical Bulletin #11 for complete details.

Q: Is there a way to set the unit quantity equal to the available quantity for every material weight entered?

A: Yes, if you are using the "AVERAGE" material feature of ABS Software. Set the unit weight of the "AVERAGE" material to zero. When the material is entered, the unit weight will automatically be set to the weight entered. Please refer to Technical Bulletin #2 for complete details.