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Excel Data sheets

Is there a way to have Met/Cal place the calibration report in a pre-formatted excel spreadsheet? In this way the data sheet will look the same for all instruments, whether it is entered manually in a spreadsheet, or run automated in Met/Cal.

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William (Bill) Spath

I am not sure I understand this question fully, but if you are asking if MET/CAL can generate an Excel Spreadsheet as the certificate then the answer is no.  You could make a Crystal Report that looks the same as an Excel spreadsheet, then when it prints it would "look" the same.

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Michael Sandel

To be clearer, I have a template in excel. I would like to have the data from Met/Cal placed into this template. It looks like doing this with Crystal Reports would be much simpler, though.

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Michael Schwartz

I think a better Design Patter to driver MET/CAL from an Excel file than to rely MET/CAL and the operator to press the Repeat / Cancel keys correctly and get the desired report for crystal.  Plus you can design the Excel file to have the As Found test points right next to the As Left test points.

Plus it’s far easier to make a tweak to an Excel Spread sheet compared to Crystal Report.  Not to mention the user install base of Excel compared to Crystal Reports.

AND, If you don’t have the required standards you can always preform the calibration manually.

msandel, I think you are on the right track.

 

 

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Scott Prieskop

Sounds to me like he is asking if there is a way to set up a MATH WRITE( ) statement to write to an excel sheet instead of a text file. I never could figure out how to do it, so for the times I need MET/CAL results on an excel sheet, I pull up the report in Crystal Reports, then click the export icon in the upper left corner of the preview screen, select "Microsoft Excel (97-2003) Data-Only (*.xls)" from the "Save As Type:" dropdown, and save the raw data. Then I open the sheet in Excel then cut'n'paste away...

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Joakim Spångberg

I have not yet experimented myself with the LIB FSC but from watching the sample projects that were installed with MetCal 8.x there are two samples that demonstrates MetCal writing and reading to / from Excel spreadsheets.

It would be quite some work to re-work and add all the result lines to be imported into an Excel spreadsheet and not something that I would justify economically when you can do quite much with Crystal Reports but if one truly wants to have an Excel spreadsheet as the certificate to get one and the same for all calibrations/verifications I'd think it's doable.

But as I said, I have not yet myself touched the LIB FCS so I might be wrong in this. Please correct me if I am.

- Joakim Spångberg

 

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Chad D.

Another element to consider is printing historical cal records.  How will this be accomplished if procedure results are written to Excel spreadsheets on the fly?  Crystal Reports can be ran against any cal record in the database, and can be exported to Excel if desired.

-Chad

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Patrick Butler

That makes perfect sense Chad. If you bypass puttng data where it belongs in the database, you won't be able to recreate it or retreive it for later analysis. Furthermore, a lot of quality systems require retention of original observations. MET/CAL and MET/TEAM or MET/BASE are the original observations.

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Joakim Spångberg

Even if you put the results in a spreadsheet on the fly they should also be saved in the database, no? They can then be found and extracted with Crystal Reports for example, history records. Not saying that it is an good solution but the values should still be saved in the database.

As has been mentioned. The companies quality system has to be taken into account and I think the easiest and most safe and secure way is to use Crystal Reports to create the certificates even if it results in that the customer can get  two different looking certificates for different instruments.

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Michael Schwartz

A database is just one example of a persistence storage mechanism.  Dynamically created Excel files and saving them to a hard drive is another.  The only thing that makes one method better than the other is related to the use case.  Both have advantage and disadvantages.

As a programmer I like my get out of jail free card, so I would put the data in both the database and Excel.  This would give me the best of both worlds.  I agree with Joakim.. If you can do both!

I look at ScottBP post and ask why.  When I see complex non-automated steps in a calibration process, I want to ask “What is the Use Case here?”  What are you trying to do that you have to cut and paste away.

Then I look at Crystal Reports vs Excel, I see both of them as a View of the persisted data.  Both have advantages and disadvantages.  (Yes. Right back to the Use Case!)

If you dynamically created you Excel File and saved it to a password protected file system and tagged it as Read Only.  You have the Data and the View of the data stored together.  If you were to track the file with a Check Sum you would know if it has ever been changed.

If you use same Crystal Report and no-one changes the data in your database.  Then you will get the same View of the exact same data.  But the report file and the data in your database can be independently modified.  For example, if you changed your quality system from A2LA to ACLASS.  Then updated your Crystal Reports certification, if you were to reprint a calibration certificate from a year ago it would have the ACLASS logo not the A2LA logo.

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Scott Prieskop

My intentions are to get data from a procedure and onto an Excel spreadsheet for the purposes of making control charts. We are doing weekly spot checks on our calibrators; and while we're using MET/CAL to record the data, it would be nice if it would automatically insert the readings onto the graph (instead of the export-cut-paste operation I mentioned above). It seems there was a paper presented a while back that gave an overview on control charting temperature equipment with MET/CAL. If I remember correctly, it involved running SQL scripts, which to me would seem no more automated than cutting and pasting.

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Lars Andersson

You're not the only one Scott. Actually, Fluke once had a great package called MetStat that I had the opportunity to play with. It did everything you could ask for. With the LIB FSC & clever procedures it certainly would be possible to generate same kind of control charts, predicted OOT dates etc. And since the launch of the new 5730, re-vitalizing the Artifact Cal concept again, why don't we ask Fluke EVT to step-up for the challenge?

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Scott Prieskop

Yes, that's it. It has an example of how to pull the data into an Excel sheet via a SQL script, but upon reading further down, it refers to a special control chart tool written by the Primary Standards Lab for automating the process. That's what I'm looking to do. Is the control chart tool something they would be willing to share, or at least provide some details on how it works, what programming language they used to create the tool, etc.?

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Nicholas Mason

Unfortunately we are not willing to share the source code.  However I am willing to answer questions beyond what is provided in the paper.

 

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Scott Prieskop

I can understand not sharing the source code (intellectual property and all that); I probably wouldn't understand it anyway. At the moment Excel is the only way I know how to gather statistics to make a control chart of anything (and like the old saying goes, if the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.) Outside of Excel, what would be the best way to do it? Is the tool a stand-alone application programmed from scratch (in Visual Basic, C++, Java, etc.), or did you use a canned statistical package (e.g. MATLAB)?

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Nicholas Mason

There really isn't a "best way" as there are many different items that feed into that. Since you are familar with Excel that would be the 'best way" for you to accomplish this today.  Excel does have a built-in language (VBA) and I've seen some good stuff created that way.

I have many years of programming experience so our tool is created from scratch using C# on Microsoft Windows.

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Scott Prieskop

All I need to do now is figure out how to do it with MET/TEAM... Different animal altogether.

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Nicholas Mason

The key is figuring out how to tie the same kind of results together across different calibrations.  This is discussed in the Gathering Data section of the paper. 

Our solution was to tag the data by taking over the test_step2 field in the full results table in MET/TRACK.   MET/TEAM works with MET/CAL so the MET/CAL procedure code listed in the paper should still work. I don't know where it ends up in MET/TEAM - which is key to getting this to work.

 

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