Basic Combiner Use
In this video, we’re going to show you how to use the combiner object.
Start by adding two sources, four queues, a combiner object, a conveyor, and a sink and arrange them like you see in the video. Connect the topmost source to the topmost queue, which connects downstream through the combiner and ends at the sink. Then connect the bottommost source to each of the other three queues, which will each connect to the combiner.
When packing items with a combiner, input port one provides the container item, such as a pallet or crate. The topmost source and queue, which were connected first, will perform this task, and will funnel pallets into the combiner. Double-click to open the properties window of the topmost source (or use its Quick Properties) to choose Pallet from the FlowItem Class drop-down menu. Click OK to save and close the window.
The other source will be creating boxes for the packing process. Open its properties window, go to the Triggers tab, and add OnCreation trigger logic. Set the behavior for the trigger to be Set Itemtype and Color, found in the Data section. By default, this logic sets one of three unique item type and color combinations for the boxes, and since we have three queues, the default settings will work just fine for our model. Now, go to the Flow tab and change the Send To Port option to By Expression, which by default will route our colored boxes to the appropriate queue based on item type. Click OK to close the window.
The combiner is set to pack items by default, but if you open the combiner’s properties window and go to the Combiner tab, you’ll notice that there are three entries in the components list from input ports 2, 3 and 4. Here we can change the target quantity from each input port, specifying how many of each item we want in the pack. Change the Target Quantity to “2” for each of the entries, then click OK to close the window. This means that for each pallet that enters the combiner, we need two of each of our colored boxes to create a complete pack.
Pack is not the only Combiner mode available. There are two other combining modes: Join and Batch. In Join mode, all the items that enter the processor are joined into one single item. Items that come in through any port except port 1 are destroyed or recycled after the combiner is finished processing, leaving only the single item from port 1 behind to represent the newly joined items. In Batch mode, the combiner processes all items together as one batch, without actually combining the items together; once processing is complete, all items are simply released.
Click Reset and Run the model. A pallet will be loaded onto the combiner and colored boxes will begin to be packed onto the pallet. Once two of each box has entered the combiner, the pack will be processed for a few seconds before being sent to the conveyor and out of the system. The most important thing to remember about the combiner object is that whatever object is connected to its first input port will provide the items that all other items are packed onto.
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