Unisys Corporation is one of the world's largest leading
custom High-End computer systems manufacturers

The work I performed for Unisys Corporation has been one of the greater challenges of my recent career.  Unisys processes custom orders that have many configurations, frequently sharing a basic drawing of the general layout. My job was to create two major components to reduce the time between specification and delivery. My understanding is that Unisys now uses these two applications daily with the Presenter Server servicing 100 workstations 24 hours a day.

I first developed an application called the Designer, Click to enlarge a drawing program that gives the engineers the capability to construct detailed layout drawings usually only found in the Visual Basic environment itself.  Engineers now create these layouts putting multiple slot representations into multi-component frame cabinets. The drawing environment supports resizing, grouping, annotation, as well as the ability to specify component drilldown, place additional .DWG, .BMP, .WMF graphics onto a form, and save all work to a database. In order to reuse a base layout drawing with multiple configurations, I devised a separation and linking of layout and specific component lists, previously thought to be inseparable. Setting the properties of the custom Thing control is accomplished through a popup properties page shown on the Designer page. A "Sharpen feature automatically aligns all controls to adjacent controls to pixel perfect sharpness.

Click to see custom properties pageThe custom "Thing" ActiveX control shown at the left is designed to accept NESW orientations, smart resizing, dynamic user selected database fields, plus a drill down button. With some other VB controls (Picturebox, Image, Textbox, Label and Command button),  I constructed an In-Form floating Toolbox full of drawing tools.

The second major component component,  the PresenterSvr, Click to enlarge reads the databased drawings instructions with their object locations and annotations.  I then reconstruct the engineering drawing on a VB form to give the visual directions to guide the shop floor assembler person on how to put the custom order together. In addition, they needed to be able to edit the configuration at presentation runtime, save those edits and then reuse those edits in subsequent orders using  the same drawing(s).

I first created an ActiveX 'Thing' control to replace the programmer's button and picture box combination used for slot representation in the previous incarnation of the project. I added many custom properties to the 'Thing' control, thus encapsulating pointers and database references to support the runtime slot information.