One of the biggest productivity features for many Bluehill® users is Linked Choice Inputs. In addition to reducing manual data entry time and errors, you can replace 100s of test methods with just one method with linked choice inputs.
Choice inputs provide users with a preconfigured list of options that minimize data entry time and reduce the risk of error for commonly used inputs, such as operator name, color, or specimen type. Additionally, each choice can be linked with other parameters, such as test rate or dimensions.
You can use a choice input if you have a fixed number of options for a parameter and you want the operator to select one of these options from a drop-down list rather than typing the information into the input field. For example, if there are three types of specimens being tested (red, green, and blue), you can create a choice input named “color” that has “red”, “green” and “blue” as selections in the drop-down list. During testing, the operator only needs to select the type of specimen being tested.
Exclusive Instron Bluehill Feature: Linked Choice Inputs
Even more useful is linking test parameters to each choice. If linked, the method automatically changes test parameters based on the operator’s selection. Some common parameters to link include test speed, preload force, and specimen dimensions - but any numerical parameters important to your test can be linked. Linked choice inputs can be especially valuable if you use multiple test methods that are nearly identical, except for one or two key parameters.
Linked choice inputs allow laboratories to create a single test method with multiple choice lists where each choice automatically sets other test parameters, such as a different test speed. For example, one method can have one hundred suppliers as a choice list and each supplier selected can change test settings and parameters based on that supplier. This enables labs to use one test method instead of having to create one hundred methods to do the same tasks.
If you want an operator to select one of the options in a choice input before each specimen is tested, add that choice input to the Operator Inputs component of the test workspace.
If you are using a prompted test, add the choice input to the step in the sequence where you want the operator to select an input.
Using a choice input, rather than a manually entered number input or text input, simplifies the task for the operator and ensures that the information is consistent in spelling and format.
What makes it even more powerful is the ability to link various linked choices together with Bluehill’s Expression Builder enabling the user to embed logic for test control and calculations in a very a simple way. Examples include going to a specific preload at test start or, with the new Instron 6800 series, setting the fixture separation with Auto Positioning before tests.
Linked Choice Inputs Benefits:
- Productivity - save time from having to look up input information when running tests
- Save time and storage from having to create multiple test methods using just one test method with choice inputs
- Eliminates operator typing errors
- Eliminates errors in setting up test parameters
- Makes testing easier and less stressful for operator
- Minimizes operator training
User-defined Choices Lists can appear in Sample or Specimen Input Panes:
Example: Choosing “Parker Industries” automatically changes the Color field to “White” and Test Speed to 30 mm/min.:
Example: Choosing “PCK Ltd” automatically changes the Color field to “Green” and a Test Speed of 25 mm/min.:
Watch this video to see how to create linked choice inputs in Bluehill Universal materials testing software.