Question

What is 'Fill Placeholder' SmartMark and how to use it? 

Answer

What is it?

The Fill Placeholder SmartMark can be used in Plato and in the classic Step&Repeat tasks. It allows to, at layout level, add marks to each design in the layout.

Where to find it?

  1. In the SmartMark dialog in Plato, select General as anchor point.
  2. Click the Add SmartMark button and choose the Fill Placeholder mark from the list.

What functionality is in this SmartMark? 

This mark can either place a Station number or load a SmartMark set on each design.

Station numbers

The options to set the color and format are rather straightforward.

The sequence can either be set to:

  • follow the sequence from the MFG layout (as set by the ArtiosCAD operator)
  • follow the sequence as set in the PDFPLA file (Tools / number stations in Plato or sequence option of the ‘Create Sheet Layout’ task)
  • an explicit sequence set in the Correspond tab panel of the Fill Placeholder SmartMark.

SmartMark set

When a SmartMark set is loaded on top of each design, the Fill Placeholder SmartMark will prepare the environment in which the set will be run:

  • The selected placeholder will not only determine where the resulting objects will be placed and their rotation angle, but it also determines the Trim Box for the SmartMark set (the bounding box of the selected placeholder will be used as the Trim Box for the SmartMark set)
  • The list of inks will correspond to the inks used in the PDF graphic of the current design
  • The SmartNames will be reinitialized: the [File] SmartName will be set to the name of the PDF graphic in the current design. This means that all SmartNames that depend on the file name (or product(part)) will resolve just like if the mark was loaded on the 1-Up graphic file.

This means that the SmartMark set can generate a different result for each different PDF graphic (for instance a layout with six stations which consists of two PDF files, each three copies will run the SmartMark set in total six times but three results will be identical and the other three results will also be identical).

There is also a way to use the station number in the SmartMark set (for instance to place the station number in a barcode instead of as text object). This can be done in the following way:

  • Define on Automation Engine a global SmartName called ‘PLACEHOLDER_STATIONNUMBER’ (its definition is not important – what’s important is that a SmartName with this name exists)

  • When this SmartName exists, the Fill Placeholder SmartMark, will assign it a value corresponding to the station number for each design on which the set is loaded. This means that one can have a unique result for each set (for instance by using this SmartName in a bar code SmartMark in the set:


The value assigned to the [PLACEHOLDER_STATIONNUMBER] SmartName will match the sequence settings as used for the station numbers (see previous section). The GUI of the Fill Placeholder will however disable the sequence settings as soon as ‘fill with’ is set to ‘SmartMark set’ but still these are used to assign a value to the [PLACEHOLDER_STATIONNUMBER] SmartName. In other words, if the sequence is really import, first select ‘fill with station number’ and adjust the sequence settings and then switch back to ‘fill with SmartMark set’

In a similar way, one can use this SmartName to place a set of images on the different designs (by placing an Image mark that uses the [PLACEHOLDER_STATIONNUMBER] SmartName in its file name).


Article information
Applies to

Automation Engine
Plato

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