Importing Spec Plans from Discus
How to import spec plans into QC-Gage from Discus
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written: 11/22/2013
last modified: 04/05/2024


This functionality requires Discus 6.1.3 or higher and QC-Gage 3.4 and higher in order to work correctly.


Prolink and Discus have worked together to create an integrated workflow solution whereby you can balloon your prints or CAD models in Discus and then automatically generate the Spec plans/measurement plans in QC-Gage to start measuring your parts immediately. This can be done either by the File > Export menu from within Discus or manually in QC-Gage via the File > Create Spec Plan From Import menu.

If you choose to run the export from within Discus, it will automatically generate the necessary communication XML file and then launch QC-Gage with this file. QC-Gage will in turn read the file and generate the spec plan(s) based on the contents of the Discus output. For each spec plan created, QC-Gage will automatically create a shortcut button on a new tab within the main QC-Gage screen. The goal was to create a work flow solution whereby you balloon the print in Discus, export the spec plan to QC-Gage, collect the data with QC-Gage, send the measurement data to QC-CALC, and so on. When a change is required, the goal is the make the change in Discus and re-export the spec to QC-Gage. QC-Gage will automatically replace what has changed and keep as much as possible of the settings in the older version of the spec plan before the import. This includes things like the feature source, calculation, and other feature specific settings not coming from the Discus import.

The following are specific features that can be used in Discus to realize the full functionality of QC-Gage when creating the spec plan(s). Please keep in mind that we will continue to add new features to this interface as necessary to further the integration and provide a more complete solution.


  1. QC-Gage currently imports all characteristics where Reportable is set to true in Discus. All characteristics (chars) that are numeric become dimensions in the spec plans. All text type chars that meet the factor criteria below in #4 become factors (trace fields). All other text fields concatenate together to form the notes at the spec plan level. Dimension labels are generally defined by their balloon number combined with the characteristic type unless overridden (#3 below).
  2. Spec Plan Name(s) - By default, the spec plan(s) created use the part number specified from Discus. However, you may find that you want to override the name with something more friendly. You also may want to split the dimensions into multiple spec plans based on a field in the characteristics. You can do this by specifying either Override= or Split= in the part name field in Discus. This is done via the TDP > TDP Properties screen. Type directly into the Part Name field.

    Override= - If this is specified, it uses the name passed in as the root name of the spec plan(s) created.

    Example: Override=My Spec Plan

    Split= - If this is specified with the name of a custom field, it will attempt to split the dimensions based on the values in the custom fields by that name. For instance, if you have 10 characteristics and all have the custom field called Op, then it will split them based on the values found across the 10 fields. Let's say the first 5 are Op=10, 2 of them are Op=20, and the last 3 are set to Op=30. This will create 3 spec plans and the appropriate dimensions and factors will added to the spec plans.

    Example: Split=Op

    Please note that the custom field name is case sensitive. Therefore, in the example below, Op does not equal OP.

    You can also specify more than one value per characteristic. For instance, let's say you have 3 characteristics and two operations; 10 and 20 and you want the third characteristic to be in both spec plans in QC-Gage. Just specify the Op as 10,20 using the comma as the separator. QC-Gage will still create two spec plans based on Op, but will include the third characteristic in both spec plans.

    You can also optionally specify both Override and Split. Just separate them with a pipe character.

    Example: Override=MY Spec|Split=Operation
  3. Custom Fields - Since these are columns defined at the characteristic level in Discus, there are a few key names that will cause automatic behavior in QC-Gage during spec plan creation. You can create custom fields in Discus via the BoC > Configure Custom Fields menu. Once created, you can add them to the main grid in Discus via BoC > Configure Columns. Feel free to create pick lists for your custom fields as it will make your results more predictable. These are NOT case sensitive.

    Label - If you fill in a custom field by this name, it will override the dimension label with the text you provide for those dimensions where it is filled.

    ExtraInfo - If you fill in a custom field by this name, it will add the value to the extra info field at the dimension level. This field is usually used for identifying information such as a key product characteristic number, or critical flag.

    DimSource - If you fill in a custom field by this name, it will add the value to the dimension source field at the dimension level. This field is usually used for identifying the source of the dimension. For instance, it is always from a mold or a lathe.

    Notes - This goes to the notes field at the dimension or factor level (in the case of text field). It's typically used for inspector instructions such as, "Measure this with the caliper.." or "Bar code scan your badge.."

    IsPassFail - This field will override any dimension or note field and create a pass/fail dimension in the spec plan. It can accept the values "True" or "1". If set to anything else, including False, it will not create the pass/fail dimension for that feature or note.
  4. Factors - As indicated above, text characteristics will either become notes at the spec plan level or factors if the criteria below is met. The idea is to give QC-Gage a clue that you intend to use this as a traceability field in your spec plan rather than a simple note. The format for the text requirement is as follows. It is pipe delimited and always starts with the word FACTOR. That clues QC-Gage in as to your intentions.


    Label - This is always the second field and specifies the label of the trace field in your spec plan.

    N/T - This one letter tells us whether the factor will accept numeric or text values. If set to N, it's a numeric factor. If set to T or omitted, it's assumed to be a text factor.

    - This is the ordinal position of the factor. In other words, the 5th numeric factor. It is a number between 1 and 30 since there can be up to 30 numeric and 30 text factors per spec plan. If omitted, it uses the next available.

    - If this is specified, it is the default value for the factor.

    - If specified, creates a drop down list of possibilities for the factor. This list is carrot (^) delimited. If not list is specified, it is a free form numeric or text field.

    FACTOR|Serial Number|N