Why Upgrade to 4.0
Although QC-CALC, QC-Gage, and SPC Office Buddy look the same, they are very different under the covers. If you are completely happy with the QCC files, then there is not a rush to upgrade. However, always be advised that as of the release of 4.0, the 3.4 products will be in bug fix mode meaning no new features will be added to them. It is always recommended to move forward to the latest version as soon as it's convenient in order to take advantage of the latest features.
To plan for a conversion to 4.0, there are several things to consider. The following attempts to identify the major areas to consider although it is not necessarily meant to be an exhaustive list. These are general considerations only. Select the related articles for product specific considerations and details about upgrading.
- Which database type - If you have a smaller implementation (5-10 copies of QC-CALC/Gagestation) and are generally happy with QCC files, you should use the QCQ file based method. If you have a larger implementation with many copies doing data collection, shop floor monitoring, EDL, ERS, etc, then SQL Server is likely the better choice.
- Versions and Incompatibility - All Prolink products versions 4.0 and beyond use a completely different database backend than the 3.x products. All 4.x products are compatible with each other and 3.x products are generally compatible within each of their versions. However, 3.x and 4.x products are not compatible with each other. Prolink does supply a conversion tool to convert older files into 4.0 databases and there are also ways to convert backward to QCC files. The only exception to this is EDL and ERS. EDL is currently version 3.3 and ERS is on version 3.4. Both are compatible with the 4.0 platform despite their version numbers.
- Convert all Copies Together - Given the version incompatibility between 3.4 and 4.0, it is highly recommended that you plan your implementation in advance so that all copies of Prolink software are upgraded together. Therefore, if you have 3 Real-Time copies on the shop floor and 2 Office Buddies in the engineer's office, you should plan to upgrade all of them within a short period of time. The order of upgrade should always be starting with data collection products and ending with reporting products. This way you upgrade the data collection products, then the databases themselves, and finally the reporting products. As an example, if you are using reporting products such as QC-CALC SPC, SPC Office Buddy or ERS, it is recommended that you upgrade the data collection software (QC-CALC Real-Time/Gagestation) first. Then convert your databases. Finally upgrade Office Buddy/ERS/QC-CALC SPC. This way, you do not convert your existing QCC files and then collect more data using the older version of the software.
NOTE: QC-PLC is considered to be data collection software, but is already at version 4.0. As such, there is no need to plan for this product.
- New Installation Path - In version 3.x, all Prolink products installed themselves in C:\Prolink by default. Per rules in Windows 7+, Prolink 4.0 products use the preferred Microsoft directories for security reasons which is C:\Program Files (x86)\Prolink.
- New Data Path - Since writing to files in the "Program Files" directory is often not allowed, all writable files including data files, settings, and language files are installed into C:\ProgramData\Prolink. Note that this directory may be hidden in Windows Explorer due to local settings or IT permission. To get to the local data and settings folder from QC-CALC 4.0, choose Help > Open Repository Directory to open this directory in Windows Explorer.
- Maintenance - If you are currently on a maintenance plan, all of your existing 3.3 and 3.4 copies can be upgraded to 4.0 without additional cost. If you do not currently have a maintenance plan, it is recommended that you purchase one to ease the transition.
- QC-Sort - QC-Sort remains incompatible with 4.0 temporarily (as of 9/1/2018). If you currently own QC-Sort, you should not purchase QC-CALC 4.0 until QC-Sort has been rolled out as version 4.0.
- Location and Categories - If you are using SQL Server as your database, you may want to map out your factory to take advantage of Location or Categories in QC-CALC 4.0. Ask Sales or Support for more information about this.
Microsoft SQL Server - If you are planning to use Microsoft SQL Server as the back end...
- If you would like to use MS SQL Server as the database type, make sure to install SQL Server or consult with your IT department to get the connection path to an existing SQL Server database. If you do not have SQL Server, you can download MS SQL Server Express from Microsoft's website. It is free to use but has size limitations. Once your database exceeds these limitations, you will need to purchase a license from Microsoft.
The connection path must include the server name\instance name, the database name, and the user id and password (or access via Windows Authentication) that has access to the database. See our manual for full information on setting up SQL Server.
Running 4.0 in Parallel Mode
If you wish to try out QC-CALC 4.0 rather than migrating to it immediately, you can run it in parallel mode with 3.4. The concept is that your production QC-CALC 3.4/Gagestation 3.4 will stay exactly as is preserving your production process while you try out 4.0.
NOTE: Parallel mode only works with QC-CALC 3.4/Gagestation 3.4 and when QC-CALC 4.0 is installed on the same physical PC.
- Install QC-CALC 4.0 as instructed above including settings and data conversion for either QCQ or SQL Server.
- Launch QC-CALC Real-Time 4.0 and choose Help > Run in Parallel with QC-CALC 3.4.
Whenever QC-CALC 3.4 collects data from that point forward, QC-CALC 4.0 will collect the same data (regardless as to whether it's CMM data or Gagestation data) a couple of seconds later. You do not need to specify the same machine type in QC-CALC 4.0 or set any other settings other than the database type. If you have converted your existing QCC files to the new database type before enabling Parallel Mode, QC-CALC 3.4 and 4.0 should look identical from a data perspective.