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Balance your database from inside Ship It!

For years, Ship It! customers have been using Dr. Jean Piquette's "Deluxe Balancer" to balance their Ship It! database. Albion Software is proud to announce that we have licensed this technology from Jean in order to integrate it with Ship It!

Summary of Balancer Features

  • Allows you to maximize operations on your layout by balancing the flow of products between shippers and consignees, resulting in more car moves per session.
  • Control the balancer from inside Ship It! (No other program needed). You can balance simply and easily by just using the default settings. Press "Export and Balance", then press "Import from Balancer" - it's that easy.
  • No more updating database information from the balancer by hand.
  • Allows you to check your database for common errors (including staging errors , product overlap, consignee duration vs. frequency, disallowed symols in names, division errors, orphans, etc.)
  • Easy instructions inside the Ship It! manual. Full Deluxe Balancer manual is provided as well.
  • Includes all features and reports from the latest version of the Deluxe Balancer, including Car Mix report (do you have the right mix of car types on your layout for your industries?), Train report (do you have enough trains running or are you limiting your operations?), Layout Design Quality reports (how does the operational qualities of your layout stack up?), and many other reports that analyze your layout and offer improvement suggestions
  • Ideal for the planning stages of your layout, as it allows you to explore many "what if" scenarios. Plan and analyze before you build your dream layout. Make sure you have the operation you want!

The Balancer - What it is and What it Does

A ShipIt database reflects the movement of products that take place on a real railroad.-- Products moving from shippers to consignees. But if your shippers produce products faster than your consignees can accept them, or your consignees request deliveries faster than your shippers can produce them, your database will grind to a halt in fairly short order. Your database is out of balance. The Deluxe Balancer is a software program that helps ShipIt users correct such imbalances.

While the primary function of the Deluxe Balancer certainly is the automatic balancing of your database, it also does much, much more! For example:

 i)  The Deluxe Balancer will determine whether you have the right mix of cars needed for your database.

 ii) The Deluxe Balancer will also tell you if you are running the right number of trains, and will break down the needed number of trains for you division-by-division.

 iii) By studying the industry report and the product report, as well as the divisional net flow report and divisional product report, you will be amazed at the insights you will get about the flow of products in your database! For example, if you have a complex coal operation where coal is produced in several divisions and consumed in several other divisions, these reports will help you see exactly what the flow of products is, carload-by-carload, from where these carloads are produced to where they are consumed. Of course there is no problem if you have several complex product flows besides coal. -- The Deluxe Balancer will break down the flow of products for every one of your products and industries!

 iv) And if you would like, much of the detailed information about your database produced by the Deluxe Balancer can be conveniently exported into a spreadsheet.

And these are just a few of the many capabilities of the Balancer that go well beyond just balancing. 

The Deluxe Balancer is written in the scientific programming language FORTRAN. It is the kind of mathematical program that scientists and engineers call a pure "number cruncher". For example, it computes the rate at which your shippers are producing each shipment and the rate at which consignees are requesting these products. If the rates don't match, the Deluxe Balancer will adjust the frequencies and the empties values in your database to try to get the numbers to match. The Deluxe Balancer also checks the number of carloads going into each siding, and adjusts things so that those carloads will fit.

If it is mathematically possible to balance your database, the Deluxe Balancer will try to drive your database into balance, no matter how badly out of balance things are at the start.  But if the Deluxe Balancer finds that it cannot automatically drive your database into balance, it will create several reports that you can use to change your database so it is possible for the Balancer to bring it into balance

This screen shows the Database Prep tab, where you'll find tools to check that your database is optimized prior to balancing. If any problems are uncovered, they can be printed out so that it is easier to find and fix them.

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