In this guide we are going to go through the process of creating a custom container, and using it in a load plan. In this tutorial we are going to be creating a custom air cargo pallet, but the process is very similar to creating trailers, pallets, boxes, vessels or sea containers.
Accessing the Container Builder
The Container Builder is the part of Cargo-Planner where you can create and modify containers, trailers and even entire ships. Any time you click “View”, “Edit”, or “Details” on an existing container you will be taken to the Container Builder. In this tutorial we are going to access it through Equipment, that can be found in the menu on the left side of the screen.
First off we need to make sure we are looking at the right type of equipment. Since we are going to be creating an air cargo pallet, we select Air Containers & Pallets from the dropdown near the top of the page.
You can creating something from scratch by clicking the green Create New button in the top right corner. It is easier however to find a good starting point. We are going to do this by finding a pallet that is similar to what we are interested in, but not quite the correct dimensions or shape. In this tutorial we are going to select a PMC Q7.
When we click the View button, we are entering the Container Builder. But since the pallet we selected is part of the Standard Library, we don’t have the permissions to make changes to it. So we need to create a copy. Click the copy button that can be seen in the picture below and then fill in the name of the new container.
Great! Next we’re going to examine the different parts of the Container Builder.
A breakdown of the Container Builder
To the left on the screen you can see the different categories that are available to edit. These will differ depending on what type of equipment we are editing. On a road trailer you can for example find Axles and Decks, and on air container and pallets (like the one in the screen shot), you can find Contours.
Click through them to see what is available to edit.
This is the area where you can edit the category in question. The General category (that can be seen in the picture) will contain the dimensions and weights, as well as what walls exist and if there is a roof.
Any changes we make will immediately be reflected in the preview. We can use our mouse to spin the preview 360 degrees.
Making the changes
In this example we are going to change the contour of the pallet, since a Q4 is slightly different than the Q7 we copied.
But first we ensure that the dimensions of the container is correct. We need to adjust the max loading height from 300cm to 294 cm. If you are more comfortable with imperial units or another type of metric unit you can change it in preferences. Then we are going to move on to the Contours in the categories.
Adding a contour requires setting both a length and a height. The length corresponds to how far from the relevant side of the container the contour spans, and the height how far from the top or bottom the contour spans. See the blue arrows in the picture for a visual explanation.
According to our specification of a Q4 container the flat part of the top needs to be 105 cm long. This is the “opposite” of how Cargo-Planner models contours, but it’s fairly easy to convert between them. Some quick calculations (244-105) gives us that the contour length needs to be 139 cm. Our specification also tells us us that the flat part of the side should be 130cm. This calls for the same type of calculation and lands us with a contour height of 164 cm.
When editing the values we can see that the preview updates immediately.
When we are happy with our changes we click the Save button close to the top right.
Using a custom container
Now for the fun bit. We have created a custom container and want to use it in action.
We create a new loadplan, fill in the details of the cargo that we want to load, and in Setup we can add our custom container. Remember to switch from the Standard library to Our library at the top of the Equipment list to see the container that we created in previous steps.
After clicking the green Create Loadplan button we can see our custom container being loaded. Success!