Author Topic: Advice for users of Umberto 5 - Changes in Umberto NXT LCA  (Read 6641 times)

Offline pbeilschmidt

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This article points out the changes between Umberto 5 and Umberto NXT LCA, and differences in handling of the two software tools.

Umberto NXT LCA is based on a new technology platform and has been redeveloped completely anew. This ensures that we will be able to continue the development of the software in the future, even if new operating systems start to appear on the market and are being used by our users on their computer. This shift from the "old" technology platform to the new one also allows us to introduce new features that were impossible to implement before, such as copy&paste and Undo/Redo, to name just two tof them.

While reimplementing Umberto 5 in the Umberto NXT LCA variant, we have made some changes that might at first be unfamiliar to the long-time Umberto 5 user. These are typically user interface, usability and handling issues. This list tries to give support to these users.

  • Installation: Only one installation process that should be completed within one minute. No more installation wizard that required installation of database, BDE or additional components.
  • Dongle replaced by License Key: No more hardware protection key (dongle) but licenses are now handled using license keys. As a side-effect there will be no more concurrent use (sharing of licenses) but named licenses.
  • Umberto 5: Speedbar Project/Scenario/Period: The speedbar below the menu bar of Umberto 5 has been replaced by the Project Explorer. One project is opened and can have several models (formerly scenarios). The period is ignored at the moment since it is not used in Life Cycle Assessment studies.
  • Library for Process Modules: In Umberto 5 we had separate library databases (LIBs) for Umberto process modules and ecoinvent process modules. You had to connect to the library before loading a transition specification (process) from the library. In Umberto NXT LCA the process databases are included as master data in the Project Explorer, in the bottom part. You can browse the process datasets (activities) and simply them into your model by dragging&dropping them onto the editor area. Note that in the future - as additional LCI databases (e.g. ELCD, NREL) are supported, you will simply have additional database icons at the bottom of the Project Explorer and the data is handled in the same way.
  • Module Gallery for Own Modules and Nets: In Umberto 5 you could store the transition specifications and subnets in the library. There is now a module gallery that allows storing of these elements directly via copy&paste.
  • LCIA Methods: In Umberto 5 the life cycle impact assessment methods provided by ecoinvent were stored in the library (see bullet point above). The impact assessment is now done using the characterization factors being provided as property of a material (read: elementary exchange). To use them, you can activate one or more of the LCIA Methods via Tools > Project Material Properties. You can also opt to selectively only activate individual indicators. For each elementary exchange, the characterization factors can be viewes using "View Impact Assessment Factors" from the context menu. Note that the creation of own impact assessment methods the way it was possible with the 'Valuation System Editor' in Umberto 5 is not possible at this stage in Umberto NXT LCA.
  • Handling of Dialog Windows, especially Attributes (Properties) and Specification: In Umberto 5 you click on an object (e.g. a material in the material list, a transition symbol in the editor) and a dialog window appears. In the new Umberto NXT LCA we have two areas (windows) that are open all the time by default and that show the properties and content related to the object currently selected: This is the Properties dialog below the Project Explorer and the Specification area below the Editor. Hence, the information you see in these areas always relates to the object that has just been clicked and follow this selection.
  • Process Specification: In Umberto 5 you did first set a process (transition) symbol and then click on 'Recall from Library' to specify it. In Umberto NXT LCA you just drag&drop an activity onto the editor and a model stub will automatically be added that can subsequently be modidied and connected to the existing model. We will further implement the possibility to drop an activity dataset on top of a process symbol.
  • Editor Pin Mode Insert Element: When adding a place or transition in the editor in a model in Umberto 5, this could be done repeatedly until actively ending this 'Insert Mode' and returning back to the normal 'Edit Mode' with a right-click of the mouse. In the new Umberto NXT LCA selecting an element to insert in the toolbar only allows for setting one element and the 'Insert Mode' will be turned off immediately after. To repeatedly insert elements of one type you must now pin the button by double-clicking it. A pin is shown on the button. To end the pin mode, select another object or right mouse-click, as before.
  • Editor Advanced Drawing Mode to Insert Elements: A new advanced drawing mode has beeb introduced in Umberto NXT LCA. When in arrow drawing mode you can just start dragging an arrow in an empty area of the editor by keeping the mouse button pressed and dragging it to another position. A connection place, a process, and another conenction place readily linked by arrows will be added! In the same way, when starting the arrow drawing on a process, or directing the dragged line onto a target process, a connection/process "branch" will be created. This helps the advanced user to build models much speedier. Before these elements had to be drawn oney by one.
  • Calculation: In Umberto 5 the two calculation for 'Flows" and 'LCI&Costs' had to be executed one after another.  While this is still possible via a menu, the calculation button will execute both calculations of the model one after the other.
  • Balance Sheet: In Umberto 5 the inventory had to be called via 'Balance Sheet' after the calculation. In Umberto NXT LCA inventories and Results are now shown in the 'Specification' area directly after calculation.
  • Non-LCA features: Some features that are not directly related to the application field of Life Cycle Assessment are not available in the new software version. These will be implemented in another Umberto product variant. Such features not included in Umberto NXT LCA are: costs, scripting, creating own ZXVs. For a full list please see separate post or inquire.
  • Umberto 5 features not implemented yet: Some features you are using in Umberto 5 that are not yet available in the new software version will only be implemented in a later beta version. Among these are: net parameters, subnets, defining own material properties. For a full list please see separate post or inquire.

For a list of new features such as copy&paste of network models or Undo/Redo read this post on Features of Umberto NXT LCA.
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Peter Müller-Beilschmidt
myUmberto Moderator
ifu Hamburg GmbH