Printing to multiple trays in your printer from just one print job

Everyone has parts of their job which give them a sense of joy. These may be small or infrequent but are still memorable. As a builder, mine is hearing how someone used a product I created in ways I did not initially imagine. It gives me a sense of fulfillment like few other things in my work life.

Our client, Kelly Seed in Alabama, uses RPM Remote Print Manager® ("RPM") with their accounting system. They needed a way to print four copies of each invoice each with a different colored paper stock. They wanted to spare their staff from manually printing the job four times and changing paper between each. An automated process would, of course, be preferrable!

RPM does not yet have a button or feature to "print using paper from each tray in your printer". This customer was able to automate that process using RPM's native functions and enough imagination to assemble a working solution of their own.

How they did it

RPM is a flexible solution which includes:

  • many ways to alter or transform your data, or of course leave it alone
  • multiple actions, or ways to output, of which you can use more than one with a given print job

One transform will change your input tray or output bin. We have one action to send a job directly to a printer without going through the normal Windows drivers and another action to send a copy of it to another queue. (All our processing happens in a "queue" which is a bundle of processing configuration).

Here are the essentials of the setup the customer created:

  1. from the accounting application, print the job to a certain queue in RPM
  2. that queue copies the job to 4 other queues
  3. each queue customizes the input tray using the transform I mentioned
  4. finally, each queue sends the modified job to the printer

As a result, each job printed using the stock from each tray on the particular printer, four times in all. This happens in real time with no noticeable delay between printouts.

When I first heard of this, I marveled: "how clever of them!" We got permission to publish a customer story on our website June 2015. Since that time I've heard quite a few other people doing the same thing using RPM. Last week I met with two gentlemen from one of our resellers who told me the people they work with say, "You have that?" Obviously, it's a useful capability.

A toolkit for solving print problems

When RPM was first introduced in 1995, I billed it as a print server with 3 outputs and roughly two dozen features. In the ensuing years, we have had many conversations with customers about the problems they were trying to solve, and added many features to address them. In 2005 I started looking for a way to re-imagine the product. What we came up with I describe as a toolkit for solving print problems. RPM is now able to target many areas of Windows computing networks. We can run custom software inside the program, and as an output. We integrate intelligently with custom software using RPC, I believe that the range of problems we can solve now is truly wide. The fact many of our customers take the initiative on their own shows how doable it is.

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