A New Backend Software for Net-Print and the Unique Printing Needs of AAP
Cornell Information Technologies and Architecture, Art & Planning (AAP)
The College of Architecture, Art and Planning has a complexity of printing needs for their students and faculty, including a large plotting fleet, laser printing, and 24/7 plotting available to students. In addition, the IT group in Ithaca, run by Andre Hafner and the AAP IT Solutions Team, manages the printers for their programs in Rome, Italy, and New York City.
CIT’s Net-Print team is preparing to release a new version of Net-Print on January 10, 2017. From June of 2016 AAP worked with CIT’s net-print team to be early adopters of the new software and system behind Net-Print, PaperCut MF.
One of the biggest challenges before implementing the new Net-Print system was that students could release jobs to plotters that were formatted incorrectly. “Files would print incorrectly,” Hafner says, “if the job was rotated the wrong way, or they used the incorrect orientation in their settings. This wasted paper, time, and cost the college and students money.” An average plot will use about eight feet of paper.
Hafner was interested in the new software because of its scripting ability. With the help of CIT he wrote code to prevent printing if a plot was not formatted correctly. When students release a print job to a queue, if the settings are incorrect they are notified with a pop up window, informing them what the problem is and how to fix it before re-submitting.
In addition, AAP has installed “secure-release” printing at all of their printing devices. This is the recommended solution for Net-Print printers. Secure-release printers have a card reader installed at each device. Users choose either the “campus-bw” queue or “campus-color” queue (when printing from a computer), and then walk to an open printer and hover their ID card over the card reader. Depending on the type of release device, they either push a few buttons on a Windows tablet to select the specific job, or all jobs are automatically released. This feature means that documents will only be printed when the user is standing at the printer, increasing security, reducing paper waste, and eliminating overloading queues with print jobs.
Andre Hafner, Director, AAP IT Solutions, Architecture, Art & Planning
The Collaborative Relationship
“The new software behind Net-Print provides a much better model for efficiency. Previously, we experienced large amounts of wasted plotter paper every semester. We estimate we have reduced that type of waste by at least twenty percent.” – Andre Hafner
“It has been a great pleasure working with Andre and his colleagues in Architecture, Art and Planning on the new, enhanced Net-Print system since June 2016. Their previous experience with PaperCut software, enthusiasm for trying something new, highly-developed troubleshooting skills, and wonderful demonstrations have made them a superb partner.” – Joanne Button, CIT, Chair, Net-Print working group