Tracking jobs printed from a Fiery using PaperCut

Unlike most standalone printers, devices with Fiery Controllers can hold, modify, and reprint jobs after they are submitted. This poses problems for PaperCut - since PaperCut collects all print job information at the time of submission.

The Solution

We have a tool - Fiery_papercut - that allows PaperCut to query EFI Fiery devices to get the print history (including re-printed jobs) and import it into PaperCut for tracking and reporting!

How it works

The tool routinely checks in with the Fiery printers that it’s been pointed to and retrieves the logs that have been committed to the Fiery system.

  • All jobs will be attributed to an automatically created shared account (“Fiery.account”)
  • All print information (printer name, username, document name, page count, page size, etc) is determined through the Fiery data retrieved by the Fiery_papercut app.
  • The ID of the Fiery device that the job was processed on will be added as a comment on the job in PaperCut.

TIP: Ideally, the users in your Fiery system will match those in PaperCut. However, if the two don’t match, check out our Username aliasing article to get the Fiery jobs to properly attribute to your PaperCut users.

Limitations

Logging takes place after processing. Because the job has already printed by the time PaperCut becomes aware of it, pre-printing interactions such as account selection, print scripting, or filters and restrictions will not work on jobs submitted through the Fiery.

Jobs will always be printed as they are submitted by the user, and they will always be attributed to that user and the “Fiery.account” shared account. They will usually match the printer names and usernames for the same printer and user in PaperCut but this is not guaranteed.

Requirements

  • PaperCut MF 13.0+
  • Fiery FS100+ (Windows Fiery System 9 Rel2 requires the installation of the Fiery Extended Applications Package 4.0)

Installation

  1. Download the version of Fiery_papercut that pertains to your system:
  2. Copy the contents of the zip file to a directory on your designated Fiery_papercut computer.
    • NOTE: If you are running Fiery_papercut on a different computer than the PaperCut server, you will need to open access to the PaperCut API from the remote server running Fiery_papercut. To do this, go to Options → Advanced → Security → Allowed XML Web Services callers. Add the IP address of the computer running Fiery_papercut.
  3. Turn off tracking of the Fiery controlled printers in PaperCut.
    1. Navigate to [Installation-Path]\providers\print on your PaperCut Application Server
    2. Open the print-provider.conf in a text editor with admin permissions.
    3. Add the printer-name to the IgnorePrinters field in the print-provider.conf file.
    4. Save the document and restart your print provider services.
  4. Create a CSV file of IP addresses, usernames, and passwords for each Fiery device.
    • Each row should be formatted <IP Address>,<username>,<password>
    • This username/password combination is the username/password combination used for the command workstation or web interface on the Fiery device. For example:
      • 192.168.23.42,admin,La331e
        192.168.23.43,John,Fl1pper
        192.168.23.44,Betty,Sk1ppy
  5. Save the file as Fierys.csv (this name can be variable - you may name this file in whatever way you see fit).
  6. Open your machine’s terminal program (Powershell, Terminal, etc.) and cd to the directory where you copied the ZIP file contents in step two.
  7. Run the following command:
  • .\Fiery_papercut -L Fierys.csv -p <PaperCut-Admin-Password>

NOTE: If you’re running Fiery_papercut on a machine that is not the PaperCut Application Server, you must specify the network address (IP) of the PaperCut server using the -s parameter e.g.:

  • .\Fiery_papercut -L Fiery.csv -s <PaperCut-AppServer> -p <PaperCut-Admin-Password>

Set up the PaperCut Fiery tool to run automatically

After testing the PaperCut Fiery tool and confirming that the executable is able to connect to the Fiery and download jobs, we recommend setting this up to run as a Scheduled Task on your PaperCut server to prevent people from closing the shell windows (and make your life easier!).

There are plenty of other ways to do this, but here’s a common option for Windows environments:

  1. Open a text editor like notepad and create a new text file with the following content. (Make sure to update the file path to the directory where the Fiery executable is stored)
    • @echo off
      C:
      cd "C:\<FieryToolSaveLocation>"
      fiery_papercut.exe -L fierys.csv -p <PaperCut-Admin-Password>
  2. Save the file with the extension .bat (for batch file) and name it something like PaperCut_Fiery_Tool.bat.
  3. Open Windows Task Scheduler
  4. Choose Action → Create Task
  5. On the General tab provide a name like “PaperCut_Fiery_Tool” and set the task to run as local SYSTEM or a service account with appropriate rights.
  6. On the Triggers tab, click New and configure the task to begin at startup.
  7. On the Actions tab, click New and browse to the path of the batch script.
  8. On the Settings tab configure the following:
    1. Check Allow task to be run on demand
    2. Check Run task as soon as possible after a scheduled start is missed.
    3. Uncheck Stop if the task runs longer than…
  9. Click OK to create the task.
  10. Restart the server and test out the new task by starting it manually. Then, walk over to the Fiery to try re-printing a few jobs to make sure the jobs are logged in PaperCut.

Advanced Configurations

Advanced Config Editor Config Keys

Fiery.list : Contains a list of the IP addresses that Fiery_papercut is querying. Fiery:<Machine-IP-Address> : Contains fiery_papercut configuration info in the format {username:<MachineUsername>,password:<MachinePassword,max_id:5}

NOTE: max_id is a value used for tracking the most recent job printed from the Fiery. For example, if you see {’max_id’:4,’pending_max_id’:7} in the field for a Fiery device, this indicates that the Fiery_papercut app encountered an error while pulling the logs. The machine reported 7 jobs, but the tool only finished recording through job 4 before it encountered issues. This is something that should not need to be manually configured when everything is working. If you suspect this is not working, please contact support for assistance.

Advanced Command Line Configurations

To find information about all the command line configurations that you can use, cd into the Fiery_papercut directory and run the following command:

  • .\fiery_papercut -h

Below are some great commands to get you started:

fiery_papercut -yPerforms a “dry run” job query to confirm that settings are working right.
fiery_papercut -dInitiates a debug session (you probably won’t need this - PaperCut will ask you to run this command if necessary).
fiery_papercut -aChanges the default shared account that fiery jobs are tracked under. You can specify an already in-use shared account to use instead of Fiery.account

Release History

  • 19th February 2019 - Updated the Windows 64bit version. Fixed an issue that caused the Fiery tool to not retrieve jobs. Also added extra logging to show raw Fiery Box replies and to log when jobs are skipped due to zero printed pages. N.B. If you need an updated version of the package for mac or 32bit windows, please contact us and quote Issues PC-12155 and PC-15261
  • 21st August 2017 - Updated the Windows program for connecting to more recent Fiery controllers which require more recent SSL protocols. Previous fiery binary would result in an error: “[errno 8] _ssl.c:504: EOF occurred in violation of protocol” N.B. If you need an updated version of the package for mac, please contact us and quote Issue PC-12155.

Support

If you’re having issues configuring the Fiery setup with PaperCut - have a look over on the Troubleshooting Fiery page for some troubleshooting tips.

Otherwise, if you’re still seeing issues after that, have a chat with us!


Categories: How-to Articles, Devices

Keywords: fiery, rips, rip, efi, Fiery Logs, Fiery cost recovery, Fiery tracking, cost allocation, production print, cost monitoring, mf-only

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