User Manual

3.2 Hotfolder

Updated on

Learn in this Article,

  • which different types of Hotfolders exist,
  • how to set up a Hotfolder,
  • which parameters are mandatory during the setup process and
  • how to control what happens to the individual files while the Hotfolder is running.

1. Functions and Types

The Hotfolder function can be used to automatically process a large amount of print data for recurring processes. It is possible to freely configure whether a Production Job is only to be created or the Production Job is to be transferred to the printer immediately. Basically, five types of Hotfolders are distinguished:

  • Auto-Nesting [6] - Several Print Items are combined in a Production Job and then imposed. The number of Print Items that can be added to the Production Job depends on two factors: Degree of Utilization and Max. Processing Time.
  • Single Files [5] - A Production Job is created for each individually uploaded file, with the exception of multi-page Print Items, where all printed items are included in a single Production Job. If an Impose Mode is selected for this type of Hotfolder, one Imposition will be created per Print Item unless a multi-page Print Item is uploaded.
  • XML [4] - The contents of the XML file can be used to control which Print Items are used in which quantity in a Production Job, and which Fixups should be applied to each Print Item. Optionally, an Imposition such as: Step & Repeat, Nesting or Tiling, can be created for the Print Items.
  • ZIP [7] - The contents of the ZIP file, i.e. all file types that can be processed by the Workflow, are imposed on a single page or on multiple pages, depending on the selected Impose Template for the Nesting.
  • ZIP for Multitracks [6] - This Processing Mode makes it possible to feed the Tracks (configured on the Printer) separately in a defined order with print data.

View all currently set up Hotfolders by selecting Automation > Hotfolder. Whether the Hotfolders are currently started or paused can be seen in the Status column. To start/pause Hotfolders, proceed as follows.

  1. Select the desired entry in the list and then click Start selected or Pause selected [2]. You can also start or pause the Hotfolder by clicking on the icon in the status bar.
  2. To pause or start all Hotfolders, click Start all or Pause all [1].

Figure 1: The list of configured Hotfolders

2. Hotfolder Setup

Before you set up a Hotfolder, any precautions which you have already taken must be completed. These precautions include:

  • The Printer and Substrate have been created.
  • Profiling for the Substrate on the target Printer has been completed and checked for color gamut and print quality.
  • The File Management and Shares for the input folder (the source directory for filing the processed data) and the output folder (destination directory at the Printer) must be set up.

Once all precautions have been completed, you can start setting up a Hotfolder. Proceed as follows:

  1. Select the menu item Automation > Hotfolder.
  2. Click on + New in the action bar, which opens the Hotfolder setup dialog. The Hotfolder Setup is thematically divided into six tabs. Proceed from tab to tab.
  3. Enter the Name [8] in the General tab. Optionally, enter a Comment.

Figure 2: The Hotfolder Setup dialog with the selected General tab.

  1. Switch to the Process Parameter tab. There you have to select the Processing Method [9] (Auto-Nesting, Single Files, XML, ZIP, ZIP for Multitracks), the source directory by selecting the Host and the directory in Source [10].
  2. Activate the option Automatically "Send to Printer" [11] if you would like to determine that the Production Job will be rendered automatically after its creation. Via the options Scale Factor and Fixup Chain determine whether or not the files which are to be processed should be changed automatically after the check-in process.
  3. If you want to check only the first page of a file in relation to the selected Check-in Template without applying a Fixup to the page, select the corresponding checkbox Preflight Only Page 1 (Analyze only) [12] - all pages will be rendered. This is often used for multi-page jobs with the same pages. The function is relevant for all processing methods and shortens the duration of the query.
  4. In the dropdown Process Types [13] decide which file types should be picked up and processed by the Workflow.  

Figure 3: The Hotfolder Setup dialog with the Process Parameter tab selected.

  1. Switch to the Render Parameter tab. There, on the one hand, you can set the Output Configuration by selecting an already created Template. On the other hand, you can use the Edit icon (pencil) [14] to set the desired parameters for the Printer, Print Configuration, Substrate, Substrate Definition and Color Policy. By selecting a Color Policy, all parameters assigned to the Color Policy will be set automatically. Also select the Destination [15].
  2. Optionally select Save Ink, Simulation, Color Settings, Cutter Device and Advanced settings. In the Render Parameter tab, you can also optionally select Lead In and Lead Out, as well as the Render Flags and the option for Multi-page rendering - read more about this in Release 1.7.5. beneath Figure 66.

Figure 4: The Hotfolder Setup dialog with the Render Parameter tab selected and the associated Output Configuration

  1. Switch to the Impose tab. Determine whether an Imposition is to be carried out for the files or not. If you want to impose the files automatically, select the desired mode in Impose Mode [16]. Then select the appropriate Impose Template [17], which can also contain a Spot Color.
  2. In combination with the Impose Mode Nesting, entries can be made in the options Max. Impose Height (for roll Substrates),  Degree of Utilization and Max. Processing Time [18]. The settings from the dialogue automatically create Nestings with a maximum length of 500 mm either when the utilization level has been reached or the time period has been exceeded.

Figure 5: The Hotfolder Setup dialogue with the selected Impose tab.

  1. If you have selected Hotfolder Setup > Process Parameter > ZIP for Multitracks, proceed to the Multitracks tab.
  2. Determine which of the Tracks that are configured on the Printer, should be charged separately and in a defined sequence with print data. Set the No. of Tracks [19] and the Files per Track [20]. Read more about this in the section ZIP for Multitracks.
  3. Press Save [21] and finish the process. The Hotfolder is displayed in the list of Hotfolders, but the Hotfolder is not started automatically. This must still be done manually by the user.

Figure 6: The Setup Hotfolder dialog with the selected Multitracks tab

3. Process files in the Hotfolder

A setup Hotfolder can now take up service and automatically process files that have been copied to the Source Folder according to the rules. To do this, proceed as follows:

  1. Select the menu item Automation > Hotfolder. The list of Hotfolders that have already been set up is displayed (see Figure 1).
  2. Select the paused Hotfolder in the list and click the Start selected button [2] (Figure 1) in the header or simply press the Play button next to the Hotfolder. The Hotfolder starts to monitor the Source directory and process incoming files.
  3. Monitor the processes of the Hotfolder by double-clicking the list entry of the Hotfolder. This opens the detail view for the selected Hotfolder.
  4. The detail view is divided into different functional areas. These are:
  • Header area - here, besides the name of the Hotfolder, the statuses Checking in and Check In Finished [22] are displayed, as well as the information of the current Imposition [26] - Time Started, Time Remaining, remaining time and the Threshold Value.
  • Check In [22] - this setting area displays all the files that are currently copied to the input folder and that are being checked in to the Workflow. After the check-in process is finished, the file will be moved to the next settings area. Files that are too large for the available Imposition area are moved to the error list [25].
  • Queue [23] - in this setting area all files for placement on the Imposition are displayed. If a file is too large - not enough space is available on the Imposition - this file will remain in the list until the next Imposition is created.
  • Print Items of the current Imposition [28] - in this setting area all Print Items are displayed that are currently used in the Nesting. By clicking the Move to Queue [30] icon, the selected Print Item will be moved to the Queue [23] settings area. The file will thus be used in the next Imposition. Clicking the Delete icon [29] moves the selected Print Item to the Errors list [25].
  • Done list [25] - this list displays the individual Print Items that are already in a Production Job and Imposition. Double-click on a Print Item to open the corresponding Production Job.
  • Warning list [25] - in the list of Warnings all files are displayed that cannot be processed for certain reasons. Causes of warnings can be:
    • The Print Item is too big for the selected size of the Imposition.
  • Error list [25] - the error list displays all those files that cannot be processed for certain reasons. Error may be caused by:
    • file is too big for the selected Impose area
    • file cannot be read and processed
    • a wrong file format was copied to the input folder
    • a file was deleted in the Print Items of the current Imposition

Figure 8: The detail view of a Hotfolder

  1. Finally, a Production Job is created. This can be done by
    • time lapse of the Imposition,
    • reaching the specified utilization level or
    • marking the Print Items and pressing Create Imposition [28] at any time.
  2. Successfully processed files are displayed in the Done [26] list. You can delete the list of completed Print Items manually. Automatically, the list is cleared by activating the Cleanup Finished Hotfolder Items routine. This applies to all files older than 10 days.
  3. To monitor all errors, select the Errors tab [26]. Files can be downloaded in it to be able to correct them accordingly in prepress.

Updated for Workflow Version 1.14.0

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