Sending a Production Job to the Printer
In this article we'll learn:
- How to send a Production Job to the printer
- Which options are available when sending individual or multiple Production Jobs to the printer
- Which parameters can be changed in the Send to Printer dialog.
The last step in a print production is to send the print data to the printer. During this process the print data or imposition is sent to the integrated RIP with all necessary rendering and color management parameters. The result of the RIP process is usually a device-dependent set of instructions, i.e., a job ticket, for the printer plus the necessary print data, which are then jointly sent to the printer via a network.
If a cutting device and a parameter set was added in the Production Job, the cut files are generated in the same process and also sent to the relevant IP address for this purpose.
For the Workflow, the Production Job is completed after the transfer of data, which is why the status changes automatically to available on the printer. If the connected printing system communicates with the Workflow, the status of the Production Job can still change automatically if changes are made on the printer side, depending on the level of integration regarding the printing system.
In order to send single or multiple Production Jobs to the printer(s), different methods can be used, which are dependent on both the working method the company uses and how the Workflow is being used. We'll now take a closer look at individual approaches to sending Production Jobs to the printer.
2.1. Force Print
For detailed information on how to create a Production Job via the menu item Automation > Force Print, see the article Creating a Production Job. If you not only want to create a Production Job, but also want to send the Production Job directly to the printer, you can choose the option Send to Printer  in the action bar.
By choosing this option the following steps are executed automatically in the Workflow:
- The print data is sent to the Workflow.
- A Production Job is created in the Workflow and the print data is assigned to the Job.
- The print data is scaled according to the entered settings and/or prepared with the selected Fixup Chain.
- The selected Output Configuration is set in the Production Job.
- The Print Items are imposed based the Substrate Definition, the Impose Mode and the Impose Template chosen.
- The Production Job is sent to the RIP.
- The ripped data is sent to the printer including the job ticket.
- If a cutting device is selected, the cut file is then created and also sent to the correct directory/destination.
Figure 1: The menu item Automation > Force Print.
If you are unfamiliar with setting up a Hotfolder, you can find more information in the article Hotfolders under the menu item Automation > Hotfolder. If you want to not only create a Production Job, but also immediately rip and send the Production Job to the printer, you can select the checkbox Automatically 'Send to Printer'  under the Processing Parameter tab.
The following steps are then automatically executed in the Workflow:
- Print data from the user is copied directly into the correct directory on the server.
- The print data is sent to the Workflow.
- A Production Job labeled with the Job Type - Hotfolder is created in the Workflow and the print data is assigned to the Production Job.
- The print data is scaled according to the settings entered and/or prepared with the selected Fixup Chain.
- In the Production Job the selected Output Configuration is set based on the settings entered in the Render Parameter tab.
- Based on the selected Impose Mode and Impose Template under the Impose tab, the Print Items are imposed based on the Substrate Definition size.
- The Production Job is then sent to the RIP.
- The ripped data is sent to the printer with the appropriate job ticket.
- If a cutting device was selected under the Finishing tab, the cut file is generated and sent to the defined directory.
Figure 2: The Process Parameter tab of a Hotfolder in the Hotfolder Setup dialog.
2.3. Send to Printer
Existing Production Jobs can be easily sent to the printer using the Send to Printer  command in the action bar of an open Production Job or by using the shortcut
(alt) + (p). By clicking on Send to Printer, the Send to Printer dialog will open, where you can edit/add additional settings if needed.
You can select a single Production Job or multiple Jobs in the list. The only differences are the options available in the Send to Printer dialog. we describe the options available in more detail below.
Figure 3: The Job list displaying Production Jobs in the Workflow.
It should also be mentioned that the user can also send a Production Job to the printer when the Production Job is open, but when selecting the Send to Printer option when in the detail view of a Production Job only that Job can be sent.
3. Send to Printer dialog
Depending on whether you have selected single or multiple Production Jobs, a dialog appears after selecting the Send to Printer command. The options available in these two dialogs are described below.
3.1. Sending multiple Production Jobs to the printer
If several Production Jobs are selected, each individual Production Job can be sent to different printers using different channel configurations and different resolutions, provided they have been prepared correctly. For this reason, no additional settings are available in the Send to Printer dialog. The only parameters the user can overwrite is the Output Configuration  for the selected Production Jobs.
A certain amount of caution should be exercised when using this option, as it can lead to changes in the output, particularly with regard to Spot Color definitions and cutter settings.
Figure 4: The Send to Printer dialog when multiple Production Jobs have been selected.
3.2. Sending single Production Jobs to the printer
If you have selected a single Production Job in the list or if you are using the detail view of a Production Job, the standard Send to Printer dialog box is displayed. You can change many settings in this dialog. The structure of the Send to Printer dialog and the available options are described in more detail below.
The dialog is divided into two areas:
- Overview (green area) – This area is always displayed, completely independant to the tabs that are selected on the right-hand side of the dialog. Information such as: a thumbnail preview, the number of placed Print items, page size and scaling. Underneath this area you will find the selected Output Settings which cannot be changed and Print Info where you can enter text.
- Settings (orange area) – This area contains a row of tabs where settings are grouped thematically.
Figure 5: The General tab of the Send to Printer dialog.
Under the General tab, you can specify the number of Copies, a different Color Policy, an Ink Save Profile, a DeviceN Color Correction and the Destination directory.
- Copies  – Normally the number of copies should be correctly calculated based on the number of copies per Print Item and the number of Print Items contained in the imposition. Adjust this number if necessary.
- Quantity  – Compares the number of copies, the total number of prints, and the quantity that will be overproduced. The overproduction number will be negative if the entered number of copes has not been reached and is influenced by the imposition and printed number of copies.
- Options Overview  – Shows an overview of the options selected in the other tabs.
- Color Policy  – You can select a different Color Policy if needed.
- Save Ink  – Select an Ink Save Profile for converting color data.
- DeviceN Color Correction  – Select an optional DeviceN Color Correction if the output should be different from the selected Color Setup due to a necessity for higher contrast, slightly lighter tones, etc.
- Destination  – Select the target directory where both the print data and job ticket should be stored. For more information on setting up target directories (destinations) read our article Preparing External Systems.
The Scale tab provides options to output the file using the Original Size, a specific scale as a percentage or using a specific size defined (mm or inches) and whether you want to mirror horizontally/vertically and/or rotate the sheet using degrees.
Figure 6: The Scale tab in the Send to Printer dialog.
3.2.3. Lead In/Out
In the Lead In/Out tab, you can determine whether an additional Lead In/Out job is created on the printer at the same time as the normal output job. This creates either a Lead In or Lead Out or both, which is usually used in the Label and Corrugated branches for controlling output and Dieline contours. Use this tab to determine which Spot Colors/Technical Colors should be printed as an additional print job.
Figure 7: The Lead In/Out tab in the Send to Printer dialog.
The following options are available on the Lead In/Out tab:
- Lead In  – Enter the number of copies that will be sent to the printer for the Lead In print job which is printed at the beginning of a Production Job.
- Lead Out  – Enter the number of copies that will be sent to the printer for the Lead Out job which is printed at the end of a Production Job.
- Print all Process Colors in Lead In/Out  – By activating this option the normal Print Item is printed with a Lead In. However, if you only want to output the Dieline or other Spot Colors for example, deactivate this option.
- Spot Colors  – By activating the listed Spot Colors in this panel, you can determine which Spot Color, e.g., printing Marks, should be printed in the Lead In or Lead Out.
- Technical Colors  – By activating the listed Technical Colors in this panel, you can determine which Technical Colors, e.g., Dielines should be printed in the Lead In or Lead Out.
3.2.4. Variable Data
The Variable Data tab is only available if you have created a variable data job using the Adobe Illustrator Plug-in and then imposed it, typically using Step & Repeat mode. Use this tab to determine which data records using a start and end value, should to be printed from the csv file and with an additional option to determine if the VDP job is split into multiple Production Jobs.
Figure 7: The Variable Data tab in the Send to Printer dialog.
The following options are available in this tab:
- Split in  – Specify the amount of individual print jobs the Production Job should be split into when rendering.
- Start and End Value  – Enter the range to be printed from the csv file.
- Order  – If vertical sorting  is selected, specify whether the sorting should apply to the job in it's entirety or whether the sorting should be applied to each individual job.
- Information  – Displays information pertaining to the variable data job.
The Finishing tab shows which Cutter and Parameter Set has been applied to the imposition. If no cutting device has been selected yet, a device can be selected here. Please note that applying a cutter may change the imposition.
Figure 8: The Finishing tab in the Send to Printer dialog.
The following options are available in this tab:
- Cutter  – Select the desired Cutting Device. For more information on how to add a new cutting device check out the article Set up a cutter device.
- Parameter Set  – Select the desired Parameter Set for the cutting device. For more information on how to add a new cutting device check out the article Configure the Parameter Set.
In the Inprint tab, predefined blocks of information that are placed on the impose sheet can be selected.
Figure 9: The Inprint tab in the Send to Printer dialog.
The following Inprints are available:
- Color Bars – Creates CMYK strips on the left edge of the impose sheet.
- Info Block – Detailed information on the Production Job/Print Item in block form on the left-hand side.
- Info Line – Compact print information in a single line.
- Info Blocks (2 x 3 lines) – Print information divided into two sections consisting of 3 lines.
- File Name | Code 128 | top-left – Generates a machine-readable barcode with the name of the Print Item.
- Job Name | Code 128 | top-left – Generates a machine-readable barcode with the Production Job name on the top-left corner of the impose sheet.
- Job Name | QR code | top-left – Generates a machine-readable QR code with the Production Job name on the top-left corner of the impose sheet.
- Proper File Name | Code 128 | top-right – Generates a machine-readable barcode with the Production Job name on the top-right corner of the imposition sheet.
- Print Item Name | Code 128 | top-left – Generates a machine-readable barcode with the Print Item name on the top-left corner of the imposition sheet.
- White Background – Creates a white area set to overprint for the complete impose sheet.
- SPC Default – Includes various information such as: Production Job name, Customer, User, External ID, etc.
- File name | top-left – Output of the Print Item name on the top-left corner of the impose sheet.
- White Foreground – Adds a White Over layer to the sheet.
In the Advanced tab, you can select additional rendering options, RIP performance options and deeper Color Management settings. Normally, these settings do not need to be changed, as the default values from Administration > Settings > Color Management are used.
Figure 10: The Advanced tab in the Send to Printer dialog.
The following options are available in the Advanced tab:
- Render Flags  – You can choose between different rendering options: Smooth (the transitions between objects appear smoother), Overprint (to avoid flashing when white is under printed) and IHVD (improves speed when rendering multipage files, requires a separate license).
- RIP Performance and Create Render Files locally  – Find more information about this topic under System Configuration.
Color Space Conversion  – There are three options available:
- Working Space CMYK – Color conversion is carried out before being converted into the final output color space, into the System-wide Substrate defined color space.
- RGB to Substrate – All color settings are converted directly to the Substrates color space and all other CMYK conversions are carried out using the default CMYK method.
- RGB Wide Gamut CMYK – Color conversion is done directly into the output color space.
- Rendering Intent  – Choose between Perceptual, Relative Colorimetric + BPC, Saturation or Absolute Colorimetric or Use Embedded Rendering Intents. For further information please refer to the article Color Management in Digital Printing.
- Color Correction  – Select from defined Color Corrections that are applied before the defined color management is carried out.
- Enable Color Management  – If you want to deactivate color management for whatever reason, you can do so by unchecking this checkbox. Please note that only the Substrate profile will not be applied when this option is deactivated. The total Ink Limit and the Linearization Profiles are not deactivated.
- Honor Source Profiles  – Use this option to determine whether the source profiles for CMYK, RGB and Grayscale should be applied to text, images, gradients or vectors or the selected profile should be used for the working color space.
4. Starting the RIP Process and Sending to Printer
Once you are satisfied with your settings, click on the Send to Printer button to start the RIP process and send the data to the destination directory on the printer. The print job will appear immediately in the printer software's directory.
You can follow the progress of the RIP process in the Activities drop-down. Since the RIP process is performed in the background for several print jobs in parallel, you won't have to wait for completion. You can continue with additional tasks in the Workflow.
Figure 11: The Activities drop-down with running, completed and failed processes.
5. Reprint Job
When you initially click on the Send to Printer button, the imposition is executed in the background before ripping (to update all dynamic values contained in the impose sheet). Particularly with very large variable data jobs, creating multi-page PDFs (with up to 1 million pages) can take a minute or two.
If you need to send a Production Job to the printer again, you can use the normal Send to Printer dialog and start the output process including the recalculation of the imposition again. However, if you only want to restart the RIP process, you should make sure you are in the detail view of a Production Job and select the Reprint Job  option in the action bar. This will bypass the entire process of recalculating the imposition and the rendering process will start immediately.
Figure 12: The detail view of a Production Job with the Reprint Job buton active.
By clicking on Reprint Job  the Reprint Job dialog is displayed. By confirming the dialog, the Production Job is rendered again and sent to the printer.