Production Integrations : Hotfolder Feed

Production Integrations : Hotfolder Feed

Custom Gateway have produced a production solution we call Hotfolder Feed. This is made up of the system modules we offer and an local piece of software used to manage queues and move artwork and jobsheets to printing locations.

A high level view of how this works is available below




Setting up Hotfolder Feed in the Platform

The use of Hotfolder Feed requires that you have "Job Templates" in the CG Platform which are already splitting your jobs into printing groups. More information on Job Templates can be found here.

Moving forwards in this example lets assume you have 2 simple job templates called "Printer 1" and "Printer 2" and you want to make sure artwork from the CG Platform is automatically downloaded into certain folders set up locally for production on 2 printers.

Enabling the Integration

The first step is enabling the integration on the "Production Centre" company in the platform.

1) Log into the CG Platform at platform.custom-gateway.net
2) Under settings navigate to "Companies"
3) Filter by "type" "Production Centres"
4) Locate the comapny allocated to the job templates in question
5) Using the "i" icon enter that companies details
6) Under the tab "Production Integrations" enable the Hotfolder Feed integration which will open a popup of settings
      - Ensure "Enabled" is ticked
      - "Auto Transfer Enabled" should only be ticked of you want jobs to be automatically transfered to the hotfolder feed as soon as they are generated and not on demand
      - "Jobsheet Enabled" should be ticked only if you want the feed to also transmit a jobsheet to the local folders for printing as well
      - "Start Timestamp" will auto set itself to the time it was enabled which should be left as it is unless you already have jobs in the system which need processing, in which case back date.
      - "Secret Key" will be automatically populated - save this key as you will need this for connecting the local software at a later stage (this can be found here at any time)
7) Hit the "Save" button and your integration portion is set up.

The Job Templates

Now that the integration is set up you need to find your ID for each "Job Template" which will be needed for the connection.

1) Log into the CG Platform at platform.custom-gateway.net
2) Under settings navigate to "Job Templates"
3) In the filters under "Production Centre" select the company you enabled the integration on
4) The screen will list all job templates set up including their references - see the screenshot below which shows which reference you need



Now you have enabled the integration and have the information you require which should be

1 Secret Key
1 or more Job Template Reference(s)

We need these parts when we move into the next section to allow the locally installed Hotfolder Feed to connect to the Platform.


Installing the Hotfolder Feed on your PC

The latest files for the hotfolder feed are attached to this article and can be downloaded to your local machine from here - please scroll to the bottom to download this.

The integration requires the Hotfolder Feed software to be running on a local machine at the fulfiller. This software connects and downloads jobs from the CG Platform so they can be printed.

The following video shows the process of downloading, extracting and preparing the Software.



So to repeat the steps from the video

1) Download the software from this article\\ 
2) Move it to your local machine where you would like the software to be saved, we suggest this be somewhere where it will not be deleted so avoid the desktop or documents folders, C: or program files are a good place.
3) Extract the files
4) Rename the extracted folder so a name that suits the feed (the job template name is ideal)
5) Create a desktop shortcut for the application and also rename this as above 
5) If you need to pull feeds from multiple repeat steps 3, 4 and 5 for each Job Template

Note - some antivirus may block the software, you are safe to enable any settings in the antivirus settings to allow this to run anyway, the alerts are just because it is an unknown software author and nothing to be worried about.

Once installed you can add in your folders and credentials to complete the integration

1) Use the shortcut you created
2) When the software loads click the EDIT button
3) In the Client ID box add the Job Template Reference from step 4 in the "The Job Templates" section above
4) The Client Secret needs to have the secret from the production centre company detailed in in step 6 of the "Enabling the Integration" section above
5) The Polling Interval at its default "60000" will check the platform every 60 seconds, only decrease this if vital as it will increase memory usage.
6) Destination Filepath needs to be set to the location that you would like the files to be placed that the feed downloads. The easiest way to do this is right click the folder and "copy path" and paste into this field.
7) Output Type
      - Separate Artwork and Jobsheets - will create 2 folders under the home directory you provided \Artwork and \Jobsheets. Downloaded files will be dropped into these folders (jobsheets only if enabled on the integration)
      - Folder Per Batch - Will create a new folder under the home direcrtory you provided for every batch submitted containing the artwork and jobsheet if enabled.
      - Single Folder - will drop all outputs straight into the home directory you provided

When you are done hit START to enable to feed to run.

See the below video on this part of the setup which shows you where each of the details can be obtained



Sending jobs to production

With Hotfolder Feed you have 2 options when it comes to sending to production

1) Manual - Using one of these options
      - Production > Jobs screen using the "Send to Production" option, 
      - Floor Module Print Station scanpoint
      - Floor Module Jobs List "Send to Production" Option.

2) Auto Push - if enabled the platform will automatically push to the hotfolder feed as soon as the job is in "Pending Production" status.



Case Study - Large Format Printing with Onyx RIP

To try and put some possible uses for this into context the following is an example use case

A fulfiller produces large format printed items and uses Onyx RIP to nest and manage print, they want a solution that allows artwork to be automatically created and remove the old proofing processes and a workflow made for the on demand world.

Lets say they are working on 3 products

- Banner
- Poster
- Signage

For the sake of the example lets say each of these is just one product.

Hotfolder Feed could be used to push print ready artwork to the local network running Onyx RIP. Files for each product type can be placed automatically by the system into the Onyx hotfolders which will automatically nest and print. The artwork the platform generates can include embedded barcodes meaning when the items are printed and cut the barcode can be scanned into your chosen Floor module workflow to continue into QC and Dispatch points.


It has been reported that the initial extracting on the install files should be done using WinRAR to avoid security issues - https://www.win-rar.com/start.html?&L=0



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