Our Magento Automatic Printing Adventure

It has been a long time coming, and a long time in the development/tweaking process but we have finally cracked it. We have fully functional script that allows our clients to use Magento automatic printing throughout the working day.

The brief was to save our client time and money and freeing up staff time to focus on other tasks, and streamline the process from customer order to picking and packing the order. More information on the full process can be found on our portfolio item.

We created our application using Mage, Google Cloud Print, a WIndows Print Server, and some nice cost affective Kyocera printers, which all seem to work well and compliment each other to make a streamlined and quick process.

The process was made complicated with the amount of sorting the application had to do, and what orders needed to be sent to which printers. Overall there are 4 printers in the array, each with its own identity in Google Cloud Print. What made it even more complicated was our client used a plugin from MooGento which styled their pick notes for ease of picking, which was also incorporated as an invoice that was placed in the packages upon dispatch.

The Way It Works

  1. Order is placed for the customer and paid for / invoiced
  2. CRON kicks in every 3 minutes to work organise and create the PDF files
  3. The PDF files are sent to Google Cloud Print
  4. Google Cloud Print Service (running on a Windows Print Service) picks up the PDF orders
  5. PDF Orders are then spooled to the relevant printer
  6. The orders are then printed
  7. Pickers then pick up the pick notes from their relevant printers

The process is quite simple in the way it all works together to allow Magento to automatically print orders without any manual intervention (well apart from adding paper and changing toner).

What If There Is An Issue

We coded for all eventualities, from failure to create the PDF, a corrupt order, Google Cloud Print didn’t pick the order up, paper jams, no toner, power cuts. In the case of any one of these failures, an email is sent to certain key people who are able to resolve issues like adding paper, or replacing toner cartridges, but in the event of a failed PDF or Google Cloud Print didn’t pick the order up, the order is re-processed through the system. If continuous failure of the same order, an email is then produced to key people to take a closer look at the order.

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