Software for automating tasks at a copy center

Discussion in 'Application Software' started by FNRP, May 1, 2013.

  1. FNRP

    FNRP MDL Novice

    Jun 28, 2012
    Hi. I need some help.
    The situation is like this: we have a student-run copy center at our college (we have the cheapest copy in the area so the copies budget is not so expensive). I don't work there but I help fixing the computers and network that connects to the photocopier (Ricoh Aficio MP 9000). Currently, when a professor comes with a new book that students have to copy, we make an "original" copy in paper, store in a folder with the course's and professor's name. This has led to losing some "originals" when making copies of it, which is a disaster. So we are planning to digitalize every original, save them in PDF format in a huge hard disk and print from there.
    The question is, do you know if there is any software which may provide us the following solutions:

    • Integrate the functions of searching a file cataloguing it, previewing it and printing them, all in one. Like a library, which we would be able to add, edit and remove originals.
    • Capability for previewing PDF files, and, if possible, DOC, DOCX and ODT too.
    • It should work with a file server or network attached storage (NAS) which should serve files. Some sort of authentication to access the files would be in order, so that people can't access and steal the PDFs.
    • It would improve the speed of each work if it could have a preset printing configuration for each file, that is, I would like the software to already know that book X has to be printed on both sides of the page, but book Y has to be printed single side, etc.

    This is the general idea. I've been looking around and couldn't find an application that satifies me. For example, I found EFI Fiery Workstation, it looks like something that approximates to what we need, but I couln't try it because you have to buy or rent a physical EFI server that connects to the photocopier and 1) there aren't those in the country I'm located (Uruguay) and 2) we probably wouldn't be able to afford it. It's not like we can't pay anything, but we have to be reasonable and those things are really expensive.

    If you don't know one either but have other suggestions for me, like how to server the files or anything, it will be appreciated too.
  2. pisthai

    pisthai Imperfect Human

    Jul 29, 2009
    That AiO Apps, which do all that you like, I haven't seen (yet). That may exist as an custom build application but commercial because of it'd very specific needs to an low cost.

    That said, what I see, is to have the apps on your own. That may looks very complicated at the first moment but with a bit of effort it could be done.

    How To......? Best way to do such in an reasonable time would be the use of an server based Database Apps like MySQL. Those together with (as example) and PHP Generator would build the base apps in no time, which will need to be modified. There quite cheap or even free PHP Generator out there like Appgini, Longtion Application Builder etc. which could be used for that to get an workable Apps. Somebody who has a bit of knowledge about PHP would not have a problem with that to get to work. Those PHP apps would need an kind server, which could be a very normal Workstation. Using as example XAmpp with an build in Apache Server with PHP and MySQL it also could be accesses from any other computer on the Network or even Internet, depend on config. The Apps build is an so called Web-Application which need an Web Browser for to work. XAmpp is Freeware.
    Together with an Macro Generator Apps like MacroToolWorks, also available as freeware with limited functions and not expensive as pro version, you could easy build the scripts and call them from within that PHP Apps for to do the required job.

    That's just an idea what you may could do.
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  3. coleoptere2007

    coleoptere2007 MDL Guru

    Apr 8, 2008
    Ricoh Aficio has integrated functions to do that, supposing the machine has an HDD. In that way you can store the documents in the machine and have secure access by entering a code or by LDAP identification, meaning that all the accounts are on a domain controller. If you want to store documents on a share folder or a NAS, you can also do it the same way.
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  4. FNRP

    FNRP MDL Novice

    Jun 28, 2012
    Thank you both for your replies.
    @pisthai I'll try AppGini I think. I've been thinking about doing something like this and I know a bit of PHP. However, the hard part I can't get around is getting the PDFs from a database (database size would go to the sky) and linking it to a server location seems hard to automate (scan a book - save on server - get that address manually and store it in the DB). I mean, I would do it, but how to make it easy for the workers who will be doing this hundreds of times a month?
    Anyway I will keep thinking about this and try to come up with a solution.

    @coleoptere2007 Yes, I know. I read the manual on Ricoh's website, but I forgot to add the following (sorry): The company to whom we rent the copiers have disabled some of the features and actually "sell" it at an extra cost (actually so expensive that it's not worth it). Actually, I can access the intranet server of the machine and I can see the filenames and thumbnails of the documents stored in the copiers HDD, but I can't read them, and I'm not entirely sure if it let's me print it from there. Let's suppose it does, though in that case, still, the HDD (512 GB) is not big enough to store all the data we need. Hence the need for a NAS of file server.
    The problem is that I need an interface to search the files from the NAS fast, have a quick look, print them and charge the client for the job. Something easy to use, and if it's free or cheap, even better.
    Now you made me think about it, I'll check the next time I'm there to see if I can print the files from the browser. That would be a step forward.