TABLE OF CONTENTS


WarehouseOS uses a local print agent to make the connection between documents stored in the cloud and printers within the local network. The following steps will setup the required pieces for documents to be automatically printed.


The basic relationship between devices and printers are Device (iPad) -> Print Station -> Printer


Decide Computers to Run Print Agent

The WarehouseOS print agent is a local application that must run on the Windows PC where the printers are installed. The Print Agent will pull the documents which are ready to print from the WOS cloud and push them to the designated printer.


If several printers are installed on the same machine, a single Print Agent can be used to print to multiple pack stations. It is also common, if each pack station already has its own PC, to use a separate Print Agent for each pack station. WOS recommends hard-wired networked printers and PCs. This will eliminate any concern about the reliability and speed of large documents being sent over wireless.


Each Print Agent will need a unique "Print Queue" name to identify which documents should be printed from that PC.

 

Decide Which Printers to Use

Many options for printers exist. WOS has been successful at working with any printer through its Windows print driver. When asked for a recommendation, WOS recommends the Zebra ZD421 Direct Thermal printer line.


WOS has the ability to connect 2 printers at each pack station. For automated printing, the document size and type will indicate which printer the document should push through. Even for packing slips, WOS recommends printing on a 4x6 Direct Thermal label. WOS uses HTML to design the packing slips and experience a relatively good quality printing from label printers, as long as the packing slip design is kept simple. When needed, a full letter size document can be designed and printed. Laser Printers are much slower than label printers and because of their impact on operations, most customers that initially wanted that format have opted to stay with the 4x6 label.


Note: WOS does not print through the iPad application. Printing is handled through the cloud in the backend services. Therefore, Bluetooth connections between the tablet and printers won't be sufficient and one of the connection considerations below should be made.


  • USB Connected Printer
    • A USB connection will require a PC be within short proximity of the printer, close enough to run a USB cable. 
    • This setup typically works well when there is already a Windows PC at the pack station. A printer on each station can be USB connected to the PC on the same station. A separate WOS Print Agent can run on each Windows PC, creating a one-to-one relationship between Printer, PC, WOS Print Agent, and WOS Print Station.
  • Ethernet Connected Printer (Suggested Connection)
    • An Ethernet connected printer uses your network connection to become available on the network in the warehouse. An ethernet cable connects the printer back to a network hub, switch, or router.
    • Ethernet cables can be run longer distances than USB cables, allowing for printers to be more "remote" in relation to the PC that is running the WOS Print Agent
    • This requires that both power and at least 1 network cable is run to each Pack Station, but it also means a Windows PC is not required to be at each station.
    • If all the printers are installed on the same Windows PC, through the network, then a single WOS Print Agent can be used to control printing to all of the stations.
  • Wireless Connected Printer
    • This works the same as the Ethernet connected printer described above. The difference is that a network cable does not need to be run to each pack station and the printers instead connect through the wireless network.
    • This setup is not typically recommended. Wireless connections are best when constant connection isn't required and the device can reconnect as needed. Printing at volume requires consistency and can push a significant volume through the wireless network. 


Setup Initial Print Stations

Print Stations must be setup before running the Print Agent for the first time. If multiple Print Stations will be connected to the same Print Agent, only one (1) Print Station per Print Queue name needs to be setup at this point. When setting up the Print Agent, a Print Station will be selected to assign the necessary Queue name. Printers do not need to set to the Print Station at this time.


  1. Go to Admin -> Print Stations
  2. Click "Create New"
  3. Fill out the following fields
    1. Name: Create a name that will identify where the printer is sitting. This could be a pack station number (Pack Station 1) or some other way of identifying where the printer sits (Receiving Desk, Managers Office, etc.)
    2. PrintQueue: Required if using the WOS Print Agent to connect the printers
      1. Multiple Print Stations can use the same Print Queue. Make sure spelling and capitalization are the same.


Install and Run Print Agent

The WarehouseOS Print Agent is a light-weight application that does not require being installed. It's an executable that can be simply run without installation. Download the Print Agent at the following link, extract the zip folder, move the file to a location that is easily remembered, and run the program.

https://hojstorage.blob.core.windows.net/$web/PrintAgent2/PrintAgent.zip


  1. Enter the missing part of your WarehouseOS URL and enter the API Key and click Connect
    1. The API key can be found on your WarehouseOS site by going to the menu at the top right and selecting Site Settings
  2. Select a station that will set the Queue name used by this instance of the Print Agent
  3. This will configure and run the Print Agent.


Minimizing or Closing the Print Agent will simply send it to the task bar at the bottom right


To shut down the Print Agent, click on File and Exit


If the Print Queue for that instance of the Print Agent needs to change, find the ".tdps" settings file that was automatically created in the same folder as the application file. With the Print Agent shut down and not running, delete the settings file and restart the Print Agent to go through the setup process again.


Assign Printers and Create Additional Stations

Once the Print Agent has been configured, it will push all of the printers installed on the Windows PC up to the WarehouseOS Site so they can be configured on the Print Stations.


  1. Go to Admin -> Print Stations
  2. Click "Create New" or click on one of the existing Print Stations
  3. Fill out the following fields
    1. Name: Create a name that will identify where the printer is sitting. This could be a pack station number (Pack Station 1) or some other way of identifying where the printer sits (Receiving Desk, Managers Office, etc.)
    2. PrintQueue: Required if using the WOS Print Agent to connect the printers
      1. Multiple print stations can use the same PrintQueue. Make sure spelling and capitalization are the same.
    3. Printer 1 and Printer 2: Select the name of a printer. 2 Printers gives the flexibility for multiple print jobs to different types of printers to be sent to the same station.


Assign a Print Station to a Device (iPad)

  1. Go to Maint -> Devices

  1. Select a device to be assigned
  2. Set the PrintStation value to tie the device to a station


Note: Many devices can be tied to the same print station (all receiving iPads can print to the same printer) When an iPad is reassigned to a new station, any print activity against the iPad will be sent out to printers on the assigned print station.


Manual Printer Setup

Printers will be setup automatically when the Print Agent is setup and running on the local machine. The following is helpful if setting up a printer manually or understanding how the printer configuration works.

  1. Go to Admin -> Printers to see a list of printers setup in WOS

  1. Click “Create New” or click on a printer name to edit
  2. Fill out the following fields
    1. Name: Give the printer an easily identifiable name
      1. This is for WOS screens only and is not used to match to the printer
    2. External Id: PC Printer Name
      1. This ID is used to identify the printer and must match the installed printer name
    3. Printer Type: Leave as General unless you know you will be using ZPL
               

  1. Click Save
  2. Repeat for all printers that need to be added


Tip: A printer in WOS is not a physical link to the actual Printer, it only provides the name of the installed printer. If multiple printers are installed on multiple PC's with the same name, a single WOS printer can be created. You don't need multiple WOS printers with the same External Printer ID.


Auto-Start the Print Agent

To automatically start the Print Agent when Windows starts, add a shortcut to the Print Agent to the Startup folder.

  1. Go to the folder where the Print Agent was installed and running.
  2. Create a Shortcut of the program
  3. Type Windows+r to open a Run command window and type in %Appdata%.  This will open the Roaming folder where the startup folder lives
     
  4. Once the Roaming folder is open, navigate to Microsoft, then Windows, then Start Menu, then Programs, then Startup
  5. Copy the shortcut created in step 1 into this folder.  With this in place, each time Windows is restarted it will start the Print Agent automa
      


Common Problems

When setting up printers to connect to the WOS Print Agent, there are a few common issues to be aware of.


Problem:

Page is printing too small

When the page looks like it was shrunk, this is typically because the document is larger than the printer's page. This forces the PDF document to scale down to meet the size.


Solution:

Make sure the printer is set to print to the correct page size. Many Zebra printers default to print to a 2x3 label. Open the Printer Preferences and make sure the page is set to a 4x6.


Problem:

Page is printing too large

The page looks enlarged and is being cut off. Instead of scaling down to fit the label size, it's bleeding off the edge and not including all of the elements on the page.


Solution:

Microsoft identified some issues with printing in 2021 and as a result of their fix, some printers have a difficult time setting the correct page values unless the printer is set as the Default Printer. 

Search for Printers in the Windows Start Menu, pulling up the System Settings page for Printers and Scanners. Make sure the option to Let Windows manage my default printer is turned on.

If you have reasons to not let Windows manage your default printer, in a scenario where there is a one-to-one relationship between Printer and Print Agent, opening Devices and Printers from Control Panel and selecting the label printer as the default has the same effect.