Capella Tech Delivers Multi-Host Print Solution
September 13, 2005 Alex Woodie
OS/400 shops looking to save a little money in the printing department may want to check out a new product called Multi-Host Print (MHP) that was unveiled by Hewlett-Packard business partner Capella Technologies last month. MHP is a printer-resident memory module that converts IPDS and SCS datastreams into a format compatible with HP LaserJet printers. The MHP module also includes a forms overlay component for sprucing up SCS reports with graphics.
Capella’s new MHP product includes two components, both of which are contained in a single CompactFlash memory module that plugs into HP’s line of LaserJet laser and multi-function printers (MFPs). Users get both components for $650.
The first component takes basic SNA Character Stream (SCS) and high-end Intelligent Printer Data Stream (IPDS) output from OS/400 and mainframe servers, and converts it into the Printer Control Language (PCL) format supported by the HP LaserJets. This conversion technology is provided by Capella’s partner, I-O, an established provider of print conversion technology for iSeries and mainframe servers.
The second component of the MHP solution is Capella’s FormPort Flash technology. FormPort Flash resides entirely on the CompactFlash memory module, and provides forms overlay functionality to SCS spool files. By adding color, logos, lines, watermarks, and other graphical elements to SCS files, users can improve the look of their invoices, purchase orders, and other business documents.
Before ascending into the colorful world of graphical SCS documents, users must design their new forms and stash them onto the MHP module, where the form overlays will wait until merged with SCS data to create the final form that spits out of the back of the LaserJet. Users have two forms design options.
The first option is to hire Capella to custom design the new forms, at a cost of about $200 per form. Capella, which is based in Anaheim, California, has experience designing new forms based on the report output from a variety of major ERP systems, including J.D. Edwards, Oracle, PeopleSoft Enterprise, and SAP.
The second option is for users to design the forms themselves using Capella’s FormPort Design, a Windows-based forms design tool that costs $895. In either case, there is no need to make any changes to the host system, Capella says.
Cost is the primary benefit of migrating from a dedicated SCS or IPDS printer to a general purpose Ethernet-attached laser printer. While IPDS printers from IBM do bring certain advantages in the area of print management and two-way communications with the print server, they tend to be very pricey. If users are not using the IPDS/AFPDS print environment to its full capability (which is ensuring the integrity and continuity of large production print runs), they may want to consider using standards-based printers, like the HP LaserJet, for basic office tasks like generating invoices and receipts. Users also save money by eliminating pre-printed forms with the SCS forms overlay functionality provided by FormPort Flash.
MHP provides SCS and IPDS conversion and SCS forms-overlay capabilities from OS/400 servers and mainframes to the following HP printers: Color LaserJet 4650; Color LaserJet 5550; Color LaserJet 9500mfp; LaserJet 2410/20/30; LaserJet 4250/4350; LaserJet 4345mfp; and LaserJet 9040/50mfp.
The complete MPH range of solutions is available now from Capella. Users will also find the same solutions, at the same prices, from its partner, I-O, the Salt Lake City company that has been developing printing solutions for the IBM midrange line since 1977. The I-O version of the MHP product is called 3235F IPDS/SCS/FormPort Flash. For more information, visit www.capellatech.com and www.iocorp.com.