Increase Printer PPM: Merge Print jobs or new Printer?

Hi there
Issue:  A 60 PPM printer is printing at about 14 PPM, drastically increasing process time.
More Details:  In a depot of my company we use HP LJ 4350 Troy MICR Printers (essentailly an HP LJ4350 with after market modifications to print MICR. MICR being a Magnetic type of toner used on checks) to print checks for our clients.  
     Twice a day we do a batch processing task that outputs checks, each one with different data (such as pay to:, amount,...).  The application generating the print job is MS Access, and these particular jobs get sent to the printer as ONE print job.  For this task the printer works at its rated speed (close to 60ppm). That is about 400 pages/checks sent as one Job to the printer.
     Another task requires us to print checks with a summary attached (that is one page of preprinted stock for the check, followed by plain white pages from a different tray).  Access sends this to the printer as two separate jobs for each check.  Therefore a batch of 200 checks will generate 400 print jobs.
     The result is that the printer now pauses after every job for about 4-5 secs, drastically increasing the amount of time required to print them.  My experience tells me that the issue is that the printer itself waits for the preceding job to finish before it begins processing the next job therefore the pause between each job.  I am also fairly certain that the issue IS NOT the fact that each job is processed from a different tray <--- If a job is sent that requires pulling paper from different trays the machine does not pause at all, as long as it is one job.
     I am looking for a solution that could increase the efficiency of this task.
 - The Access application can not be reconfigured in any way other than which printer to output to.
 - My prior research into this issue led me to programs that would generate PDFs as printer output then merge the PDFs into one file, this solution seemed promising but is unable to preserve the paper type (or paper tray) attributes.
- I do know that there are printers capable of multi-processing print jobs but I can not find any that can print MICR.
     I guess the best solution would be one that involves a method for combining multiple print jobs into one (or Fewer), in a fairly automated fashion(requiring the least amount of user intervention).  However I detailed the task process so that others might think of additional methods I haven't though of.
   I know this is a very particular and niche topic so thanks for your time and ANY input is greatly appreciated!
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when there is a single job with multiple pages, the most advanced drivers can only specify the tray for the first, last and the in-between pages, 3 in total - that is totally unsuitable for this kind of job.

can you do this experiment and report back your findings, i think i have a doable solution for you

first, pause the printer.
then get access to send the print jobs (for this experiment, about 10-15 cheques and reports will do)
access sends a cheque, then a A4 paper, another cheque, and another A4 paper, and so on and so forth...

as the printer is paused, all the jobs will be held in the spooler.
now pause all the A4 sheets, and unpause the printer.
the cheques will start printing...

see if you are having the rated speed of 60 ppm....

does the process involve a person or a machine stapling the paper and the cheque together and/or putting them together in separate envelopes for onward delivery???

is the printer connected via the network or USB?

which driver are you using? PCL5, PCL6 or PS?

If the jobs still print at 15 ppm after trying hathehariken's suggestion of pausing the job, replace the PCL6 driver with PCL5.
MaCubanAuthor Commented:
Sorry its taken me long to respond we are doing an office renovation (we are actually growing!), i have not had the chance to test this experiment yet...  the printer is networked using PCL5.  
The checks are printed with a barcode that represents the (page)count for each statement.  from there an industrial "stuffer" stuffs and seals the envelopes using the barcode as reference for how many pages go into each envelope.
Is the purpose of this expiriment to send the jobs to the printer and have it process jobs in advance... so that when you unpause the jobs are already processed, and it runs at full speed?
I will try and get back...
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if you can, just upgrade to PCL6, and i believe you will have some improvement in efficiency.

the PCL6 drivers can be found here:

does this "stuffer" have separate input bins for the checks and the A4 slips?

i think there is no separate RIP in your printing setup - if you had one, it would have been most easy to achieve 60ppm in no time.

the purpose of the experiment is very simple - when multiple jobs of the same size and drawing from the same tray is sent to the printer - and it is found that 60 ppm is achieved - then the only conclusion is to install a software print load balance server with optional RIP capabilities - and delegate the two kind of jobs with two different printers controlled by the server.
your computer, and subsequently MS Access sees a single printer.
this printer is essentially the server which processess and delegates the workload to the two different printers.

what do you think of it??


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1. Can you please say what type of volumes you are printing, either weekly or monthly. How critical is the printing speed to the business process...i.e. what is the impact of the slow printing? There will be an impact if you are printing high volume at once....whereas the impact might not be as significant if it was smaller print jobs done at random. I would like to understand more about the environment so that I can justify suggesting a solution that involves 3rd Party software. Also, please find out if your printers are or can be PostScript enabled.

2. Can you please open the print queue while the job is printing and record the size KB/MB of the print job being generated. Logically, if you are sending seperate print jobs to the printer, then obviously the printer needs to compute the job before printing, hence the 4-5 sec delay. The type of data being sent to the print will influence how much processing needs to be done. If you're sending complex images/fonts etc, that the printer does not have direct access to within it's own RAM/FLASH/HDD then it will take longer to print and you won't get true print speed. There are solutions available that can address this, but obviously come at a price.


so what did you implement finally?
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